Tuesday, February 28, 2006



I wrote most of the material yesterday during lunch and then wrote the final bit on the drive over to the Open-Mic. Got the idea for it while at a traffic light and pulled into a Shell Pump and scrawled it onto my cheat-sheet.

The Open-Mic went well over all. Saad did some good material as always. Some fun musical acts and a new kid doing Stand-up. He has just moved back from America and so his material is very much influenced by that. Still a bit raw and the ideas could be fleshed out better but he did alright.

Saad had me go up last to close the night and I was a tad nervous since I hadn't even memorized it fully. Did okay I think. The audience was a bit subdued so the laughs were smaller, but I expected that because the material wasn't exactly side-splitting. More witty than laugh-out-loud.

Here is the bit I wrote in the Shell Pump. Thanks to a Shell attendant for loaning me his pen. 


Shallow Compliments
I hate shallow compliments. You've all heard them. Stuff like: 
"He has a warm personality."
Argh. I hate that. I don't want to have a warm personality. It's so...middling. I want a Fiery personality. A volcanic personality! I want a personality that erupts and buries small Italian towns under magma. 

Or conversely, I can settle for a cold personality. Really cold. Frigid. I want people to say "his personality is so cold that if you touch it your finger turns black and you have to have it amputated."

Screw "warm" personality. 
"What's his personality like?"

Another one I hate is "He loves to laugh." Usually said when someone dies. 
"Oh, he loved to laugh."
As opposed to whom exactly? Who is this person who hates to laugh? 
"Keep your damn limericks and humorous anecdotes! I'll be in the corner kicking the damn cat."

Some compliments just don't work if you apply them to certain types of people. Like"She's so giving." Doesn't work really well when "she" has an STD.
"Dude, she gave me syphilis."
"I know, she loves to give."

Sunday, February 26, 2006


Spent all of yesterday trying to flesh out some material. I had topics, I even knew what some of the punchlines would be. Just couldn't work the language in the build-up portions. 

Took a bunch of different directions and ended up deleting them all. Then I had a panic attack about having writers block. Had a block like this before when I used to write short stories in college and so tried stuff that worked then, but had no success:

1) Can of Red Bull. Effect: Nothing.
2) Long walk. Effect: Carbon Monoxide     Poisoning.
3) Shower. Effect: Shampoo in eyes. Searing pain.
4) Distractions. Effect: Watched entire Season 4 of Justice League Cartoon. 

Finally resigned myself to calling Saad in the morning and withdrawing from Open Mic. 

Then on the way to work this morning it all fell into place. Ran to my desk and typed everything out. Not my best material but should work. Now to memorize, which requires avoiding work for most of the day.

See you at the Open Mic. Details on saadharoon.com

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Okay, two days left before the Monday Open-Mic and I still have no material. I have bits and pieces of one but honestly it is nothing fantastic. I know it can get laughs but it really isn't that funny. Maybe a filler between two more solid bits.

I had a weird dream last night. I am performing
at the Open Mic and I am doing some kind of new Alternative Comedy stuff. Like I read out topics from my material, not the jokes, just the topics. I do a whole presentation on the Cartoon Crisis which is absolutely hilarious in my head but not funny to anyone else.

Dammit! How do Aziz Ansari, Eugene Mirman and the other NY Alternative Comics come up with their material. What is that place in your head you go to when you want to move away from plain observational comedy and move into new directions. 

I have always had trouble thinking outside the box. Inside the box I am king. King of the box. All four brown cardboard walls of the box are my domain. Outside it though I am a foreigner in a strange land. The people talk different and have strange customs...

I have no clue where I'm going with this.

Tonight: I write comedy.

Tomorrow Morning: I delete crap written tonight and start over.

Honestly, I should have just become a banker like all my other friends.

Friday, February 24, 2006


I'll be performing Stand-up at the next Open-Mic night:




My computer promptly crashed the day after my wife left for Melbourne and so I have not been able to write any new comedy for the Open-Mic. Danish and Saad both write their stuff by hand in honest-to-good notebooks. Which is great when it hard-disk crashes are concerned but I always worry about losing notebooks too much to rely on them.

Currently my notes are saved on my office computer and backed up on my iPod and my email. All of which means I have access to them whenever I need them. Unfortunately I can't write stand-up at the office and there are no other options right now.

Will get something ready in time hopefully...

Wednesday, February 22, 2006


sorry for the lack of activity. My wife just left for Australia to do her Masters and she will be gone for a year.

So you can understand the lack of funny in my life right now...

Thursday, February 16, 2006


Karachi is now in the second day of what might become a three-day strike to protest cartoons.

The strike has been peaceful so far, with stores, schools and offices closed and demonstrating crowds walking around simply chanting slogans and carrying banners adorned with sarcastic phrases.

The rest of Pakistan is...disappointed.

"C'mon Karachi! You were supposed to be the crazy city!" mocked one Lahori Protestor, still trying to wipe ash and soot of his face.

A spokesperson for Lahore's rioting mobs issued a letter of complaint to his Karachi counterpart:

"Dear Sir/Madam,

I am writing on behalf of the PJM (Punjabi Rioting Mobs) to officially declare our disappointment with the city of Karachi.

Until now Karachi was legendary in its ability to create havok over non-issues. We fondly remember huddling around the T.V. as children and watching news footage of buses lit up like giant bonfires, just begging for a huge marshmellow. Sights of city streets littered with flaming tires (the burning kind, not the gay kind) would excite us more than an episode of Transformers.

Where has all the carnage gone?

Lahore worked hard to set a standard. We put in time and effort. We burnt Citibanks. We even carried on our nations proud tradition (one that was established in Karachi, it should be noted) of wrecking KFC outlets. Dammit, we did some hard rioting. And then we turned our eyes south to watch Karachi take the torch from our tired grimy hands and use it to set shit abalaze.

Nothing. Karachi you have let us down. No more shall you be known as the riot-king of Pakistan.

You have gotten all civilized. How boring. We laugh at your "peaceful demonstrations". We mock your "silent protest." Grow some balls Karachi. Heck, borrow ours if you need to.

You fucking pansy.

Yours affectionately,

The PJM"

Wednesday, February 15, 2006


Pakistan has never been too far behind in terms of fashion trends. Most of our fashionistas can be seen sauntering dunkenly from party to party in the latest in 80's fashion. We hope to enter the new millemium sometime around 2036.

In keeping with our approach to stylistic trends, we have decided to take part in the new anti-cartoon rioting that is all the rage in the world right now.

Never mind that the cartoons were published over two weeks ago.
Never mind that most of the Muslim world has gotten its Riot on well before now and already started moving on to more cutting edge topics like Abu Ghuraib abuses.

In an attempt at making up for lost time, Pakistani's passionately took to the streets, looting and rioting in a manner that is guaranteed to discredit any attempts at rational dialogue. Because dammit, that's what the cool kids are doing now.

KFC employees across Pakistan have promptly committed mass suicide in an attempt to preempt the swath of destruction headed their way.

Lahore rioters took to the streets yesterday, dressed in their fashionable best. They wowed audiences with their scraggly beards and oh-so-2nd Century approach to dialogue.

"We are sorry for the delayed response," said one rioter, "our internet connections are slow in Lahore and we just got around to seeing what all the fuss was about." The press release from the rioters, scrawled in feces across the walls of a Citibank, apologised for the lag time and promised to make up demand for rioting by finally getting to the Salman Rushdie issue at the start of next week and hoping to maintain a regular weekly schedule on riots for the first quarter of 2006.
"We have been waiting for the only person in Lahore who could understand and process metaphors to complete 'Satanic Verses' and he has just yesterday submitted his report on the topic. We know its a little late, but really, who cares as long as shit gets burnt."

The effigy burning was particularly impressive this year. The new line of effigy's launched earlier this year by Effigy Suppliers, or ES as it's is called by frequent shoppers, were noted for their combustability. Purchasers in a hurry can now buy effigy's on-line at their website, burnwesternbastardburn.com and pay in goats and cows, depending on the Punjabi village they hail from. It should be noted that competition between effigy suppliers is growing this year and the average consumer has a for better selection to choose from than in previous years. New companies McEffigy and Effigy Hut have captured the hearts minds and lighters of the more affluent rioter. A radio advertising campaign has helped discriminating rioters make their decision:


V/O (FEMALE): Does the fire inside you burn?

SFX: Match being struck.

V/O (FEMALE): Do you want to express yourself in flame?

SFX: A fire crackling.

V/O (MALE): It's time to burn things down! Now you can buy two effigy's for the price of one at Effigy Hut! That's right two for the price of one! Double the combustible maza! Or avail our special group-discount and buy enough effigy's to let your hatred of Western nations be seen from space!

SFX: Crowds roaring in anger.

V/O (FEMALE): Burn things outside they way you burn on the inside. Effigy Hut.



Still hung over from a marathon SCRUBS season 5 viewing that stretched late into last night. I *heart* SCRUBS. Excellent off-the-wall comedy writing.

Other things that have brought me joy recently:

EXTRAS by Ricky Gervais. The guy who previously did The Office. I love his approach to television comedy. His Stand-up shows are a bit weak but the man can work a fine script.

Also managed to download an interview of the notoriously reticient Larry David conducted by Gervais. You can read about it here. You can learn more about comedy just by watching this then anything else out there these days. They articulate alot of my frustrations with teleivision comedy and what makes people laugh.

Been in touch with a bunch of comedians in NY recently. If nothing else, I think I can manage to set up a few shows in NY and Boston. That is if I can go. Tentatively planning summer of 2007. Also talking to Azhar Usman about either me coming there or trying to get Allah Made Me Funny to come here. If anyone can help on the logisitical side of that please contact me.

Oh, and even though I can't watch it because my computer is acting wonky, watch Tinkus World, a new on-line series of short films by Usman. Should be good.

Saad just emailed about the next open-mic on the 27th of Feb. Will be performing there if I can get some new material to actually be...y'know...funny.

Oh, and Saad got interviewed by the Associated Press of New York. Go read it. Great interview. I'm proud of him. Not jealous. Nope. Just proud.

Bastard. Heh.

I just starred in three TV ads for a client. Silly commercials that could have been great if the client had a decent budget or even let me do the ads the way they were in my head. Either way, if you want to see me as a Mad Scientist, Frustrated Actor or Strict school teacher then watch TVOne for the next few weeks. It was fun, but I am cemented in my decision to never do anything on TV again. Pakistani television just is no where near where I want it to be, in terms of production values, content or maturity.

God, I want to do some short films. Need money. Lots of money. And time. Oodles of time.

I think that's it for now. Enough linky goodness in this post to keep you busy for a while.

Friday, February 10, 2006


Spent the Ashura holidays tinkering with the computer at home. Nothing more geek-satisfying than watching your laptop and your computer interface while backing things up on your iPod. Ahhhh.

Wanted to expand on some of the topics I thought of for Stand-Up but realized I had left the notes on my computer at work. So backing them up here in case I need them remotely. Which was kind of why I had started this blog actually.

Finalizing the Pakistan Tour deal today. Details in the evening hopefully.

These are raw notes as they came to me. Some will be expanded upon succesfully and some will end up being chucked. Either way, this is how a routine starts for me. Now I need to let these swill around in my head for a few days until the just kind of flesh themselves out and the structures fall into place.


Sami wuz ‘ere
“Miss, can I go to the bathroom”
“Do you forget to wear your clothes in the morning?”

People holding up fingers and asking me to count them.
Do you run around someone in a wheelchair and gloat as well?
Nobody tough ever wears glasses. You can’t start a fight by pushing your glasses higher up on your nose.
People love trying on other peoples glasses. “Hey can I try those on? How do I look?” I can’t tell you because I’m blind now.

I hate work, but not because of the whole job-fulfillment thing. I’m just lazy. Getting up in the morning! Work till evening! Forget putting food on the plate, I’ll eat it off the floor.

I hate working out because I’m so lazy. The whole counting your reps thing exhausts me. Just counting is boring. So I add visuals. I started counting sleep. Fell asleep on the bench-press.

People who read the book first are always so condescending when it comes to the movie.

I negotiate with myself in bed about getting up.

Whenever I hear the alarm in the morning I try to convince myself I can get used to it. BEEP BEEP BEEP. That’s okay, I am in a techno-club.

You ever dream about a fight with someone and then wake up angry at them?

Tuesday, February 07, 2006



Alot of new readers here. Most of who have been directed here via The Apiary.

I emailed the site a few days ago, asking help for getting me in touch with comedians or producers etc. in the U.S. A bunch of helpful people have responded since.

So far nothing major but I at least know who to contact if I ever visit the U.S. to get some performance time (tentatively hoping for summer 2007 so I have some money saved up to afford the trip). Also opening a myspace website where I can start putting up sound files and video clips.

Self-promotion needs to properly start now.

I also tried getting in touch with the Allah Made Me Funny people. If nothing else I know my emai has been forwarded to the performers. So fingers crossed there.

In other news: The Lahore-Islamabad tour is being finalized right now. Will post details and tour dates soonish. I really hope it works out, I'd love to try out audiences in the rest of the country.

Haven't written much comedy recently, or at least trying not to because of Muharram (yes, I'm Shia. No, I won't spit in your food). You'd think it is hard to write comedy while spending your evenings sitting in a car with your family as the Imam narrates a tale of tragedy and woe of epic proportions. Yet, I still came up with a dozen topics that shall be expanded upon later. Go figure.

Thursday, February 02, 2006


Okay posting from work. I finished writing copy for a new fruit juice drink that is just like very other fruit juice drink on the market and yet I have to make it seem fresher and purer.

I swear, working in Advertising feels like my parent's revenge on me for not doing Computer Science or an MBA like they had wanted me to.

There's a job description waiting to be made.



So I started thinking about Comedians I love. Here is a rough list off the top of my head:

BILL COSBY: I will bitch slap anyone who criticises the man. He does 2.5 hour long shows twice a day. He is as funny now as he was before you were born. And he does it all using material that actually makes you feel good after he is done. No cursing. No crude stuff. Just pure storytelling. All from the comfort of a chair. My dream is to meet and hug him.

STEVE MARTIN: His old Stand-up stuff was weirder than anything I could ever dream of coming up with. It worked on both slap stick and intellectual levels. Plus, doesn't he just remind you of Saad (saadharoon.com). I swear the mannerisms and expressions are the same. Also a brilliant writer. I want to write stand-up and a movie and a novella and a stage-play and do them all with so much class and culture.

SEINFELD: Probably been compared to him more than anyone else (physically I think someone once said I look a bit like Woody Allen. I hate people). Pure old-school observational material. I learned alot about delivery by listening to him. Also pacing and joke-structure. His clean, simple, monotone delivery makes the material all the more ridiculous.

MITCH HEDBERG: Apotheosized since his death but really great writing. My wife hates his delivery and prefers to read his stuff (you can find huge transcripts on Wikipedia). I know I can never write like him. But it's a heck of a thing to aspire towards.

BILL HICKS: I was introduced to his stuff by, believe it or not, a comic book (ten points to anyone who can tell me which DC-Vertigo title it was). Angry. Political. A dark poet who made you laugh so damn hard. Chomsky with a strap-on.

ROBIN WILLIAMS: His material doesn't age too well, but the manic style of delivery is truly something worth watching. I love his older stuff though. Had more of an improvised feel to it.

EUGENE MIRMAN: Recently discovered him. I think his material is described more as "alternative". It's funny as hell whatever it is.

DANE COOK: Not as popular with the hardcore comedy nerds. Still, I kind of like his delivery more than anything else.

CHRIS ROCK: I love his constant pacing on stage. And that wide-eyed look he gets when hitting a punch-line. Delivery that is perfectly paced, right down to the curse words.


I'm sure there are more. Just can't think of names right now. Eddie Murphy should be on there because he really is the first comedian I ever saw. And one or two members of the Blue Collar Comedy Tour. I know I'll love Aziz Ansari, if I can ever get around to hearing him.

You don't get Comedy CD's here so I download most of my stuff using Limewire. If you have anything new you want to swap just drop me a line and I'll burn you a CD.

I love Comedy. I hate Advertising. Why do I spend most of my waking hours in the latter and not the former?


Finally wrote that article for SPYDER magazine. they want me to do a regular humor column on tech stuff. Which should be fun. The first article was written during a rough work-week so not as good as I'd have liked. Still, that now means I'm doing Musical journalism for HERALD and NEWSLINE and Tech stuff for SPYDER.

I'll never get any sleep.

Excerpt below. Buy the mag when it comes out for the complete article:


Don’t turn off your phone during a theater performance.

Focus on your dialing while driving.

Put the ringer on high during important meetings.

You’ve made your point.

The consistent, even dedicated, refusal to abide by basic rules of cell phone courtesy by the average user has by now proven a point. Let polite society go back to bothering cigarette smokers and loud children. Cell phone (mis)behavior has fought for its rights and we can probably let it win by now. It is time for us to adapt. Let’s just stop pointing the same things out over and over again, ad infinitum. Let’s start considering a ringing sound during your moving theatrical performance as criticism of your thespian skills. Let’s consider that if the guy in the cheap suit with the bad comb-over is talking on the phone during your moving lecture on sales-distribution and ISO certification (with power-point slides to highlight your key-words in comic-sans) then he probably is busy and you should get to the point. In fact, let’s consider that if you can’t drive and use a phone at the same time by now then you are a poor driver. Anyway, sms-ing and driving should be part of the driving test by now. If we ever have driving tests.

The point is: The old complaints against cell-phone users are silly and ineffective. Which doesn’t mean that we don’t have new complaints. Adapt or die is the basic evolutionary principle and it is just as applicable to complaining and whining. So lets list the new reasons to hate everyone around us.

1) If you are old, stop taking five minutes to answer you phone. Old people have this ridiculous habit of refusing to accept the call until they have read the name on the Caller-Id. This is still a habit that the young can get away with. But for the over-50 user that means retrieving half-moon shaped specs from their casing. Unwrapping the beady string that is tied to the ends of your glasses so that you can fashionably hang them around your neck. Perching them on your nose. Holding the phone at arms length and squinting like a near-sighted Clint Eastwood at the small screen. Wracking your Alzheimer’s-riddled brain to identify the caller. And then spending the next 3 minutes hollering “hello” into a phone, while failing to understand that the caller gave up 7 minutes earlier. If you are old, answer the phone as soon as it rings. Don’t worry, it wont be Death calling to tell you he is dropping by to deliver a quick heart-attack and offering a drive up to long-gone relatives.