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Stand-up star Salman Malik on using comedy to build bridges


CULTURE CLASH: Salman Malik
CULTURE CLASH: Salman Malik

TALENTED stand-up comedian Salman Malik has gone beyond solo sets and began organising inventive shows that bring together diverse talent.

He will follow up his India versus Pakistan comedy clash shows with new offering Arabs vs Asians, which commences a UK tour at Mac Theatre in Birmingham on February 13.

The laughter filled tour will see British stand-up comedians of Arab and South Asian origin take to the stage for an evening of fun.

Eastern Eye caught up with funny man Salman Malik to talk about comedy and the new tour.

What first made you want to do stand-up comedy?
I started making YouTube videos in 2006 and was one of the first Asians to do this. Having grown up being quite shy, it helped me come out of my comfort zone and build confidence.

I was inspired by many stand-up comedians such as Russell Peters, but it was not until I watched Michael McIntyre skip around on stage at Wembley Arena that I decided to give stand-up a shot myself. His energy and enthusiasm spoke to me.

How do you feel being on stage?
It’s a rollercoaster of ups and downs. You never know how your audience will react until you deliver the punch lines. It can be nerve racking and give you an adrenalin rush at the same time.

Tell us about your new tour and what can audiences expect?
The Arabs vs Asians stand-up comedy show is my latest concept. It features award-winning and hilarious British Asian and Arab comedians from all over the UK. It aims to unite Asian and Arab communities under one roof. The two cultures have so many similarities that the comedians play on. The crowd can expect a high-energy show with live brilliant comedy. We get the crowd involved so there is a real sense of togetherness.

You did an India vs Pakistan comedy clash. How was the response?
We did it in March 2019. At that time, India-Pakistan tensions were high, and they were literally on the brink of a war. What amazed me is that people from both communities came in huge numbers, and we gave a message of peace and love. Art has no boundaries.

How does it feel being part of a line-up featuring great stand-up comedy talent and is there any friendly rivalry?
I am blessed to have an amazing line-up of comedians for our upcoming tour. All are brilliant within their own styles. The comedians play on the similarities and differences between each of our cultures.

How much of your comedy is based on real life?
A lot comes from my experiences, my love for Bollywood and my journey from a village in Pakistan to the first world in Hounslow (London).

Who is the funniest person you know in real life?
That’s a hard one. I find so many people funny.

Has being funny helped you in your own life?
Being funny makes you a likeable character, and it has helped me get free food. It has also got me in trouble many times as sarcasm is not everyone’s cup of tea.

Are there any funny things that have happened to you that you wouldn’t share in a stand-up set?
Nothing is off limits. A lot of the time you can depend on the crowd and the amount of room there is to push boundaries.

What don’t you find funny?
Internet trolls.

Why do you love comedy?
You can be yourself and create your own individual style.

Why should we come to your latest tour?
It’s an exciting concept, where you can watch five comedians. Every comedian comes from a different background and has something unique to offer. We had an amazing feedback after the last show.

Visit www.PlanYourEntertainment.com, www.salmanmalikofficial.com