SS: How long have you been a comedian and how many shows have you performed at?
MB: About ten years and I have honestly lost count on how many shows I’ve done.
SS: What first drew you to comedy?
MB: Watching Eddie Murphy specials. He owned the stage and was a master storyteller.
SS: What do you love about comedy?
MB: The feeling of making people laugh. It’s a wonderful thing and incredibly addictive. There is nothing like it.
SS: What challenges/ obstacles did you face while getting into comedy?
MB: There weren’t many gigs back then so I had to make my own gigs. Booking venues was expensive so I had to put a lot of my own money on the line just to have an opportunity to perform. Also, there was the challenge of building an audience and getting people to come and watch. I’m grateful that people took a chance on me back then.
SS: Do you have any advice for aspiring comedians?
MB: Keep writing and build stage time. The more you do it the better you get. Be authentic and do the kind of comedy that suits who you are.
SS: Do you think comedy can be used to change negative social perceptions about race, gender and stereotypes?
MB: I think it’s a nation builder. Fosters understanding between people. It’s a way of getting a message across without tension. When we learn to laugh at ourselves we learn to live together.
SS: What inspires your material for comedy shows? (Tell us about the joke-writing process)
MB: I wouldn’t say there’s a set process. Ideas happen. Something pops in your head and then you start testing it on people, usually people close to you. Then you take it to the stage and then it’s about tweaking and fine tuning until the joke is just the right length and the timing is right. Its trial and error. Sometimes a joke gets better and develops into something amazing or you end up throwing it away.
SS: What makes/breaks a comedy show, are there any do’s or don’ts?
MB: There isn’t a formula really. The audience decides whether a show is good or not. It depends on whether they go with it or not. If you lose the audience it’s over. They can lose them by pushing it too far or being offensive. How do you know how far is too far? You only know once you’ve crossed that line.
SS: Describe your sense of humour.
MB: I’d say, chilled and local.
SS: What is your dream/goal as a comedian?
MB: To carry on doing this as often as I can, for as long as I can in as many places as I can.
SS: Are there any comedians that you look up to/admire?
MB: Jerry Seinfeld. To be as timeless and relevant while also managing to be so funny while being a clean comic is amazing. Trevor Noah for showing what is possible.
SS: Do comedians have a level of responsibility when it comes to writing jokes? (Is there a line you don’t cross- at what point does a joke become insulting?)
MB: Certain things are off limits. Rape jokes would be one of them.
SS: What do you hope to achieve through comedy?
MB: To make as many people laugh in my lifetime as I can.
SS: What feedback have you received for your shows?
MB: Good and bad. Mostly good.
SS: What would you do if you were not a comedian? (If you have a side job, please tell us what it is)
MB: I used to be a journalist, I guess I’d be doing that.
Masood, please complete these sentences:
1. My perfect holiday would be… at a tropical island with no cellphone.
2. My favourite meal is… pizza.
3. The perfect date is… with the love of my life and netflix.