Laughter is the best medicine they say, but in a country like ours where real life is often more ridiculous than reel life and everyday news stories make you ROFL, comedy shows don't stand a chance.
Or do they?
The recent surge in comedy-based shows like Bulbulay, Dugdugi, Namak Paray and Ye Meri Family has one wondering whether humour is just another avenue for misogyny on TV. The punchline of every joke is usually centred around a husband bearing the brunt of his wife's or in-laws' ire.
Although it is true that post-shaadi jokes, especially those involving a second marriage, are oh-so-loved by our audience, that doesn’t necessarily mean that shaadi jokes are the pinnacle of our comedic achievements. Previously aired comedy shows have shown that humour can actually be about anything and everything.
Shows of yore explored satire, made use of parodies and even musicals to make their point. We feel they're worth a watch again, and we wonder — maybe today's comedy shows can learn a thing or two from them!
Here are six super funny shows that need to be re-aired:
1. Teen Bata Teen:
Featuring a trio of roommates — played by Faisal Qureshi, Adeel Hashmi and Ali Tahir as Shafoo — certainly got lots of laughs, as the background score of ‘Can Can’ was the perfect complement to their attempts to make money or get the girl. Salman Shahid as the ‘kharoos buddha’ trying to woo an older woman and getting chased by an invisible dog became the highlight of almost every episode. This kind of light comedy is perhaps what all of us need as an escape from the the seriousness of real life.
2. Sab Set Hai:
A sitcom that actually affected Karachiites, Sab Set Hai was the brainchild of Azfar Ali and Salma Hasan, who starred alongside Maani and Adnan Shah in the show. Sab Set Hai offered up a slice of life of middle-class Karachi life and introduced new words to our lexicon like ‘topi’, ‘dhakan’, ‘burger’ and many others. Although set in a Karachi, which had seen a lot of violence, the simple story of Sub Set Hai was a great way for viewers to shrug off the day's worries.
3. Kollege Jeans:
Kollege Jeans by NINI was definitely one of a kind in Pakistan. Shot at the National College of Arts in Lahore, the sitcom was about student life on campus.
It wouldn’t be wrong to say that the show launched the careers of actors like Ali Zafar and Ayesha Omer. Also starring the likes of Ahmed Ibrahim, Ali Arif, Anjum Shahzad and Noorul Hasan, KJ showed the all the elements of typical university life in its under 30 minute episodes: relationships, assignments, rivalries and NCA’s famous ragging.
Starring Sarmad Sultan Khoosat, Nadia Afghan, Fatima Khan and others, Shashlik was about the not-so-manly Cheeku (Sarmad) and his love-hate relationship with his cousins/friends Mishi, Kammo and others. What made this show stand out were the situational songs, like Shazia Mansoor’s ‘Chal Mere Makhyan’, which was played when Mishi tries to go on a diet and dedicates the song to a slab of butter!
This was however a fresher take on the drama but couldn't do so well:
5. Video Junction (VJ)
Kicking off in the late nineties, Video Junction was actually a popular platform for music videos. Hosted by Ahmad Ibrahim and Faisal Qureshi, VJ did a countdown of top 10 music videos, ranging from Hadiqa Kiyani’s 'Tou Agar Miljata' to Shariq Rumi’s 'Fikar Na Faka', interspersed with humourous segments by Ahsan Rahim and Amna Rahim. Famous characters included Ashraf, a cook and Baba Sayeen, among many others. The team’s satirical take on the then blockbuster Titanic using puns and gender reversal is still watched by loyal fans and would draw even more viewers if aired again.
6. Family Front:
Penned by famous humourist, Dr. Younus Butt, Family Front revolved around a family that tries really hard to keep up with Joneses. Their antics ranged from venturing into the spoof business to getting fooled by swindlers. Starring popular actors Saba Hameed, Samina Ahmad, Waseem Abbas and Anjum Shahzad, Family Front’s one-liners like ‘Aazam, aap agaye?” “Nahi, raaste me hon” and “Pehchana? Nahi Pehchana? Mai Khushya” are still remembered by fans. The show should definitely be brought back!