British Asia News Network
Interview with Pakistani Comedian and Actor, Danish Ali
Dr Danish Ali is Pakistan's most prolific and successful viral comedian on YouTube with well over 225,000 subscribers and 200 million views! 'Dr' because he actually is one, but rather than pursue a career in medicine, he struck it big with standup and comedy TV shows such as 'The Real News' as well as successful live shows across America and in Dubai.
The videos, carefully constructed skits, packed with high energy madcap scenarios, which he writes, directs and produces himself, have brought him huge numbers of international fans and followers. In our hilarious interview, he reveals his past influences, his future direction and why banks ask him to sign four times.
How old are you, and during what proportion of that have you actually been funny?
Hahaha, 36 yrs old and being funny is a lot of hard work with long hours put in to script writing, editing, filming and honing your craft as a standup comic, so I'd like to hope I was funny since the start!
How upset were your parents when you so nearly became a Doctor but then at the last minute poured tel over their dreams and took up a fazool career path such as comedy instead?
They were pretty supportive as long as I was paying the bills and knew what I was doing with my life. Turns out it all worked out!
Have you found that laughter is actually a more effective medicine anyway and how bad is your doctor's hand writing exactly?
I read somewhere that it's easy give someone happiness but very difficult to take someone's sadness away. In that regard I think a doctors role is far more difficult than mine.
Oh and my hand writing is horrible and banks always ask me to sign 4 times!
You're the first Pakistani Comedian to be invited on a US Department of State sponsored comedy tour!
Performing in the US was amazing, it was very well managed and the audiences were really great and diverse. I'd love to go back to perform there againsomeday soon.
You're famous for hosting Pakistan's first English language comedy TV show, 'The Real News', was this because your Urdu in reality is actually not great?
HahahaI'd like to think my Urdu is decent considering I cater to the masses and all my content is in Urdu. 'The Real News' was alot of fun and my foundation years as a comic, I learned a lot from it.
Classic 70s comedy show Fifty-Fifty is the Monty Python of Pakistan and was way ahead of its time - discuss!
Yes it is. Anwar Maqsood, MoinAkhtar, Bushra Ansari are legends. I've seen them live and I've also seen The Colbert Report and Robin Williams live. I couldn't tell the difference in quality, they truly are international standard and should be the yard stick with which we judge all of our future comics.
Who were the comedians and comics that inspired you? Who would be your parallel Western Universe equivalent?
In Pakistan the above three - Maqsood, Akhtar and Bushra Ansari. Internationally it was Robin Williams, Eddie Murphy, Richard Prior, and Mitch Hedberg. I wouldn't want an equivalent in the West as I try so hard to be unique! I like to stand out and be recognised for my unique voice!
How did you get over 200,000 subscribers on YouTube and... wait.. what... HOW MANY VIEWS?!
I've racked up a little over 200 Million views online so far. Its chump change in my industry though, I have miles to go before I sleep.
Being prolific on YouTube is essential - but keeping it fresh is crucial, where is your hidden khazana of new ideas located?
Oh god if you find it let me know! I am continuously fatigued by the need to keep churning out original, thought-provoking content. It is a tireless profession and a marathon race for life, but then again I like competition.
You're a master of joking-only brand placement. How do you convince clients to go along with your ideas?
I've never picked up my phone and called a brand. To this day I do not have a manager or an agency representing me. I enjoy churning out content that is good enough for the brand manager to call me instead. It's a case of hard work paying off I guess.
On the other hand, its sooooo much working making these videos... I should have stayed a doctor!
In your Vlogs you're obviously not imitating Influencers. Precisely which Influencers are you not taking the mickey out of exactly?
Hahaha, all of them!Although I am also a fan of all of them.
You not only appear in your videos, but you write them, direct them, shoot them, coordinate them, get the food, do a dance, take kickboxing, organise bathroom breaks, are brutal to call centres and are just all-round sickeningly brilliant and multi-talented. What's your favourite part of the process?
When it's finished and I can go camping!
Watching your most recent YouTube video 'Lost in Pakistan' it was uncharacteristically introspective and not very funny at all. Are you past it already?
As I grow I think I will also start churning out content that is serious in nature, but the funny stuff will always take centre stage.
Karachi or Dubai?
Family or Fans?
Honda or Toyota?
Money or Respect?
I'll take both please.
Arnold Schwarzenegger or Sylvester Stallone?
Richard Pryor or Robin Williams?
During all the times you're perched on a solitary picture-perfectly positioned rock on the edge of a lagoon nowhere posing contemplatively in slo-mo, have you figured out what's next for Danish Ali? Movies?International stardom?President? (Well if the Ukrainian comedian can do it!)
Hahaha no politics for me. I'm interested in venturing into dramas and movies in Pakistan. also want to start an international channel. Let's see how it all goes!