Saad Haroon is a well-known & talented Pakistani comedian, actor, and writer. He is also the creator of the first ever Pakistani improvisational comedy troupe “BlackFish”, and was the first Pakistani slapstick comedian to act upon in English in cities crossways the entire of Pakistan in his tour “Saad Haroon: Very Live”. Saad created and hosts the first ever English Language Comedy TV shows in Pakistan like “The Real News”. Saad Haroon organizes Open Mic Nights which attributes aspirant comedians, writers, poets, and other talented enthusiasts. Blackfish created by Saad Haroon, was enormously flourishing and performed for many years. Saad now regularly travels across the globe, performing and collaborating with other artists. He has symbolized Pakistan in different events and festivals including “Contacting the World” Professional Development Program, the “International Festival of Emerging Artists” and will be featured in “Centre Stage” touring the United States of America in 2012.
Head jester Saad Haroon back in town
The reigning jester of stand up comedy, Saad Haroon is back in town with his bagful of jokes guaranteed to tickle that deeply embedded funny bone in our cynical politicized bodies. For Pakistanis there’s nothing funnier than the abysmal state of our politics and government. Anyone who can perfect the art of political and social satire like Saad Haroon can sway the stage if his jokes manage to hit the right nerve. While Lahore’s acquaintance with Haroon has been brief, having being introduced by the youth event company Origami only last year, his popularity and reputation preceded him immensely as Lahoris flocked to his opening show over the weekend. “I couldn’t see him perform the last time so I didn’t want to miss this,” spoke an audience member Mohammad Khan. “My expectations are really high since everyone’s been talking about this.”
In his characteristically funny way, Haroon created an indigenous ice breaker by citing how dirty one sounds while giving directions in Lahore: “Go down M.M.Alam road” and then began picking on a fashion journalist in the front row who originally hailed from Karachi but was living in Lahore, over the perennial Karachi Lahore divide by spoofing the uppity and reserved behavior of Karachites who usually win the argument on the supremacy of the cities by concluding, “we have the beach”. Such jokes resonated extremely well with audiences since they could relate to them very well.
What didn’t work however, and Haroon realized so himself back stage, were the more intellectual jokes such as his song that mentions a girl friend from Tel Aviv that had many audience members racking their brains over what or where Tel Aviv was. “I love it here,” Haroon confessed, excited at the prospect of being back to the city of culture to perform. One wished he had performed his Burka Woman song that was hugely popular on the internet but Haroon admitted that he was a bit scared of doing it, “What if someone complains to the authorities (if they feel offended)?! Besides, everyone has already seen it.”
Nonetheless Haroon managed with his set of brand new jokes drawing from current events such as the contentious Raymond Davis case was ingenious, as was the Daku Song that complemented that set, although it took a few seconds for the audience to register what he meant by “I’m thinking of shooting a new sitcom ‘Everybody hates Raymond’”. Yet the joke on Pakistan’s horrific public toilets being weapons of biological warfare themselves, resulted in convulsions of laughter. Lahore this way is a tricky audience, one never really knows what will echo with them. While the audiences were in rapture last year with Haroon’s songs, this year they weren’t all too impressed. “It’s the same jokes,” bemoaned an audience member Zain. “Somehow this time the jokes weren’t all that funny.” One wonders if the luke warm response this time was a result of a heavy leabing towards political jokes instead of more social jokes like those centered on dating, marriage and elopement that were a hit last time. In keeping with Lahore’s exclusive taste for all things specific to the city, would Haroon create a special song on the city for his fans here? “There was no Lahore specific strategy except for just doing new jokes and tailoring a few for Lahore. But next time I come to perform I will definitely create a song specifically for the city’s residents,” promised Haroon. In the meantime he revealed that a big project is up in March. His lips are sealed so we will just have to wait and watch what his jester conjures up next.
Saad Haroon Pictures