Over the past decade, Pakistani comedy shows have undergone a remarkable evolution. Shows like Khabarnaak, hosted by Aftab Iqbal, and Hum Sub Umeed Se Hain pioneered a new style of infotainment comedy that would take inspiration from frequent political updates and use humor to amuse viewers.
Khabarnaak, which featured comedians impersonating politicians, celebrities, and other notable figures in a rural Punjab setting, blended news and comedy in a way that was both unique and entertaining.
Hum Sub Umeed Se Hain, followed a similar tangent, only that there were multiple impersonations, and gags during a one-hour show. The 4 man show was another comedy show that revolved around a similar ideology and used to dissipate the seriousness of political discussions through comedic jibes.
However, the comedy landscape is fast evolving, with more entertainment-centric talk/comedy shows becoming the norm over political talk shows with nuanced comedy.
The Start of Khabarnaak
When Khabarnaak first aired in 2011, it quickly became a cultural phenomenon. Audiences were drawn to Aftab Iqbal’s unique hosting style, which combined humor, satire, and a deep knowledge of current events. The show’s talented cast of comedians, who brought their own unique brand of humor to the table, only added to its appeal.
But while Khabarnaak paved the way for infotainment-style comedy in Pakistan, it was shows like Hasna Mana Hai that truly took things to the next level. Hosted by Tabish Hashmi, Hasna Mana Hai has become one of the most popular comedy shows in the country, thanks in large part to its unique blend of humor and satire.
The Hasna Mana Hai Transformation
But while Khabarnaak, Hum Sub Umeed Se Hain, and the 4 Man Show paved the way for infotainment-style comedy in Pakistan, it was shows like Hasna Mana Hai and The Super Over Show that truly took things to the next level. Hosted by Tabish Hashmi, Hasna Mana Hai has become one of the most popular comedy shows in the country, thanks in large part to its unique blend of humor and satire.
But it’s not just the setting that makes Hasna Mana Hai so popular. Tabish Hashmi’s hosting style, which is both witty and engaging, has won him legions of fans across the country. His ability to get the best out of his guests, even when they’re not sure what to expect, is truly remarkable.
The Super Over Show, hosted by Ahmed Ali Butt, does follow a talk show format like Hasna Mana Hai, and is on a similar level of evolution. Obviously, there are a few political jibes here and there, but it’s mostly unfiltered entertainment, audience interaction and the tickling ability of Tabish Hashmi and Ahmed Ali Butt.
Mazaaq Raat; Bridging The Gap Between Kabarnaak and Hasna Mana Hai
In style, the new evolution of Pakistani comedy shows is similar to Vasay Chaudhary’s Mazaaq Raat, minus the Punjabi comedy. However, shows like Super Over and Hasna Mana Hai cater to a larger viewer base as the jokes are not in Punjabi, making it more inclusive for viewers from different regions of Pakistan.
Pakistani comedy shows are no longer about presenting news in a humorous way or impersonating celebrities, but instead, they are about giving the viewers an entertaining and engaging experience that they can relate to.
Evolving Tastes in Comedy
The changing style of comedy in Pakistan’s infotainment shows reflects the evolving comedic tastes of the country. The younger generation, who make up a significant portion of the audience, are gravitating towards fresh and contemporary humor, which shows like Super Over, Hasna Mana Hai, and even Momin Saqib’s Had Kar Di are delivering.
This shift in audience preference shows how humor is not static and evolves with time, just like the society it belongs to. The style of relying on the host and their guest to create content speaks to the growing demand for personal experiences and insights in comedy. Furthermore, the new pan-Pakistani humor caters to a wider range of viewers, making it more inclusive than the Punjabi-centered comedy of let’s say Khabarnaak.
Pakistan’s comedy circus is slowly and gradually peaking, with new content coming our way. The likes of Tabish Hashmi, Ahmed Ali Butt, and Momin Saqib are adding fire to the evolution, and we may soon see a greater dependency on stand-up routines. As viewers gravitate towards experiences, we can expect a rise in improv comedy, where hosts dump the script and go for a well-versed experience.