• 20 May - 26 May, 2017
  • Mariam Khan
  • Interview

The Bruce Wayne? No. Tony Stark? No. Saad is your average guy who, just like everyone else is trying to get by and make a living,” the comedian starts off with a self-observation. All the world gets to see is the ‘showered and smelling-good Saad.’

“Most people do not see the khuwari that goes behind the scenes which 99 per cent of the times revolves around scratching my head while writing jokes,” says the guy who realised “a little early on that you better love what you do, or else you’re going to fail.” Yes, he failed Grade 7. “It was like an epiphany to pursue what I love or continue being a failure,” Saad Haroon, the stand-up comedian shares.

Saad didn’t realise he was in love with the comic craft. “It didn’t dawn on me till a lot later. I was in denial for a long time,” says the ‘daddy’s good boy’ who initially did it over the weekends. But soon it turned out to be an ‘addiction’. “It just happened that I couldn’t go back to work one day and started doing comedy full-time,” he makes it known, how that instance wasn’t an “aha moment, but a series of small moments of ‘eh’s’ that lead to an ‘ah’!”

When he brings to mind his childhood, Saad points out his parents were ‘pretty strict’.

“They (his parents) didn’t give us much leeway, and I, at the same time didn’t give them much leeway,” he reveals as signs of a grin become prominent on his face. “My sisters were smart and off the bat, and they didn’t have to chase them to do homework. With me it was another story; I needed constant supervision,” and what followed was a flushed face as Saad erupts laughing hysterically. “You could lock the Nintendo into the bank vault, but I would find the combination, break in and get the console out and end up playing it,” till a roaring voice would call out his name. Travelling back the memory doorways, the man who is the reason for countless smiles, laughs out loud!

What he started post 9/11 was Blackfish, Pakistan’s first improvisational comedy troupe. “It was born out of boredom; I came from college, and wanted to be a film-maker and at the end of the day wanted to be happy when nobody around me was happy. It was post 9/11 and we were fighting a war – one that is still ongoing, that’s when I decided I’m going to start a comedy troupe and gradually got people together,” he points out how he started.

Does he remember the first joke he learnt? “I don’t even know when I learnt it, but I wrote one,” Saad reminisces, while talking about the time when he was done with Blackfish. “I told everyone I wanted to do stand-up. That was a point when I wanted to do something more focused; improv is all based upon the group – what the audience is feeling, what they’re laughing at, followed by their suggestions, and then there’s a moment when you have to say something which is a little selfish but a little bit more focused,” shares the funny man whose first performance was in his very own garden, on his sister’s birthday; a joke that was based on how conversations can get dirty while explaining directions in DHA – “a similar joke was done by Russell Peters four years later and you can check YouTube to find out who was the first one to come up with it.”

This resident of the earth calls the planet his home. “People ask me where am I based and I tell them this whole planet belongs to me,” all those who preach their rules, stop short. “Don’t explain your rules to me. If I’m in England for a few days, it is mine, no one can tell me I’m a foreigner on my own planet,” says the traveller who believes in one rule of thumb – “go wherever you want to, the planet is yours, but just don’t hurt anyone.” For Saad if you are human, and you bleed, you have nothing to fear, (except aliens of course), “So go, and apply for that visa; they have the application based on 32 pages so you don’t go through it, but make sure you make the effort!”

Making people laugh, Saad believes certainly is a 9-5 job. “A lot of it is behind the scenes, just me giggling in private, looking at my page and then waking up the next day and thinking its crap, then writing another joke, giggling at it, until I get an hour of jokes which I feel are ready.”

When it comes to bagging inspiration to pen, Saad feels ‘it’s all just so funny’. “I have files on my computer which have names of the folder with nothing inside,” and we share a hearty laugh. Often he wonders why he made that very folder. “There’s one on chimtas; I’m like what’s funny about them? And then I can’t even remember what was funny about the object that I made a folder out of it? But one day it will hit me and I will make a joke out of it,” he remarks with a sparkle in his eyes. Is that how it is? “There’s no Biology to it, just random ideas that come to you. If it would’ve been so formulaic, everyone would be doing it, right?” Can comedy be taught? And the artiste who is ‘self-taught to a certain degree’, utters, “you can teach yourself comedy to an extent, but you can’t be great at it – there’s a special ingredient after which it’s all hard work.”

Currently this ‘storyteller’ is part of a ‘marathon’. “When you’re doing stand-up comedy it’s like a sprint – you’re running to that finish line as fast as possible. Radio is like a marathon. You wake up every day and do a three-hour show; you make sure you pace yourself,” Saad, the RJ, shares who has been ‘inspired by music all his life’.

Saad has been donning quite a few headgears. “Being the producer, writer, director and performer, has made me very savvy, even though it’s very challenging,” he talks about the issues of ‘living in a conservative society’. “You can step over boundaries as a comedian, but you can’t step on too many and have to be skilful about what you can and cannot talk about,” Saad shares about his ‘struggles’. “You have to have an immense reservoir of motivation,” the ‘older-but-not-wiser’ comedian utters.

All those youngsters who wish to be a part of the comic platform, Saad shares an insight. “If you think it’s going to be a joy ride, it will be not. It is going to be more work than being a lawyer, it gets frustrating and has no pay cheque at the end of the day,” but what can keep one going is the love of the craft, voices the entertainer making it clear that it isn’t ‘some kind of a bypass with one reaching the end goal laughing’. As for the parents, Saad voices, “If your kid is working hard, he’ll make a lot of money, simply enjoy it for he’s not stealing or lying, just by default he is better than 89 per cent of the Pakistani society, congratulations!”

Saad has been thinking a lot about what he would have been doing if he wasn’t a comedian. “I would have been a doctor,” says the student who loved Biology. “Reading people is what I do when performing, for the whole problem-solving thing is fun,” Saad remarks, how comedy is “fun with no glitz and glam, but simple fun in dirty jeans.”

The new show which Saad is working on currently, ricochets around love. “Relationships are hard, love is hard and marriage is hard, talk about it and if you can’t, I’ll talk on your behalf, and what you can do is laugh and relate to it,” he says, not going into the details of the upcoming show, except pointing out that it will come out this year.

“I haven’t known next month what I’ll be doing for the next 10 years… 10 years of not knowing is crazy; if you did so with any other profession, people would think its psychotic,” Saad shares how all along his family has been supportive of what he does.

Saad, before each show of his has a huge adrenaline rush, one that is unmatched. “I can’t sleep till 4 in the morning,” says the funny man who goes onstage like ‘yeah’ and comes off it like ‘woah’. What keeps him going all this time? “There’s no drug that can compete with that feeling!” he remarks lucidly, while trying to recall what the chimta-joke was about.