Mr. Shehzad Ghias's Profile
Shehzad Ghias Shaikh is a stand-up comedian, writer and trainer. Shehzad is currently teaching at NAPA, CBM and The Lyceum School. In 2009, Shehzad established Cogito Productions, a youth based theatre production company aimed at social change. Cogito has produced over 10 theatrical productions and three youth performing arts festivals.
Shehzad has conducted workshops all over Pakistan and trained several theater artists and comedians. In 2010, he launched Room for Improv-ment, Lahore's first improvisational comedy troupe.
Shehzad himself has toured Pakistan and the United States of America as a stand-up comedian. Shehzad recently debuted his new one hour show at the Broadway Comedy Club in New York.
Shehzad also writes for Burkha Avenger, DAWN, The Friday Times and Express Tribune. He is currently working on his first comedy book.
Broadway to Bandar Road: Comedy for Change in Pakistan
A presentation on my journey as a stand up comedian and performing artist in Pakistan.
After returning from my Fulbright program, my aim was to revitalize the comedy industry in Pakistan. I started writing for television, performing shows and training improvisational comedians. Last year, I launched Pakistan's first school improvisational group and we were invited to perform a play in Germany this summer.
There are live comedy shows every week in Karachi now and a comedy community is being developed. Improvisational troupes and theatre modules are being introduced at schools. I am working with three schools and two universities to introduce theatre modules.
My stand up career has taken me back to Broadway. Last month, I launched my solo show in New York at the Broadway Comedy Club.
My philosophy about comedy and theatre remains true to this day. I started Cogito Productions in 2009 with an aim to spread thought through theatre. In 2016, I continue to fight social issues through comedy. Whether it is my satirical blogs, sketch comedy shows, Hafta news or my stand up comedy act; a social issue is always at the core of the performance.
Combining social activism with comedy in a country like Pakistan can be tough with constant threats and the tightening of space allowed for public discourse but by having a philosophy behind all the work has kept me motivated through the struggle.
By continuing to write, perform and produce through the turmoil, I hope to inspire the next generation of performers and comedians in Pakistan; to present them an alternative to the traditional paths.