Here’s a little something to get you going
Award-winning comedian Danish Anwar is probably the only Russian-born Indo-Bengali-Canadian standup comic you’ll see this year. His clever blend of politics & nerd culture landed him multiple appearances on national TV & radio, such as CBC comedy specials “Fish Out Of Water” and “Truth Bomb” and the hugely popular CBC Radio show The Debaters, along with comedy festivals such as Just For Laughs Toronto (JFL42) and the Winnipeg Comedy Festival. He was one of the primary subjects in the acclaimed TVO documentary “Stand Up Toronto” which delved into the experiences of comedians of colour in Canada, and has opened for renowned comedians like Gina Yashere, Aparna Nancherla & DeAnne Smith.
A successful producer with a reputation for trendsetting ideas and sold out shows, he’s also the founder of the comedy label Toronto Comedy All Stars and creator of the wildly popular battle show Your Hood’s A Joke.
He has produced comedy shows & fundraisers for organizations such as the Ontario NDP, International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), Native Women’s Resource Centre of Toronto, Cause4Paws Toronto & more.
Awards & Notable Achievements
- Featured on 2 CBC TV standup specials: Truth Bomb & Fish Out Of Water
- Multiple appearances on popular CBC Radio shows such as The Debaters & Laugh Out Loud
- Appeared on Just For Laughs Toronto (JFL42), Winnipeg Comedy Festival
- Opened for Aparna Nancherla, Gina Yashere, DeAnne Smith
- Covered the 2016 US Election on CityTV’s comedy panel
- Creator & Producer – Your Hood’s A Joke
- Founder & Producer – Toronto Comedy All Stars
- Founder & Creative Director – Quota Comedy Festival
- Producer – I Heart Jokes Awards
- ANOKHI Media’s Most Promising Comedian 2015
- In 2013 he was one of 7 Canadians invited to the World Series of Comedy in Las Vegas, an event featuring 101 of North America’s best standup comics.
- Nominated for the Tim Sims Encouragement Award (2012) as one of Canada’s best new comedic prospects by The Second City
- Finalist in JFL42’s Funniest Torontonian search (2012)
- Nominated by his peers for Producer Of The Year in the Toronto comedy scene’s annual I Heart Jokes Awards (2012)
For my upcoming shows follow me on twitter @terrorsuspect
All shows are in Toronto unless stated otherwise
Comedy As A Second Language – 120 Diner – Sat Feb 24 – 9pm
Best Of Underground – Underground Comedy Club – Sat Feb 24 – 11pm
Finding Home: A Fundraiser for Rohingya Refugees – Melody Bar @ The Gladstone Hotel – Sun Mar 11 – 7pm
SHADE – The Rivoli – Thu Mar 15 – 7pm & 9pm
HEADLINERS OF TOMORROW – Comedy Bar – Sat Mar 24 – 10pm
“I love your rape joke, why’d you stop telling it?”
“You pussy out or something?”
Let’s make one thing clear – I had exactly ONE joke utilizing the word “rape”, and the butt of the joke is a fanatical government that treats women as 2nd class citizens. I liked my joke. I’m even kinda proud of it. It’s not the best example of wordplay but 18 times out of 20, it gets applause. One time a comedy club waitress dropped her tray laughing (NBD). Hell, I ranted to all 4 people who read my blog about my RIGHT to make fun of everyone equally.
Then I retired it. Stopped telling it altogether. POOF! It’s gone.
Any comedian will tell you that I’m nuts for doing that. Most will tell you I’m a lowlife piece of shit, but that’s a story for another time. I’m too early into my comedy career to retire something that gets laughs. I was even accused of “pandering to chicks” (lolwut) and of course censorship.
Newsflash: I didn’t retire it because of any complaints (of which there were surprisingly few). I retired it because some people liked it a little too much.
I got sick of the wrong kind of people taking the time to personally tell me JUST HOW MUCH they loved it. The gleam in their eyes, the subtle snarl in their smile, the glee with which they uttered their words. Maybe I’m giving myself too much credit, but as guys we know the difference between real men and abusive fucks, and I was getting way too much attention from the latter. No amount of denial could convince me I was getting fist-bumped by hammered frat guys because of their nuanced views on Iran.
To put it into context, you write 10 jokes till you find one that works. You go on stage in public and tell 9 shitty new jokes to complete silence, question your need to publicly embarrass yourself under the spotlight, till one drunk in the corner giggles at the first draft of your new gem. HALLELUJAH! You polish that gem for weeks, sometimes months, till you get a 15 second line that gets you 3 seconds of laughs. You build an hour-long show seconds at a time. To throw away a joke that gets laughs, well it hurts like a BITCH.
So why should I care? FREE SPEECH, a joke’s a joke, etc etc right? Wrong. I love comedy because you can make someone laugh and think simultaneously, and we are more likely to listen to a message that’s wrapped in humor. I DIDN’T get into this to validate date-rapists, nor to be quoted by thugs dropping Rohypnol into a 17 year old’s drink. I want no part of that.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t. Make all the jokes you want about whatever you want. It IS a comedy club, and some people ARE too sensitive, and yes I WILL laugh at your racist rape joke (if it’s good). Maybe eventually I’ll figure out a way to rewrite this thing so my conscience stays clean. But if I can’t be part of the solution, I sure as shit don’t want to be part of the problem.
I really need to get this off my chest before the man drops dead and I’m accused of pandering to a dead celeb.
Between the ages of roughly 15-17, I was a bonafide homophobe. Coincidentally, this was around the same time I found religion.
My friends & stalkers know that I grew up in the secular winter wonderland known as Russia (1985-1995) raised by parents so far removed from faith that I thought we were Hindu till the age of 9 (the family is muslim-lite). I grew up sans indoctrination, with my only connection to religion being comic books about hindu gods, who were the X-Men before there were X-Men.
All that changed after spending a few years in India and Bangladesh, where my tendency to describe 4-handed gods and illiterate messiahs as “fairy tales” – along with an unhealthy dependence on science and reasoning – was a massive social liability. Day after day, week after week, in mosques, in temples, in schools, at home or in public, the gays and the jews (more on that later) were portrayed as morally corrupt western invaders, ruthless in their single-minded effort to destroy your life and convert you to homosexuality and blood sacrifices to the tune of Boyzone. Homos are bad, unnatural errors of creation, and they must be punished. The system got inside your head early and never went off-message. Slowly but surely, I bought what they were selling. Burn the fags.
Make no mistake, one didn’t need a grand stage to spout such “wisdom”, for these notions were so deeply embedded in society that they were taken as facts that require no emphasis. It simply was, and every so often, you’d hear a reminder from a cleric or your schoolteacher or your girlfriend. Boy did I ever hate the gays.
Then one day, I channel surfed onto a George Michael interview. I was a fan and this was pre-3rd-world-internet, so very few knew that he had already been outed as an Evil Gay Overlord. Plus this was a rerun of a TV special from the 90s and as far as I knew, he was a superstar superstud. A Hetero Hero. You get the idea. I thought he liked pussy.
It was an absolute tear-jerker of an interview. Through heavy pauses, GM spoke of his mother, what her presence at his unplugged show meant to him, and the gut-wrenching pain of losing her to cancer. I learned that he wrote “Jesus To A Child” in memory of a lost love who years ago had succumbed to a brain haemorrhage; a special someone still on his mind every single day. As a hormonal teen in the throes of on-again-off-again puppy love myself, I was glad there wasn’t anyone else around to watch me bawl like a little girl as they played a few verses of that song. This guy GETS ME. Why is love so hard? I got something in my eye DONTLOOKATME. He was going through an unmitigated nightmare in his personal life and the suffering was etched on his face.
Then they displayed a picture of the object of his affection – his deceased lover.
My jaw dropped. It actually, literally, hung suspended in mid-air for a full minute. I did not understand what I was seeing.
As I sat there in stunned silence, it slowly dawned on me. George Michael was no demon. There was nothing inhuman about him at all. His pain was no different than anyone else’s. He was just another guy who lost someone he loved. There was nothing sinister nor devious about it. There was no evil gay agenda, no plan to turn me into a buttlovin’ queer. He just happened to be in love with a man. He was heartbroken, and his mother had recently died. And holy shit, when I thought he was straight, I could actually RELATE. Then what’s so dangerous about him that we must exterminate his kind?
Within a span of 30 minutes, I went from a raging homophobe to a rational human being. Just. Like. That. It made sense now. People are different, and as long as they don’t force their beliefs onto each other, we can live our lives penetrating whatever orifices we fancy. If gays are normal, even talented mother-loving (you know what I mean) humans who can hurt like me, then what else did the system get wrong? Do the Jews really thirst for my blood? Is Jihad necessary? Was vehicular Voltron really the Antichrist?
The game was over. I never quite forgot the disgust I felt towards those who promoted such lies. I understood 3 basic truths – Homophobia is wrong. Religion is a sham. And people really suck at thinking for themselves.
Homophobia is only possible when you systematically strip the humanity from a gay person’s identity, and that’s what “civil” society did and still does in almost every corner of the world. Before my western readers smile a self-congratulatory smile, or eastern readers fire up an angry retort or effigy, remember that this is a problem of SCALE. While homophobia is now unacceptable in the west, it is still alive and well in schools across North America. I can’t recall which comedian tweeted this – and I really want to say Bill Maher – but chew on this paraphrased bit of wisdom – If todays youth are so tolerant, why do they still bully gay kids?
Getting laid is a team sport, and I’d like to thank everyone involved in keeping my sex life active & fulfilling. If it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t get a third of the punani I do.
Dear Creepy/Boring Date Guy(s),
Thanks for getting me laid. You really did me a solid by lowering her expectations to sub-zero levels. Thanks for taking her to Quiznos, splitting the tab and not brushing your teeth. Thanks for canceling at the last minute (again). Who reads books anyway. Ambition, Drive & Passion? I’ll take “3 Things I Don’t Have or Cannot Spell” for $500, Alex.
Truly, words cannot express how much I owe you. You’ve made it so easy to impress women that it’s downright unfair. Gone are the days she expected romance & chivalry. As long as I shower, show up, and don’t whip it out till the appropriate time, I’m practically James Bond. Also, thanks for not knowing what the “appropriate time” is. Not even close.
Dear Insecure Ex-Boyfriend(s),
Thanks for getting me laid. Thanks for the crippling lack of self-worth you’ve induced into a plethora of incredibly talented women. It’s far easier to approach them when their debilitating insecurities distract them from the house they bought by running their own business.
Thank you for telling her she smells (even if it was just once), for comparing her to your whore of an ex (thanks for her too!) and generally making condescending remarks about her dreams. She’s so afraid she’s not good enough that the tiniest compliment sends her into fits of uncontrollable desire. If it wasn’t for you, the rest of us could never get with beautiful, financially-independent women without actually achieving something ourselves.
Dear Patriarchal Media,
You guys are the best. Seriously.
Dear Rape-y Male “Friend(s)”
Thanks for getting me laid. You have proven to her time and again that most men are not interested in what she has to say, even the ones who technically should. Did you know that “Hearing” is an automatic sense in 100% of able-bodied people who are not asleep? Kudos on being an Outlier.
Thanks to you, the most basic recollection of what she just said 5 minutes ago scores me major points with a capital M. By merely repeating and agreeing with her point of view, I’ve already demonstrated more empathy than her closest male “friends”. Did you ever try that, instead of creepily asking her to get drunk with you alone in your basement? Of course not, otherwise you would be me.
Dear Fake BFF(s),
Thanks for getting me laid. I don’t know what your agenda is but I’m especially impressed with the Orwellian nature of your relationship with her. A never-ending, soul-crushing rivalry encompassing every facet of your lives is exactly what defines Best Friends Forever.
She’s not the type to give it up on a first date, until I mention what a great dancer I think you are. AW HELL NO! She might not be a slut, but she’d rather bone me first than let you win. Thanks for making it so easy to press her buttons, by keeping her buttons painfully etched on the surface.
And lastly, thank you Jesus. There is nothing easier than a sexually-represssed 20-something hottie on a Sunday night. Amen brother, Amen.
Special shout out goes to Deadbeat Dads, Shitty Moms, Backstabbing Roommates and everyone else who ensures that our women remain emotionally downtrodden in perpetuity.
Guys Who Win By Default
AKA: Trickle Down Theory And Other Fairy Tales
“When I was your age, I *worked* and *saved* for school, a home and a jacuzzi. You lot are spoiled and lazy. Get a job instead of complaining all day.” – Baby Boomer Logic
Trickle Down Theory – If you reward the most successful members of society (corporations & the rich) via tax breaks and friendly laws, the subsequent benefits will reach all sectors of life. The benevolent Successful Class will reinvest their savings, create more jobs, grow their companies and spend money in your local coffee shop. They’re gonna make it rain y’all!
This experiment started in the 80s and is as flawed today as the initial opposition expected. THIS IS GRADE-A BULLSHIT. Today’s politicians claim that begrudging this unbalanced system is Class Warfare (OH NOES). It’s warfare alright, but Class has nothing to do with it. It’s Generational Warfare.
That’s right, blame old people. I fucking said it. Baby Boomers are currently in charge – from leaders of major corporations to influence-peddlers to most heads of state, they echo their Boomer values: pull yourselves up by your bootstraps and work for your own success. Solid idea. However they forgot one crucial detail: opportunity. They grew up in an economic paradise : the post-war world in the 50’s was a time of cheap higher education, affordable healthcare and a veritable buffet of jobs. University didn’t cost a limb, you didn’t need 3 years slaving at Starbucks to pay off tuition, nor did the title of Head Barista seem like the only career option in a world where teens and seniors competed for the same damn job. Boomers literally tripped over employment options after graduating, and once you worked for The Company, The Company took care of you. A small town nobody could become a Big Shot, and quite often that is exactly how it went. Kudos. Hell, with opportunities knocking on your door like Jehovah’s Witnesses, even a complete moron could become President.
Boomers developed a misguided belief that their success came purely from their hard work, business savvy and innate superiority. Never experiencing the hardships their Nazi-killing parents endured during the Great Depression, they developed a sense of entitlement from their overblown exploits in a Time of Plenty. Nobody did me favors, I pulled myself up by my bootstraps. There’s a good fucking reason they’re called The Clueless Generation. They grew up in Paradise but convinced themselves it was a Trial by Fire.
What did they do with their bounty? In their capacity as CEOs & Presidents & VOTERS, they made it harder for upcoming generations to attain the same heights. They spent their entire lives believing in their personal prowess and grew a selfish streak we are paying for to this day. Imma get what’s mine bitch. They took their misguided self-confidence and built barriers for others. They used their positions of power and influence to reshape the law to benefit ONLY THEMSELVES. Cost of education skyrocketed, so enjoy your crippling debt. Tax laws were remoulded to favor the Top and squeeze the Middle, so we bail them out after they lose OUR money. The MAJORITY of wages stagnated and the needs of corporations superseded the national interest of every country. This self-centered philosophy is why 99% of the planet is suffering through an unrelenting recession. It is now harder than ever to move from one economic class to the next (class mobility), unless you’re heading downwards.
But their argument remains – If they could do it all on their own, so can you. With fewer opportunities. And less education. Oh and fuck health insurance, privacy and basic freedoms (SOPA anyone?)
I cannot wait for this generation to go extinct.
In case you haven’t heard, or live in Bumfuck Nowhere, the Toronto chapter of the Occupy movement begins on Saturday October 15, the aptly named Occupy Toronto, ready to set up camp on Bay Street. There will be ordinary citizens both young and old taking a stand against unchecked corporate power, possible G20 flavoured police activity, and a few hipster douchebag drumcirclers doing their thing no matter what the occasion.
But most of all, there will be tools like Kevin O’Leary, distorting and oversimplifying the motives of the movement, displaying either a complete ignorance of facts or full knowledge of facts which are in his interest to suppress. Either way, you’ll hear the same baseless assertions – that it’s just a bunch of lazy mooks blaming the successful class for their woes, or suburban hippies with no coherent agenda, left wing ‘nutbars’ inciting class warfare, etc. Here’s the video, because this is a multimedia blog mofo.
Kevin O’Leary is accustomed to talking down to employees, or intellectuals who prefer the high road, so he resorts to name calling instead of addressing facts.
Fortunately I’m none of the above, and as a standup comic I can match his maturity level and then some.
This walking pile of man-shaped waste named Kevin O’Leary holds a position that is essentially based on supply side economics, often called Trickle Down Theory. The idea is simple – give tax breaks and perks to the most successful, aka the rich and corporations, because these are entrepreneurs and innovators who will use the extra money to reinvest in their businesses to create more jobs, more revenue, more consumption and consequently more money that will flow into the economy and trickle down to everyone. They’re gonna make it rain.
Except that’s not exactly what happened in the real non-theoretical world. Trickle Down economics has been the backbone of economic policy in the US and UK since the conservative revolution of the 80s, and in the past 30 years it created the massive income inequality and corporate abuse that eventually lead to this global recession. The rich have gotten richer, middle class incomes stagnated, and the poor got a whole lot poorer. There’s a reason it’s not called The Giant Wad Of Cash In Everyone’s Pocket Theory. And unlike Fact-Free O’Leary, here’s some data to back up my words bitch.
Baby Boomers like Kevin O’Leary lecture the world about pulling yourself up by your bootstraps, because that’s how they made their millions. They forget or don’t even realize that they grew up in a postwar booming economy, when jobs were plentiful, higher education was affordable and Reality TV didn’t exist. They ‘battled’ their way through paradise and emerged with a sense of entitlement that extends their greed into everyone’s lives. They used their financial clout to infect the political system, bend it to their will, and created an economic climate where the barriers to attaining the same riches become increasingly insurmountable. The proof is in your $400 pudding – when the top 1% control the bottom 99%, something isn’t right.
Corporations innovate and do great things, but that doesn’t mean they are above the law. That’s the core demand of this movement, and there’s nothing nutty about it.