Comedy / Stand-up

Interview: Sadia Azmat

By steve wright, Thursday Nov 7, 2019

On Sunday November 24, Bristol stand-up programmers Chuckle Busters welcome rising comic and podcaster Sadia Azmat to the Wardrobe Theatre.

Co-host, with Monty Onanuga, of the BBC podcast No Country for Young Women (“life, love and work in a white man’s world”), Sadia is one of the most unique voices in young British comedy. We fired her a few questions.

Tell us about the podcast, No Country for Young Women. What have you and Monty set out to do with it, who do you hope it speaks to / for?
No Country For Young Women is a podcast for anyone who is trying to figure out where to call home. Monty and I are British (I was born here, and Monty grew up here) but, due to appearances, we don’t always feel British. In the current series (series 3), we are trying to figure out what ‘home’ means. We are really fortunate that the podcast attracts such a diverse audience – 50% of our listeners are from outside the UK.

Sadia with Monty Onanuga, her co-host on the podcast ‘No Country for Young Women’

We do hope it speaks to people like us who sometimes have to adapt to our different environment(s): but, saying that, we really welcome anyone who wants to come along on the journey and enjoy good comedy and brilliant guests. We were recently selected in Apple Podcasts Great Guests playlist as, this series, we’ve featured none other than Rose McGowan, Phil Wang, Phoebe Robinson and Ainsley Harriott!

How have you found it forging a career in comedy – traditionally a fairly white male landscape? Have you been welcomed into the stand-up world?
My stand-up influences are largely American acts like Chris Rock, Katt Williams and Louis C.K. I didn’t see it as a field dominated by anyone, as humour is universal and limitless. White male stand-ups have been awesome and I have to give them a shout out for being the people who have given me spots and car shares to gigs. They have definitely been welcoming and supportive, without a doubt.

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Is your comedy fairly universal, would you say, or specific to your own perspective as a Muslim woman?
It depends, really. I think good comedy is both personal and relatable. It’s probably best to blend both the familiar anecdotes with some unexpected elements.

Tell us about your previous show I Am Not Malala. What did you talk about in that show?
That was a show that I wrote when I was frustrated about all the hysteria around Malala Yousafzai. It was about how ethnic minorities tend to be grouped together, rather than being seen as individuals. Billy Joel said that hearing about Malala cured his depression. Similarly to how people were congratulating black people on Obama’s presidency, I tried to explain how we are all individuals, and a win for one does not automatically equal a win for all.

And what are you talking about in your current show?
It’s a fun show where I am getting personal about my love life – or lack thereof. Stuff about polygamy, ISIS and some chat about the podcast. Come along, it’ll be fun!

Sadia Azmat is at the Wardrobe Theatre on November 24. For more info, visit chucklebusters.com/events/sadia-azmat-guests

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