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The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


Comedy Raises Money for Pakistan Flood Victims

Photo Credit: Stony Brook University

Laughter brings out the best in people, even in the worst of times.

This was proven at the event No Laughing Matter. Students, family members and faculty gathered for both a great cause and an evening of comedy. The goal of the night was to not only raise money for Pakistani flood victims, but also to raise awareness of the tragedy in a lighthearted way. The Wang Center sponsored the program. Admission was $15 per ticket, if bought in advance, and $20 at the door.

All proceeds from the night went to UNICEF for flood aide.

Sumreen Dar, a graduate liberal studies student, came up with the  idea.

“I started planning since the first day of school,” Dar said. “After the flood, there was not enough coverage. I have Pakistani roots and I just felt like something should be done.”

However, Sumreen was not alone in putting the event together. Many of her friends helped spread the word and fully supported her.

Sunita S. Mukhi, Ph.D., director of Asian-American programs and professor of Asian-American studies, was also more than happy to help with the event. Before the show, she sat outside the theater and sold remaining tickets, and when the program began, she started off by welcoming the audience.

Both women considered the night to be a great success.

“People not only bought tickets, but donated,” said Mukhi. “Students were willing to pay.”

Overall, around five thousand dollars was raised. Sumreen was all smiles by the end of the night, saying, “It did what I hoped for. People found out about the devastation along with having a good time.”

The evening started off with a slideshow  portraying the damage from the flood. It was a reminder to all as to why they were there that night. Finally, when it seemed that all audience members were seated, the lights dimmed and  Mukhi took the stage. She briefly introduced the program and made sure to thank the audience before calling out Imrana Zaman.

Zaman, a Pakistani comedian, was the emcee of the night. She warmed the crowd up with jokes pertaining to the Muslim values she was raised on. The audience wasn’t too lively at first, but by the time she introduced the next comedian, Vidur Kapur, the crowd was riled and ready to go.

Kapur raised the crowd’s energy the moment he stepped on stage in his heavily bedazzled shoes. There were plenty of interactive jokes with the crowd, and he wasn’t afraid to drop the “f-bomb” every now and then. He admits, however, that most of his material seemed to come from life experience.

Next out on stage was Dan Nainan. His jokes centered around his Japanese and Indian heritage, but he also managed to entertain the audience with a slideshow of bizarre and poorly worded public signs.

Lastly featured on stage was Saad Haroon, the headliner for the event. He came out with great energy and constantly heckled people in the audience. Even though most of his jokes played on the terrorist stereotype of Pakistanis, the crowd still laughed and applauded.

“I understood the perspective on the jokes but I knew it was for the comedy,” said Shahreen Khandaker, an undeclared Bengali freshman. “I thought I was going to die laughing and did not take any of the jokes to heart. Truth is, he was right about the corruption and issues.”

Mike Charles, a junior health science major admitted that even though he wasn’t Pakistani or Indian, he still found himself laughing at most all of the jokes.

“I really enjoyed it, especially Vidur and Saad,” Charles said.

Overall, the night seemed to be a big hit. The tickets sold out, and everyone left the theater with a smile on their face. Even the comedians enjoyed themselves, knowing that they could lend a hand.

“I felt good about being a part of this because it had a political angle to it and was for a great cause,” Vidur admitted after the show.

Saad had similar views, saying, “It was great to help, considering I’m directly from Pakistan. It’s about human beings, not countries. All the help counts since all you hear is ‘terrorist,’ and not ‘ally.’ Any positive publicity matters.”

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