The reach of standup comedians has become larger since the world of social media, which has opened up avenues for them on YouTube, Instagram and TikTok. Standup comedians no longer rely on simply one income coming from in-house audiences and can create fanbases around the world – without getting a streaming special. However, the struggle for one to get there is a big one and that struggle is made even more difficult in a society like Pakistan, the icing on the cake being if that standup comedian is also a woman. This is the story “Standup Girl” will attempt to tell and it’s one that looks fresh on the onset. Starring Sohail Ahmed, Zara Noor Abbas, Daniyal Zafar, Adnan Shah Tipu, Saba Faisal, Saqib Sameer, Tamkinat, Saad Azhar and others, the story has been written by Awais Ahmed and Adeel Afzal while the show has been directed by the brilliant Kashif Nisar.
In the first episode, we are introduced to Zara (Zara Noor Abbas), a young, spirited girl who loves being onstage with a microphone – no, not singing, rather roasting others in normal comedian fashion. However, living in Pakistan, she’s often the cause of embarrassment, put down for her interest and even uninvited from weddings for causing offense. With an ill mother, Naila (Asma Abbas), who has raised her all on her own, Zara has been raised to follow her dreams. Furthermore, Zara has not developed a filter due to the comics she has aspired to be like, along with being raised away from a family environment, never having to worry about what others think. Unfortunately, when Zara’s mother passes away, she is now confronted with a family she never knew she had. There’s also an angle with Kabir (Daniyal Zafar), a struggling musician trying to make it after his ex-bandmate stole his songs.
This story and the treatment of the story is refreshingly different, particularly once Zara winds up in her mother’s old home with all these unknown relatives. Zara Noor Abbas is doing a great job, though her expressions in episode two do tend to be on the over-the-top side while reacting to her new family. Still, the character-building is excellent and all the actors, particularly Sohail Ahmed, are doing a great job. This is the perfect blend between traditional and modern, promising cultural and ego clashes mixed with family drama and past turmoil. This is a recipe for something special if it’s handled well.