This Fulbright Scholar from Pakistan is Inspiring Many People with His Stand-Up Comedy!

by Shanzah Sahir

It seems like the new generation has taken up the torch of making people laugh. Therefore, we got in touch with Shehzad Ghias who recently launched his own comedy special, “Green, White and Funny”.

Shehzad Ghias is a law graduate from Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS). He went to US on Fulbright Scholarship for his postgraduate studies in Theater. He has been the news of the town since then for his satirical take on political and social issues.

Famous American stand-up comedian, Milton Berle once said:”laughter is an instant vacation. It takes us out of the tragic realities we live in to the beach of happiness.”

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In an Interview with United States Educational Foundation in Pakistan (USEFP) ( Source: Shehzad Ghias Shaikh)

In his interview with us, he described how he decided to opt for a change of career and enter theater.

He said, “It all started from LUMS. I used to perform there in events. I received positive response from the audience there. My friends were really supportive throughout. And it always helps having people who got your back”.

He also told us about his inspirations for his content. Along with that, he also mentioned the role model he looks up to.

“My focus is on the everyday life of a common Pakistani. Life gives you the biggest inspiration. I have been performing in US and Pakistan for some time now. I loved performing on Broadway, it was like a dream come true. My favorite artist is Lin-Manuel Miranda. He is an all rounder you know… singer, composer, playwright and what not. I really look up to him.”

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Shehzad putting up a comedy show in Austin, Texas at the HIdeout Theatre (Source: Shehzad Ghias Shaikh)

Ghias also conducts workshops to train comedians and improvisers in Pakistan. Along with that he teaches theater too. Moreover, he works with students for personality development. Also a motivational speaker, he has been very open about depression in his life.

His recent TEDx talk garnered a lot of praise. Shehzad was glad that he was able to share his experience with people and reach out to them.
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Ghias at Tedx Talk, Habib University ( Source: Shehzad Ghias Shaikh)

The Fulbright Scholar recently conducted a stand-up comedy show “Broadway special with Shehzad Ghias and Friends”. It provided a platform to our local talent to showcase their skills as comedians in front of a proper audience. This rarely happens in Pakistan because of the lack of opportunities. But we have seen some tremendous change for the past couple of years!

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Shehzad Gias Shaikh and Friends in collaboration with Karachi Comedy Club in Karachi (Source: Shehzad Ghias Shaikh)

Shehzad briefed us a bit about his writing style:

“My style of comedy usually revolves around cultural criticism and social satire…progressive comedy is the way to go. We have an amazing pool of young comedians that can really keep up this renewed trend of stand-up comedy.”

He also told us about the effects of comedy shows in their neighbor country on Pakistan’s culture. He was really impressed by the stand-up comedians there. And how their young talent is promoting comedy as a profession there.

“There are no binaries. We share the same foundation. Some of their shows and artists are actually very good… you can see Zakir Khan and Tanmay Bhat really making statements with their pieces.”

Finally, the stand-up comedian shared his views on the golden period of theater in Pakistan. He talked about the need of reviving their stand-up comedy.

“I loved how Moin Akhter made every character his own. His plays always had good content and this is what we need. We need content and talent both. We cannot let current commercial stage shows take the place of stand-up comedy.”

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Shehzad performing at PACC Karachi – SGS and Friends (Source: Shehzad Ghias Shaikh)

Comedians like Shehzad can be real eye openers. Take a look around yourself and you’ll see that we live in a world of chaos. The only thing we gain out of this chaos and intolerance is “hate”. Amidst all this hate, comedians look for chances. Chances to enlighten us!

These comedians hold up the mirror to society. And make people confront realities that they usually ignore. They push social boundaries to make people laugh. And sometimes, offend them during the course. But this is how you instigate change in nations. By challenging them!

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