You’d think we as a nation could desperately use some comic relief, like at all times but clearly, we can only dish it out.
When Natalia Gul Jilani, a dentist by day and stand-up comedian by night, poked fun at Sindhis (being one herself) it ignited some serious outrage — online and offline. This is why we can’t have nice things, people.
What followed after were death threats and hate speech, which she says was a first for her in the two years she’s been doing stand-up: “As a Sindhi, I’ve drawn on my experiences for skits often and I’ve never faced such backlash with any real audience. Even in the video, you can see people in the crowd were enjoying it,” shared Natalia.
Her comedy skit titled ‘Sindhi Encyclopedia’ seemed to have rubbed a lot of people the wrong way; I take it some of them did not enjoy being stereotyped and called “hairy and horny”. Even Sanam Marvi, a Sindhi folk singer called her out on it:
It got to the point that she had to deactivate her Facebook, make her instagram private at least until things calmed down. It begs the question: where do you draw the line between humour that is acceptable and offensive comedy? What topics are, or should be off the table?
“I could’ve never imagined this sort of a reaction. I drew on my own life experiences, being a metric student, the fact that we love daal chawal, my landlord brother does own a chai dhabba, I mean some clichés are clichés for a reason” she added.
The thin line between ethnic stereotyping and self-deprecation
When I say people were mad, I mean MAD. The swearing aside, many Sindhis who disapproved of Natalia’s content thought she was “misleading” people, accused her of “discrimination” and for “typecasting”.