Sami Shah Interview

2 Oct, 2014 by

Sami Shah Interview

There’s an extended apprenticeship that most stand-up comedians have to go through before, if, they become household names: open-mic nights spent trialling material in front of other comedians, drunk crowds in small pubs, corporate gigs to bored business-peopl. Sami Shah didn’t have most of those options when he was starting out. Turning to humour as a reaction against the violence and horror he was seeing as a news producer in Karachi, Sami found himself a comedian in a city without a comedy scene. Sami had to rent out auditoriums himself and after performing for two nights to packed audiences, ran out of audience and had to retire the material. Needing to branch out, he played in the most unusual venue imaginable, the online world of Second Life.

Stints as the host of News Weakly, a Daily Show-like look at the world, and as a satirical writer at Express Tribune, honed his craft, but led to fairly frequent death threats. So, with a young family, and the violence in Pakistan escalating, Sami and his wife decided to move to Australia. He’s now performed across the country here, appeared on Australian Story, and has just published the thoroughly entertaining memoir I, Migrant.

Sami chatted with Sky Kirkham about building a news network, moving to a small town, and the art of comedy. Originally broadcast 25/09/2014. I, Migrant is out through Allen & Unwin.

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