Interview with Saad Haroon

FHM: Who is Saad Haroon? Sum up your personality in one word.
SH: One word? Oh man one word? Okay I would say optimistic. You know my job is fun, I get to make people laugh and there is something about laughter that is contagious. I am always looking forward to positivity as I love my job.

FHM: Are you this humorous by nature in real life too?
SH: Oh no! Maybe with my friends to a certain grade but that’s more conversational but what I am doing on stage is my job. On stage I craft a joke in the most specific sense of the word you are putting it together like a jigsaw puzzle you paint a picture with words and then you say that on stage. It is not like that in real like, you are just talking and hanging out I do not try to perform when I am off stage; there are people who perform off stage too, you have friends like that but for me it’s very different.

FHM: When did you find out that you could do standup comedy for a living?
SH: Wao! I think it is a learnt thing, it takes you years and years and this is like my fifth standup comedy tour in Pakistan. It takes you years of writing and re-writing, editing and finding funny things about the world so the more you get the more you know, the more comedy you can write. It’s a whole process.

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FHM: Do you write your script yourself?
SH: Yes Yes, a 100% myself so 99% of the hard work has to be done before you hit the stage. It spends months and months and sometimes years to write a show and it’s improvised with the audience but sometimes you come up with a bit of the joke on the stage so it is a mix of things but when you do it on stage it looks like you are coming up with the jokes there and then and there is a form of comedy called improvised comedy the kind blackfish used to do and shark used to do and they have structures to it but with standup comedy you are alone on the stage and it is totally scripted. This time we came up with a show “Don’t jealous jani, my heart is Pakistani.” It was about love and our culture and things we face as a Pakistani so that is how I came up with the tittle. There are some things which only we go through and nobody else in the world does so that is what we are talking about how our cultural identity is important because art has to be a reflection of life but if the artist is not reflecting that life you are not going to see it.

FHM: Tell us a bit about “Blackfish” ?
SH: Well, that was my first baby; it was an improvisional comedy troupe that had never been done before so I decided to do it. I got different people to come, I trained them and we performed and that was it. I wanted to do it because I thought you know we were not happy enough, we were not laughing enough and if we did something like this it will bring that little bit of happiness back. I mean you look at Pakistani dramas they are full of crying and you go like oh my God this is crying and people have actually started enjoying it. They go like Awe this is great and I’m like no, you got to enjoy your laughter as well you need to balance life’s emotions.

FHM: You were the first ever Pakistani comedian to travel worldwide and perform shows called “Saad Haroon: Very Live” how was the experience and which country did you entertain best?
SH: I think that there is a different audience for different parts of the world and it is so much fun for me as I enjoy different cultures of the world like in UAE there is this diverse audience, we have Russian and Germans and everyone in the audience and you’re trying to relate to 20 different cultures at the same time and then I went to UK and there is a different set of audience there for them Pakistanis have a good or bad image, sometimes its racism. I’m trying to break those stereotypes.
FHM: Brief us about the laugh factory competition.
SH: I came second but you can say I won. No no, I’m just joking. It was a great honor. I was the only Pakistani there and I got a lot of love and support from Pakistan and at the competition, I got to portray Pakistan in a great happy light. What more can I ask for? In my books it was like second, third whatever it’s a win.

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FHM: What would you comment about new talent?
SH: I haven’t conducted open mike in a few years, what I used to do was give five minutes to new talent in front of a mike whether he be a poet, singer musician or a comedian you can go up there and do what you want it was not for me to choose or judge them it was for them to get a little space to perform.

FHM: Any joke that you pulled off really well and think could have made history.
SH: There are some jokes I do that I like personally and there are some jokes which I do that do not think are very good but people laugh at them and I’m like this is what you like? What about the other one? It all depends on the audience and the idea of what is going on.

FHM: What do you for a living other than standup comedy?
SH: I do standup comedy but yes I am producing and directing and I am a writer, I am a business man as I put up an entire comedy tour. So I wear different hats at different times. I even market myself sometimes my PR hat is on so basically you become a little company with in yourself. It is like a full time job

FHM: Any words of advice you would give to people, who have a good sense of humor but are afraid to make a career out of it.
SH: Especially here in Pakistan standup comedy is something new, even though I have been doing it for a while but you need a compulsion to do it. Nothing can stop you all you need is practice but you need to do a lot of things; you need to be your own producer, writer, director basically your own company. I am very proud to be setting up an art form so people can look at me and say hey! He can do it, so can i. you know? By me doing it I create a possibility.


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