Banana Boys mark an impressive standup comedy debut

Published: October 21, 2017


KARACHI  : Banana boys Mustafa Chaudhary and Mirza Bilal made their standup debut on October 20 at Base Rock Café. The man behind the popular satire show Banana News Network Chaudhary, along with Bilal performed in front of a packed house.

The venue was perfect. Small, compact and underground, which made the atmosphere more intimate. And everything followed Murphy’s Law: “anything that can go wrong will go wrong.” Thy lords of electricity blessed the show with power outages, causing the audience members to light the performers with their phone flashes while Chaudhary and Bilal continued without losing their tempo.

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They continued their improv act, discussing everything that our lives and conversations revolve around – Sahir Lodhi, Waqar Zaka, Aamir Liaquat. Of course, there were also less harsher topics too: Karachi traffic, politics and politicians, and cultural diversity. Chaudhary’s astute observations about people’s eccentricities made it a fun act.

The hour-long show had everything going in its favor and simultaneously everything going against it as well. A hot autumn night, intermittent switching on and off of air conditioners, and continuous laughter of a crowd packed like passengers in a local bus. What more could be fun?

As Chaudhary kept on improvising and delivering lines in his signature style, he was aided by Bilal who set up the premises for him. At one point, the BNN writer even performed his insanely popular Fazlur Rehman and Javed Miandad imitation.

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What made the show interesting was that the content didn’t merely begin and end with Chaudhary’s regular shtick. While his satire is spot on and his imitations astute, it was great to see him go neck deep in unknown waters and try to stay afloat.

The dynamics between the two performers and how each had a role to perform – Bilal feeding Chaudhary the ideas while he played with them, carried the show well. Although this also somewhat caused the graph to fluctuate, as soon as the performers felt they were losing the audience, they would pick it right back up or change the subject as not to drag for long. Performing without rehearsals is a challenge, and doing so for the first time and yet managing to entertain the audience is a challenge successfully completed. And Chaudhary and Bilal successfully did so.

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