Mawaan’s Edinburgh comedy hits London

ABSURD HUMOUR: Mawaan Rizwan (Pic by: Rebecca Need-Menear)

by LAUREN CODLING

AN ‘absurd’ comedy show, complete with dance numbers and anecdotes about what happens when you accidentally make your mum famous, is coming to London next month.

Mawaan Rizwan is a comedian and famous YouTuber. Fresh from his Edinburgh Fringe stand-up run over the summer, he announced he will be bringing his show Juice to London.

According to the 27-year-old, Juice is an “absurd, physical and [silly]” experience that he described as “more of a party than I initially expected”.

Audiences can expect various rap numbers, Missy Elliot references, outfit changes and, perhaps most importantly, a sock-themed strip tease.

“During the Edinburgh Fringe, I was performing at 5:30 in the afternoon, so it felt like I was performing in a very weird club,” he said.

Some of the content also centralises on his relationship with his arguably unconventional family.

The British-Pakistani comedian’s mother, Shahnaz Rizwan, used to be a regular fixture on his YouTube channel.

Within a short time, his mother’s popularity soared, and she has since found fame as a Bollywood soap star.

When Rizwan tells the story of his mother’s new-found fame, sparked by the reaction from his 87,000+ subscribers on the popular video-sharing platform, he described the typical response as “bonkers”.

“My mum always outshines me,” he joked. “I love telling the story about my mum. It really contributes to the narrative of what people expect of a woman of that ethnicity and age.

“I think the way that Asian mums are portrayed, it is so one-dimensional, and my mum breaks all those clichés and subverts people’s expectations just by being who she is.”

The star has described his comedy as “energetic” and “silly”

Rizwan’s brother is also a newcomer to the entertainment industry. Nabhaan Rizwan, 21, recently starred in the BBC thriller Informer.

“Yeah, [my younger brother] also happens to be very talented,” he said. “The Rizwan’s get everywhere.”

Comedy is not Rizwan’s only venture in the entertainment industry. He has dabbled in radio, screenwriting and has had parts in several TV shows, including the Bafta-winning BBC drama Murdered by My Father.

“[The extra projects] keep me off the streets,” he laughed.

He revealed his comedy was the focus of his career, however. Making an audience laugh is a “magical” feeling, he said, that is unlike anything else.

“I just love expressing myself in front of a live audience,” the funny man said. “It’s such a unique experience.”

Despite his eight years on the stage, he admitted it took him a while to become fully comfortable whilst performing and learn how to be funny and yet stay true to his personality.

“It is exciting when you realise you don’t have to compromise to be funny,” he said.

Whilst growing up in Essex, Rizwan credited his brother for having such an impact on his humour.

Rizwan’s parents struggled with a series of financial and immigration issues, which meant the family did not have time for holidays or fun activities.

Hence, humour became a “survival mechanism” for the brothers.

“We would take the mick out of everything,” the comic recalled. “We would just do stupid things: putting jumpers on our heads and creating weird characters. When things got too
serious, my brother would be the pressure release.”

Looking to the future, Rizwan has plenty of drive to keep pursuing a career in the entertainment field. He would like to rap as well as his brother, star in some more television and continue with the comedy.

But his most-pressing ambition?

“I want to star in a music video, turn around in slow motion and grow my hair out so it can be blown back by a wind machine,” he joked. “That’s the dream.”

Mawaan Rizwan’s Juice runs at Battersea Arts Centre, December 3-8

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