Making light of the heavy stuff…
When did you first know that you were funny?
When I was growing up and we needed to get up early for school, everyone would be grumpy, but I would be cracking jokes and my family would eventually start laughing – I guess I could always spin bad situations into funny ones!
What’s the best thing about songs, SMSs and calls at 7:00 am on your new gig The Breakfast Show at CityFM89?
The best thing is that it’s not 7:00 pm in the evening! And one gets up with the thought that this could be the day – I have a great sense of optimism in the morning!
You get people at their best and you can also let them know that everything is going to be OK. After all what does a storyteller do; want people to feel more, give them a sense of the hopeful and interesting and explain that life is more than what it is. Some tips and tricks on how to handle The Breakfast Show? Any new segments?
You’ve got to be a good listener, in the radio booth, in society, for the rest of your day; be ready to absorb a lot of information, things people are feeling, wax eloquent on what is going on in society – but, clearly, my actual job is listening. I’m working on a bunch of new segments, especially integrating social media in every realm.
How is radio different from stand-up comedy in front of a live audience?
Radio is not stand-up comedy. My fans want to know why I am not a comedian the entire time – on radio, sometimes one is sad or rhetorical, but people don’t understand – radio is a different beast all together.
What qualities do other comedians have that you admire?
Some of them are disciplined in writing and I’m not. I’d be a better comedian if I could actually spend more time doing that; it’s tough for me sometimes. For example, the American comedian Louis C.K. is a work horse – he’s very good at what he does.
New York and Karachi – how are you dividing your time?
With this radio show, I also need to continue my life as a stand-up comedian. The world is a global village and I need to make a burst of quick trips, often enough – but you will not see what it takes or the chaos in my life!
What other projects do you have up your sleeve for the coming year/s?
I have half-written books and TV shows and bigger things I am working on, but I don’t want to talk about them till I am actually doing it.
You’ve recently become a father – what has changed most about you after that?
My sleep. I have sacrificed many naps! Between a morning radio show and a child, I’m basically a zombie. When you don’t have a night, what’s the morning!
The Pakistani entertainment industry – how do you think we’re progressing as a cohesive entity?
I think it’s really progressed a lot and comedy has really boomed. We have a big market for it, a lot of advertisers. It’s happening, it’s great and I love it!
The funniest thing you’ve heard in the immigration line at New York’s JFK?
On my way to JFK and in Dubai during transit, I was randomly selected for special screening; next to me was a 50-year old white, American woman, who had never been screened. ‘I’m so nervous,’ she said. Now that’s hilarious!