KARACHI : With more avenues opening up and the growing number of comedians in Karachi, the local comedy scene seems to be picking up its pace. While standup comedy has a niche audience, these comedians attract the crowd to lighten up the mood on weekends.
A well-known young man in his early 20s Malik Junaid, also known as JD, has now taken a new initiative for weekly comedy nights every Friday and Saturday. “There will be two shows every alternate week, with Friday Funnies with JD on Fridays and Bachay 5 hi Achay on Saturdays,” JD shared with The Express Tribune.
Friday Funnies will mainly see JD perform, along with a couple of other featuring artists. The first show on October 13, will be hosted by Osama Sami and will include performances by Tabish Hasmi and Sana Khan Niazi.
He shared how he came to initiate the shows. “I have now fully committed to standup comedy. I have a background in software engineering and I recently quit my job,” he said.
“I’m doing this full time now as I am 24 years old and there comes a time in everyone’s life when you have to take a step and go for it. I believe these two shows are the beginning.”
As to whether his shows will have new talent that would be given an opportunity to perform, he said the format was different from an open mic. “Akbar Chaudhary and a few others are already doing open mics every week. My show’s format is to feature performers who already have enough content to get their names out there.”
He said, “Many comedians have great content but the standup comedy audience in Karachi is limited. Even then, I’d say it’s growing slowly and you have to promote it a lot on social media to get the word out there. Some days there are people, other days there aren’t much. But we intend to remain consistent with our shows because that would help the circuit grow.”
Talking about different brands of comedy in the subcontinent, he said the Indian and Pakistani comedians weren’t that different. “I think it’s unfair to compare us with others. We are a smaller industry but no so different in content from our Indian counterparts. Our performers need more time as they don’t get to perform a lot. Things are not consistent here.”
He pointed out the lack of institutional support for local comedians as well, saying, “There are companies who manage comedians and artists. Even India has it. You open YouTube and there are all these comedy videos that they promote, featuring their comics. Here, if I go to YouTube trending page, I feel embarrassed. There is nothing of that sort.”
He cited that as the reason for a need to promote and nurture talent. “We have to use social media to get our name out there. That’s why I have started putting up short video clips of my shows online. There is great comic talent here, which needs to be seen,” he said. “I mean, this year Amazon signed a deal with India for 14 comedy specials. And here we have guys like Tabish, who can probably churn out a few Netflix comedy specials in one sitting.”
Friday Funnies with JD and Bachay 5 hi Achay will be held on Friday, October 13 and Saturday, October 14, 8 pm at Thotspot.
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