A lawyer by profession, Faiza Saleem stirred her boat towards stand-up comedy to pursue her passion. Starting off on Facebook, she quickly garnered attention and became the first female social media comedian in the country. Calling her girls into formation, Faiza spearheaded the world of improv with an all-female comedy troupe called ‘The Khawatoons’. Find out what inspires her, how she deals with hecklers and her moment of realisation
What inspires you?
People winning at life despite their struggles inspire me the most.
When did you realise comedy is where you want your life to head?
It actually happened during a theatre performance in 2011.
How did you come up with the idea of ‘The Khawatoons’?
I think it was an epiphany. I always wondered why there were no other women besides me in comedy and then I thought, ‘wait! What if I bring in a whole bunch of them myself?’
How would you want your name to be remembered?
As a fire starter! Someone who brought about long lasting, positive change in Pakistan.
What is it like being a woman in comedy?
There are good days and there are bad days. Neither last too long.
What plays a key role in keeping the audience engaged while performing?
Talking to them and making fun of them.
How do you deal with hecklers?
I make them feel sorry they ever opened their mouths.
If animals could talk which one would be the rudest and which would be the funniest?
Mosquitoes would be the rudest. Penguins would be the funniest.
What used to be considered trashy but is now very classy?
Definitely, being a comedian.
If you were arrested with no explanation, what would your friends and family think you had done?
‘She probably beat someone up… again.’
Can someone learn to be funny on stage or does it come naturally?
It’s natural but you can work on your humour and really bring it out. I’ve seen that with my troupe.
What are some of the biggest mistakes a comedian can make?
Go against their own values to make people laugh. It happens in desperate times.
What advice would you give to new comedians who are just starting out?
Pursue comedy because you really want to. Don’t do it because it’s the ‘in’ thing these days.