‘In Unity We Stand’ brings together the South Asian community in the spirit of comedy

Erica Haas/HIGHLANDER
Danish Maqbool is a stand-up comedian from New Jersey.

The South Asian Federation (SAF) in collaboration with Asian Pacific Student Programs hosted their first comedy show, “In Unity we Stand featuring Akaash Singh and Danish Maqbool” on Tuesday, Nov. 27. Around 160 students, families, and community members gathered at HUB 302N to relax and enjoy Maqbool and Singh’s comedy. Maqbool is a Pakistan-American stand-up comedian from New Jersey. Singh is an Indian-American stand-up comedian known for his roles in Netflix’s “Brown Nation,” and MTV’s “Wild N’ Out,” “Joking Off” and “Guy Code.”

The show started at 8:15 p.m. with the president of SAF, fourth-year bioengineering major Ashley Thomas, commenting on the importance of bringing Singh and Maqbool. Historically, Pakistan and India have had political and socioeconomic tension, yet Singh and Maqbool show that unity is possible. “(Singh and Maqbool) were able to step out of their countries and do a show together is a very powerful message to state,” stated Thomas. “That is why we wanted to bring these comedians here, to show the South Asian student population at UCR that that is something that’s possible.”

Danish Maqbool came on stage to start his comedy routine. Maqbool’s relaxed personality complimented his dry yet bold humor as he commented on Trump, prejudice within communities of color and his experience facing discrimination as a Pakistani-American. “It’s hard looking like me in this country, but we still have to make it work,” Maqbool said. Maqbool’s routine included making fun of the tension in the room from the issues he joked about.

Maqbool then introduced Singh and left the stage. Singh’s comedy routine was energetic and unapologetic as his jokes poked fun at relationships, dating and how people are too sensitive in this day and age. “I’m not afraid to joke about controversial things because if you can’t laugh about painful things, there’s no other way to cope,” Singh commented.

Afterwards, Maqbool joined Singh on stage, and they both answered questions from the audience. Both playfully teased the audience on their attire and majors throughout the Q&A section. Though the two of them did not directly comment on tensions between India and Pakistan, they shared their experience in the comedy realm.

“They’re two people with two different backgrounds, but ultimately they’re part of a society,” said Vishal Kumar Gupta, SAF’s Creative Director and fourth-year biology major. “They show us that we all face similar circumstances, and we’re not as different as we think.”

Many students in the audience expressed similar sentiments. “As someone who is Bengali (Bangladeshi), it was a funny show and it was cool to see an Indian and Pakistani collaborating because it’s not very common,” stated Alvee Ahmed, a second-year neuroscience major. “South Asian countries should have unification because we’re all minorities and have many things in common, so I hope to see more collaborations similar to theirs.”

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