Saad Haroon- An artist with a social motive.
9/11 no doubt changed the lives of many, and for the elite educated class in Pakistan it was a blessing in disguise. It was in the aftermath of this tragic event that Saad Haroon who had recently came back home from NY, realized the need to make people laugh.
His curiosity for improvisational theater brought about Blackfish. Blackfish was just the start of things about a year and half ago he left his day job and took up comedy as a full time career. His claim to fame on television has been the Real News. The Real News is Pakistan’s first ever English comedy show, The show is created by Saad who also hosts the show along with Danish. The show makes fun of actual news events using political and social satire. Apart from The Real News, Saad has also traveled all the major cities of Pakistan delivering stand up performances. Saad along with Danish Ali are well know for delighting the crowds everywhere they go with their fast paced comedy action.
Saad acknowledges the fact that he targets a niche but at the same time believes that ‘a niche market in a country of 160 million is a country by itself. Also then if you take into account an expat population the numbers rise exponentially’. His niche is very educated as he puts it and mostly consists of students, young professionals and expats. Saad believes comedy is a very powerful tool which can be used to educate people and addresses important social issues but also accepts that we live in a country where emotions run high almost every day of the year and so we think up an idea, and if we think the public will enjoy it we take it on therefore his ‘first objective is always to make them laugh, not to prove a point’. Although saying that Its nice to see that the new generation of upcoming artist realize there social responsibility.
Saad refers to the Pakistani society as being dis balanced as he puts it ‘A society in which the ratio of artists to other professions is ridiculously low’. they recently tried to do their part by putting together a small workshop where they trained about 60 to 70 young people in the art of comedy, all in one room! However, it is not easy’. Saad spent a lot of years training Black Fish and claims that it is a “very long and hard process of training people and is extremely exhausting. Saad feels that Art is very important for a country as venerable as Pakistan. He believes ‘We are a poor country, but culturally we are quite rich and we need art that reflects that. Art is never a luxury, it is a necessity. The more art we have, the prouder we will be of our country and the better we will fare’. He also applauds governments efforts and says Musharraf has largely been responsible for seating up Arts schools too making arts a priority. He intends to continue his workshop for aspiring improvisational performers, as soon as he returns to the country after a tour of the States.
Currently he is touring northern America where the response has been good so far. The material has been pretty similar to what he uses in Pakistan, he just has been tweaking it a bit to suit to the regular American. He maintains that it is the Pakistani expat community that he connects to the most, although he maintains it will take lots of work and lots of new material to be able to attract the masses. Its good to see that he is optimistic about the future though.
As soon as he gets back to Pakistan he intends to roll on with the third season of The Real News, as a matter of fact he notified us that Danish Ali is currently working on getting together the new material. Further more his stand up comedy documentary-Saad Haroon: Very Live!- would be Airing soon, hes also optimistic about writing a comic movie for lollywood in the near future. He finds the idea of acting in one of them rather amusing but feels it will take a bit of time before he starts getting any offers. He feels that he is not quiet ready yet to take on the mass market but at the same time he says that you dont need a masters degree to be able to watch his show.