One would assume that being one of the most renowned, celebrated, and controversial names in the world of stand-up comedy in Pakistan, Shehzad Ghias Shaikh would exude an air of arrogance, or would emphasize on distance and formalities. However, his candid demeanor and unbridled friendliness have been a pleasant surprise for all those who have the joy of being in his warm presence and welcoming company.
Many people know Shehzad as a Karachi-based stand-up comedian, who studied Law, and then went on to pursue his Masters in Theatre and Comedy from New York. He h
as nearly ten years of experience to his name, and is considered to be one of the catalysts essential to the process of propelling forward the comedy scene in Pakistan.
Yet, as a lot of the existing dissent begins to occur in the digital sphere, one notices the harsh criticism presented by many towards this budding form of art and creative expression, as well as the artists involved.
Therefore, when asked about how people undermine the growth of the comedy scene in Pakistan, as Shehzad sits in a well-lit, quaint cafe in Zamzama, there is a profound sadness in the reply that follows.
“It doesn’t matter what we do,” Shehzad exclaims with a wistful sigh. “And it doesn’t just pertain to comedy. We don’t like things that exist in Pakistan. We just don’t like what’s our own.”