Shehzad Ghias: A New Era of Pakistani Comedy?

By: Maida Tahir

After having brought the house down with their first ever show, Stand Up! LUMS returned to the stage this past week with their second official event of the semester, an original, completely unadulterated standup routine by a professional comedian and journalist Shehzad Ghias.

Ghias, being a LUMS graduate himself, returned to his famed institution armed with a fresh set of jokes that had his audience, both students and faculty alike, keeling with laughter. The audience was given a fair warning at the start of the event of the completely uncensored nature of Ghias’s routine, and it can be easily said that the comedian lived well up to all those warnings.

Our entertainer for the night brought forth all sorts of jokes that ranged from sexual exploits of the average Pakistani to quips about the taboo nature of sex in general. When asked about his comedic career and the unconventional route he had decided to follow, Ghias spoke of his intentions to steer his goals away from the stereotypical role of the common Pakistani comedian, making a living off of political satire and borderline offensive impersonations on public television. His aim, the comedian stated, was to focus his comedy on an area no one in our society feels comfortable openly talking about, and that area is that of sex. Often critiqued for being too “vulgar” and “open” with his jokes, Shehzad Ghias spoke openly about how he wanted to break away from the convention of traditional Pakistani comedy, which to this day remains embedded in bias and xenophobia. He spoke without censor of all that which is considered taboo in our society and left all care behind as he stepped on stage, unabashed and unashamed.

Though many may claim that this particular standup routine of his crossed some lines of courtesy and was at risk of being too vulgar for an academic setting, it must also be noted that at the very least it definitely opened the subject up for discussion and debate, which, according to Ghias himself, was one of his intentions. The comedian concluded the event by providing some incredibly useful information on the entire world of stand up and show-business, and no doubt coming off as an inspiration to many who may want to choose a similar career in the future. Despite mixed reviews on the nature of Ghias’s routine, it must be acknowledged that the event was successful in achieving its primary aim, which was to provide the student body with an hour of purely uncensored entertainment, giving us a break from the countless tiring ordeals that the semester has brought forth.

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