7 Reasons Why Egypt Needs Stand-Up Comedy
They say that the best medicine is laughter. And a jar of Nutella.
Here is founder of Al Hezb El Comedy Hashem El Garhy‘s take on how stand-up comedy can transform Egypt:
1. It’s a cruel world with too much bullsh*t!
The world as we know it is going through some difficult times. We don’t know why and when it’s going to stop. However, there is hope and there will always be people who look at the glass as half full. Comedians are those optimists who see that glass from a distance and decide to write a joke about it and let the rest of the people know that it’s going to be okay and these difficult times will pass.
Egypt is no different. Every day, we hear about the latest attack in Sinai, or that a bomb was found in CityStars, or even about the killing of innocent Egyptian youth by radical terrorist organizations. Yet in this battle of Good vs. Evil, good usually wins and it is our job as comedians to show that.
Don’t get me wrong, we are going through very difficult times, but at the end of the day, comedians will work their asses off to bring light to any situation and put a smile on audiences’ faces.
2. People need an opportunity
Whether you’re rich or poor, in a time where being talented means that you are either being cast on Arabs Got Talent or Arab Idol, not many comedians are given an opportunity to be seen commercially. This is where we come in. We want all aspiring comics to be given that chance to take the steps to becoming professional comedians and making this their career.
We’re always looking for the next big talent. We’re looking for the Dave Chappelles, the Chris Rocks, even the Robin Williamses of Egypt. These people need to know that being funny can mean a new way of living for them. A career that they never imagined even in the slightest possibility. Get us those people now!
3. Too Much قلش/الش
Egyptians love الش /قلش. It’s something that’s built inside us. It’s something that is found in all age groups, from teenagers in primary all the way to taxi drivers who sometimes tend to behave the same for some reason. Anyways, point is this: We are done with الش. It’s time for some serious comedy and jokes that will resonate with the masses.
Think about Dave Chappelle’s “I’m Rick James, bitch! Enjoy yourself!” and how long that lasted. It’s 2015 and true fans of Chappelle will always drop that joke between each other. Or how about Russell Peter’s “Somebody going to get a hurt real bad”.
These are the type of jokes that make great comics remembered. The path to greatness is how you will be remembered. A great joke will last for a lifetime.
4. Egyptian cinema is sh*t
Let’s face it. The golden age of Egyptian cinema passed a long long time ago. The era of being one of the best in the world is something that producers and directors only dream of now. Dreams are good for those who don’t wake up.
Truth is, though, that for the past 20 years, only a few Egyptian titles have really had significant impact. All the others have the same plot with different actors and different songs and are just plain bullsh*t without any depth.
You don’t believe me? Think about every single movie these days. What is the plot? Who got kidnapped? Who has a song and dance and a huge wedding in every film? Think about it! There are a few exceptions and – this may sound biased, but this is my general opinion – there needs to be new blood injected into this industry; the shabab need a chance to shine.
5. Education through comedy
Other than creating a platform for performing stand-up, musical and sketch comedy, we found ourselves amidst a bigger responsibility. We began to find out that comedy can literally be applied anywhere and is such a big weapon waiting to be utilized.
A great comic will always try to tie a message to his/her comedy. The cleverness behind it is that they do so seamlessly through their set. Whether that message is about change or just being positive, a comic will give their audience something to think about right after they leave the show.
We believe that we can use comedy to educate the masses and bring about a change in the way they behave. For example, over 50% of Egyptians are جاهلين. They may not be able to excel academically, however, a great joke can get to them and open their mind to different ways of thinking.
It’s not much, but it is a start to unleashing a consistent way of education through something with which we are all familiar: comedy. Some food for thought, if you will.
6. Comedians have a lot to say!
Quick question: What does a comedian constantly want? Time’s up. If you’re answer was “to be heard” or “stage time”, then you are absolutely one hundred percent wrong! Just kidding! Great job, you’re right! Go ahead, give yourself a tap on the shoulder. You’re going somewhere with your life inshAllah.
Seriously though, comedians have a lot to say and they want to be taken seriously. Comedy is hard and as ironic as it sounds, it’s not a f*cking joke. Point is, we want you guys to be entertained because we make damn sure that our material will make you laugh.
And we don’t want the people who cross their arms while sitting at our shows. Talking to you, that one guy who is always at every show crossing his arms! We will call you out! You want to feel insecure about yourself, go be pissed off somewhere else!
Sorry, those guys really get on our last nerve, but we still love them because they gave us their money. Messed up, we know, but go back and read #1 and see what’s really messed up in this world.
7. Egyptians are “ولاد نكتة”
We Egyptians are famously known to be ولد نكتة. We wouldn’t have gotten that nickname if we weren’t. Sometimes we got to call a spade a spade and dance around the fire and sing Kumbaya. I know you’re asking yourselves what that means and we’re going to be honest with you, we don’t know.
The point that we’re trying to convey here is that Egyptians are funny people, man. Just give us a chance and we will make you laugh. Come to our shows and see these talented guys do what they love best!
Our next shows by the way, just in case you didn’t schedule them into your calendar, are on Wednesday, Feb. 11 and Friday, Feb. 13 inshAllah. So be there and come enjoy a great time and always remember to فك نفسك.
WE SAID THIS: Don’t miss Egyptian Superpowers.