A Comedy Show In Karachi Offers Break Free From COVID-19

A Comedy Show In Karachi Offers Break Free From COVID-19
It’s a rare sight to see so 250 people laughing out loud, enjoying a comedy show together and overcoming COVID-19 led social distancing, at least for a moment!

On Monday, 22nd March 2021, that many people were Karachiites at The Forest restaurant attending a stand-up comedy show, Martial LOL organized by the queen of comedy, Syeda Natalia Gul. The name of the show, Martial LOL, has nothing to do with Pakistan Resolution Day. It was named only because Pakistan Resolution day was around the corner.

“The world is comedy to those who think and tragedy to those who feel” – Horace Walpole.

Syeda Natalia Gul is a practical example of the quote above. She is a tragic comic queen who does not just think about the artists but feels for the deprived audiences as well. Amid the third wave of COVID-19 and the restrictions imposed by the government, organizing a stand-up comedy show is not an easy task. "The Jungle" has been providing a space to entertainment deprived Karachiites and a reason to laugh for over a year now. Natalia believes in bringing out the potential and exhausting the possibilities of comedy so much so that it becomes a normal weekend thing to go for a comedy show in our society.

To be honest, Martial LOL wouldn’t have been a hit if it wasn’t hosted by Tabish Hashmi. Yes, that’s right. Tabish Hashmi has the potential to single handedly run the show for three hours straight and the audience would still be rolling on the floor, laughing!

Even then the show had a huge line-up with an equal ratio of women comedienne. The line-up was a blend of men and women performers who were seasoned and new comedians. Other than Tabish Hashmi and Syeda Natalia Gul, Usama Khan Ghauri, Nida Fatima, Aliasghar Kapasi and Waqar Siddiqui have been in the business for quite some time now. The rest are new, raw and fresh from the oven.

The lineup included Jahanzaib Siddiqui, Afreen Naz, Saiyid Ali Haider Raza, Nida Fatima Syed, Waqar Siddiqui, Shabana Hassan, Aisha Khan, Usama Khan Ghauri, Natalia Gul Jilani, Aliasghar Kapasi and Tabish Hashmi.

Jahanzaib talked about how unemployment is perceived and his conversation with his father and also some jokes about Harry Potter. Afreen talked about men – which turned out to be a Ted talk than a skit. Saiyid Ali Haider shared his online dating experience with weird women, and Nida shared her experience of dating a guy who was 15 years younger than her. Waqar spoke about his experiences with girls over nights who were his friends and not girlfriends. Shabana broke the barriers and talked about marijuana (read: booti, not booty). Her skit made the audience very uncomfortable because it’s odd to see a woman talk about charas.

Aisha Khan shared how her parents have advertised about her match and a 2008 Cultus and how men make their achievements monumental. Natalia talked about her journey into comedy and how her skit about Sindhis went viral and created a huge fuss. While Aliasghar talked about Muslim Tinder and Usama had the audiences on their feet!

Usama Khan Ghauri was the highlight of the show after his performance. Standing ovation is one of the most prestigious applaud that a performer can get. He did a set about a fight over a girl in school. He has the tendency to keep the audiences engaged for 20 minutes straight. He’s got some nineties Ajay Devgan’s look as well.

Tabish Hashmi performed a set about weddings. There is nothing that can be said about his quick wit and spontaneity. In the end, as a performer and as an audience member, I think such events are much more needed than before. Due to COVID-19, the exhaustion has increased. And if the weddings can take place following SOPs, then why not comedy shows?