The US Government requests Pakistani comedians Danish Ali and Ali Gul Pir to spread humor in US
Article by Rida Naeem
Pakistani jokesters Danish Ali and Ali Gul Pir recently embarked on a comedic performance tour in the US to engage the average American in cultural diplomacy through delivering chuckles, giggles, and lots of laughs. Ali, best known for his TV show on Aaj TV and Pir, Pakistan’s unofficial Saeein, are the first Pakistani comedians to be invited by the US Government to share their craft throughout various colleges and workshops in the northeastern part of America. Their tour was organized by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs in conjunction with the New England Foundation of Arts – a local nonprofit organization.
In a time when there’s much political tension between the countries, when asked why they thought they had been chosen to spread and acquaint Americans with Pakistani style humor, Ali replied, “There’s nothing like comedy done successfully to break down barriers. There’s so much (political) baggage when an American and a Pakistani meet, but it’s so nice when you get that first joke out and suddenly you’re best friends. Suddenly, we’re ok”.
Furthermore, Ali explains that it couldn’t have been a better time to visit America – as the US presidential election was taking place the same time and he and his team had been reporting about the pre-election festivities on his Aaj TV show, “The Real News with Danish Ali”. Adding to the conversation, Pir stated, “I think these are two different countries with two different election systems but there was one thing that was common, which was that the passion was the same. I’ve witness some elections in the village that I’m from, Dadu, and the people were as happy here (over the outcome) as there. Even if the party wins the election over there, we also do dung dara dung dara (singing) and we start dancing too. They have Jay Z here and we have someone like Shazia Khuskh”.
Another major event that Ali and Pir were able to witness the aftermaths of was Hurricane Sandy, which affected residents all over the east coast of America. Learning about the post Sandy conditions and the lack of petrol and electricity, Pir was certain that it’s more of a reason for Americans to enjoy their comedy performances – as they need the laughs to get away from reality, just like Pakistanis. Ali lightheartedly said, “I was considering packing a UPS and a generator to teach Americans how to use it as we (Pakistanis) are pros at it”.
Finally, both pranksters agreed that the most rewarding experience of conducting performances and meeting the average Americans has been the cultural exchange. Feeling like true ambassadors, they have been given chances to discuss Pakistani culture with many average Americans and they are proud that the Americans have gotten the knowledge from them – as opposed to Google or books.
Watch Danish Ali every Saturday at 7:30PM on “The Real Show with Danish Ali” on Aaj TV.
Follow Ali Gul Pir on twitter @aligulpir