Akbar Chaudry, who has long been a frontman for improv-comedy troupe called LOL Waalay, has amassed quite the fan following; owing partly to his distinct style of comedic delivery, and partly because of his intensely curly hair that have now become popular in their own right.
Since Saad Haroon, Chaudry is arguably the first comedian to have emerged as a successful stand-up act. It would make sense then that he would eventually branch out into a solo show.
Along came Curly Haired Comedy! Standup Comedy by Akbar Chaudry. The stand-up act took place at PACC from 12th to 14th August; the beginning of the three day line-up was marred by serious traffic jams in the city. Protests and celebrations - both of which ironically seem to happen in Karachi at the same time - being the main cause.
At one point on Friday, Chaudry, who was behind the stage, jokingly said, “Do I come out now or has no one turned up to the show?”
People, though had indeed turned up and at some point, one wondered if Chaudry was actually impressed with the turnout or was he squinting because of the stage lights.
The event on Friday was opened by Umer Ahmed and Hassaan bin Shaheen (the frontman for The Platoon). While Ahmed’s performance was funny in a very disbelieving, “he did not just say that” sort of a way, Shaheen had quite a few spot-on moments and suffice to say, people will never look at the game of chess the same way again.
Chaudhry’s set on Friday was a bit shaky. However, he seemed to be in his element while critically pulling apart popular rhymes and advertisements - something his online video skit 'Bilingual Bitchings' has also become famous for.
Fans of the Ding Dong bubble gum ad were definitely in for a rude awakening. While some of the jokes felt repeated and his set did seem to rely on a few predictable themes, Chaudry’s quick-wittedness and original take on the themes saved the show from hitting a snag. Maybe if the transitions were more intuitive and seamless, his set would have worked better.
Digs taken at Mathira also seemed a little off-putting and beneath Chaudry who has earlier proved his mettle with the script. We hope he was able to fix that in the subsequent shows.
Overall, Chaudry proved that despite a few hiccups, he can pull in a crowd and hold a show together on his own and while not his best, it was still a good hour and a half of “almost” clean comedy. It’s also heartening to see that the scene is slowly evolving to allow popular comedians to capitalise on their names and do standalone shows - something that would help different brands of comedy find their niche in the city, if not the country. We’re definitely keeping our fingers crossed and marking “attending” on all comedy shows to follow.