"Well, no, I’m sad, and I want to make you sad, too.”
February 20, 2020 10:28 AM Subscribe
The Bleak Humor of Tehran’s One and Only Standup Comic (New York Review of Books): "His monologue grew only more morbid from there, delving into what he described as his loveless, meaningless existence and his hatred for the macho behavior he saw in the world all around him. Yet there was something wonderfully endearing about his exaggerated melancholy, which often veered into unrepeatably obscene riffs. It was all so clearly at his own expense, and delivered so brazenly, that it had the crowd laughing along with him. “You’re thinking I’m a typical comedian who is sad on the inside and wants to make you happy,” he said. “Well, no, I’m sad, and I want to make you sad, too.” And everyone laughed. ¶ I realized that I had been expecting certain clichés to be fulfilled: that this would be another example of the Middle Eastern comic using satire to fight back against political repression—an evergreen topic for a Western correspondent. Instead, this was an awkward, abrasive, deliberately transgressive set, at times closer to performance art than comedy…"
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