Banana News Network boys bring international-style standup comedy to Pakistan

Published: October 18, 2017
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PHOTO: PUBLICITY

PHOTO: PUBLICITY

PHOTO: PUBLICITY PHOTO: PUBLICITY

KARACHI    : Pakistan struck gold with Banana News Network (BNN) several years ago. Although the talent involved had been working long before it, the political satire show became their launchpad in the entertainment industry.

Director Nabeel Qureshi has since gone to become one of country’s leading film-makers, Mohsin Abbas Haider has become a star in his own right. And the writer and on-screen comic Mustafa Chaudhary has been busy creating his own niche.

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But while BNN established him as a top-notch satirist, he is set to delve into standup comedy soon. Speaking with The Express Tribune, Chaudhary revealed that he and fellow performer Mirza Bilal are set to hold a standup comedy show titled Standup Comedy Night with the Banana Boys on the last Friday of every month, starting October 20.

The one-hour show will see the two perform improv comedy as well as some socio-political satire. “The show will be a family audience, and also incorporate our signature satire content, but obviously not as hardcore political as we used to do,” said Chaudhary.

PHOTO: PUBLICITY

PHOTO: PUBLICITY

He shared he had always wanted to do standup acts but didn’t get the time. “It’s only when I did a theatre play ‘Bananistan’ last year that I felt I should give it a shot,” he said. “Is it going to be a challenge? Well, of course it’s different performing on TV. However, in fact, we actually started as a comedy act back in the day. We changed that into hardcore satire, but basically people enjoy comedy at the core of it. So, it’s nothing out of the ordinary.”

He said their standup show will be different from others as they keep from employing offensive language. “A lot of comedians do employ toilet humor and vulgar comedy. But I feel Pakistanis are inherently funny. All you have to do is go out in the street and meet people and you’ll find so many interesting characters.”

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On the same note, he shared an anecdote. “The other day, I took a Careem and the captain had a paan or ghutka in his mouth so he didn’t speak much. I started talking to him about his life and job and he only nodded in response to questions. But his actions made him come across as someone with a lot of attitude. Then I thought maybe he actually speak but then he rolled down the window, spat out and spoke. It’s these little things that I find funny.”

In an interview years ago, Chaudhary had said the BNN group discussed a lot of ideas from religion to philosophy to history when they sat down, but they rarely made it on to the screen. But with the standup act, he believes they will be able to show more of their own personalities rather than adapting others’. “

Stand-Up Comedy Night with the Banana Boys will be held from 8-10 PM this Friday at Base Rock Café.

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