Yasir Hussain and the career-ending blunder
KARACHI: What might seem very easy to us while attending a stand-up comedy act is rarely as easy to achieve. A comedian’s job is not only to quote and create funny situations but it also entails looking at the most serious scenarios and presenting them in a funny fashion.
Which is why it is common practice to start by making jokes about your own personality, looks or race, before you pick on someone else’s.
However, not everything in the world is there to be laughed about in public , perhaps that’s why American actor and comedian Steve Martin says, “Comedy is the art of making people laugh without making them puke,” and we all have been puking since Friday night – courtesy Yasir Hussain.
Hussain who hosted the Hum Awards reportedly said “Itna khoobsurat child molester; kaash mae bhi bacha hota” as Ahsan Khan bagged the award for Udaari, a drama serial that addresses the vice of child abuse.
Since then, countless people on social media have gone on a rampage against Yasir while a select few have been requesting to give him the room for human error, for what he has already apologised for in a video post the entire episode and backlash.
A music producer from the industry was furious enough to write. “So does a public apology get someone off the hook for using child abuse as humour? Not in my proverbial book, no f***** way” and in all our fairness, I agree with him. This is way above and beyond any film or a morning show appearance; this is misuse of the stage and the microphone.
What Hussain displayed on stage was a total lack of self and social awareness. Every environment and social setting requires different sensibilities when it comes to humour and he bypassed all of them, landing us, as a society, to a point of no return. I’ll give Yasir this much room that the line between what is funny and what may make you puke is never clearly visible.
Gaffes happen irrespective of someone’s educational level, cultural background and social standing but one can always develop a sense for it. A joke you may think works within your close circle of friends may be very offensive to someone else. In a different social setting such as public forums, like the telly or award shows, require an especially keen sense of awareness. What Yasir pulled off is a potentially career-ending gaffe.
If you haven’t developed that sense of virtue, even after spending quite some time in an industry that heavily relies on being in the limelight and giving public statements then you’re clearly a misfit, an anomaly. And especially in an ideal world not ready for any further social experiments. But the question remains, do we live in an ideal society? Or, on second thoughts, leave the society alone, how about an ideal entertainment industry? Not really. In fact, not at all. Like in the case of Mashal Khan, the spectators who did not protest are as much to blame as the murderers.
For all the ‘celebs’ who claim to be making run of the mill serials, films, adverts, in order to meet the requirements of the ‘lowest common denominator’ must realise that when they laughed that night, with them, we as a society had our last laugh. When they kept silent that night and did not resist, Yasir’s one-liner became our killing joke.
If a social crime is tossed like a fart joke in a public gathering and the who’s who of the industry tries to hold on to it like charity then you realise what you’re made of, and no sense of false modesty is going to save you from yourself. Perhaps you are the real lowest common denominator, for at least the ‘masses’ don’t live in any sense of denial about their moral necessities and social bindings. You are the problem; your false sense of moral accuracy is the problem and the fact that you’re still looking for the elephant in the room, is the problem.
What took place on Friday night at the 5th Hum Awards was just the beginning of a downhill journey; Yasir Hussain is one in a long line of showmen and women who have been given the stage without realising what it takes to be a public figure and more so a public speaker. And trust me others will follow, if we let it die out like the dwarf joke last year. Some egos must be burnt and a lot more lamps must be lit for us to comprehend the darkness of this matter.
We need to look in the mirror and for once, shatter our faces instead of the mirror. This is no longer a slip of tongue; this is a slip of sanity and whatever it takes you to be considered a community. Zabt lazim hai magar dukh hai qayamat ka Faraz, zalim ab ke bhi na royega toh mar jayega.