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Drishti Bodhraj Premprakashi

JWB Blogger

Pakistani All-Girl-Comedy-Group Tell JWB What’s It Like Laughing Mid-Performance

  • JWB Post
  •  September 22, 2016


I know for a fact that I could never be a comedian. Well, I’m not funny. To be a comedian, you gotta be funny, right? I guess I gotta learn a thing or two from the Khawatoons.

If you don’t know the Khawatoons, since you’re living under a rock, allow me to introduce you to Pakistan’s First All-girl-comedy troupe. We caught up with Faiza Saleem, and they told us everything about what happens backstage. May I get a YAYYYY?

Me: The funniest moment from the auditions while you were forming your team?

Faiza: I was looking for more troupe members, so Amafah, Rabiya and I went to an event at a local dhabba and announced that we are recruiting. We randomly did a little performance and started asking women to join us. It wasn’t funny. It was sad. Those were desperate times…

Me: Give us three reasons why the patriarchy is so funny  


1. It is considered normal. 2. It serves no purpose in today’s world. 3. Women give birth to everyone, including all patriarchs.

Me: Who is the biggest joker backstage?

Faiza: We’re all jokers backstage, especially when we are travelling together. But we take our comedy very seriously at the same time.

Me: How do you ensure security for your girls considering the threats you might be receiving from the traditional community?                         

Faiza: I am the security for my girls. They are my responsibility, and I try my best to give them the very best. We are our own weapons and our own bodyguards.

Me: One topic you will never joke about?

Faiza: Religion.

Me: One joke that you were really scared to make but did anyway?

Faiza: It was a self-deprecating joke, but once I started making fun of myself I enjoyed it very much.

Me: What is your ultimate squad goal?

Faiza: For women to be inspired by us to follow their own dreams and find their own journeys.

Me: How do usually men react to jokes that target the male ego?   

Faiza: Sometimes they call us sexist. Other times they laugh with us.

Me: Who laughs louder, boys or girls?

Faiza: Both.

Me: Have you ever experienced humor block? Like if you aren’t feeling humorous today. How do you deal with it?

Faiza: Sometimes before shows that does happen. But once I am on stage, I quickly snap out of it through interaction with my audience.

Me: What are your practice sessions are like?                         

Faiza: They’re hardcore. We get together twice a week. I plan sessions before hand. Sessions start with warmups and exercises then we practice games for our upcoming shows. If need be, we practice more than twice or even thrice a week.

Me: What one stereotype about Pakistani women your squad has shattered?

Faiza: That they’re not funny.

Me: How do you break the ice if the audience is not accepting?    

Faiza: I move closer to the audience and start talking to them.

Me: Compare your humor with one dish and serve it to us.

Faiza: Pani puri. It’s sweet and savoury. And for the masses.

Me: Would you like to come to Jaipur?

Faiza: Of course! Who wouldn’t?!

Me: Why do you wear only black on stage?

Faiza: We all like black plus it doesn’t get dirty easily. However, we will keep changing our colours every few months.

Me: What does Hijab mean to you?

Faiza: Hijab is a personal choice.

Me: What is your best comeback?

Faiza: I’m fat, deal with it.

Me: Did you ever start laughing mid-performance?

Faiza: Yes. I burst out laughing once and just couldn’t stop. This was during one of my first theatre performances. I pretended to be coughing, but it didn’t work. I died a thousand deaths.

Me: If all the world was a stage, where would the audience sit?

Faiza: In my heart. It’s cheesy but true!

Me: What came first patriarchy or man?

Faiza: They both came together, holding hands and smirking. But not all men and/or women can be put under one umbrella. It is unfair to generalize.

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