Comedy Central’s MidEast Minute released online
When Comedy Central launched its Middle East channel last January, we were promised new local comedy to sit alongside the best of the channel’s international content.
So far, the only fruit of that ambition is the recently launched Comedy Central Presents stand up show, which features the best local comedians every Sunday night. Another new show that may be of interest to local audiences, although produced in the US, is Pardis Parker’s MidEast Minute – the first satirical comedy show to be distributed on Comedy Central’s digital platform.
The show, a fake US news bulletin presented by Parker’s fictional Jamsheed Al-Jamsheedi, takes a satirical look at American attitudes to the region, and Parker is keen to assure local audiences that, although its attitude may be somewhat irreverent, the target of his comedy is very much the US government rather than the region itself.
“I have comedian friends who’ve performed in Dubai, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and India, and each one of them tells me that the audiences there have the same tastes as the audiences here. So I imagine the show would work over there just as well as it works here,” he says.
Parker is also understandably a fan of social media - the show first aired on YouTube in 2007, and has now been revived by Comedy Central. “The great thing about Mideast Minute being released online is that it makes it easy for people to find and watch in other countries. And I imagine it would have similar advantages for comedians in the Middle East.
“You can create videos, throw them on YouTube, and trust that if what you created is good, it’ll find an audience. That’s the best thing about it. It’s a democratiser. It puts everyone’s content on equal footing, so the only thing that matters is the content itself. Create something, share it, and if it strikes a chord, opportunities will come calling.
MidEast Minute is currently only available on Comedy Central’s digital platform, though Parker admits he would like to turn the online shorts into a full blown TV show.
In the meantime, he has plenty of other comedy activity to keep him busy: “I just shot an episode of CBS’s Life in Pieces, as well as an episode of Comedy Central’s @midnight, where we talked about the White House’s second Muslim travel ban among other subjects,” he says. “Aside from that I’m working on my first feature film, something I’m writing and directing, the details of which I can hopefully announce the next time we talk.”
Watch MidEast Minute, alongside other Comedy Central content, on Comedy Central’s YouTube channel. For details go to www.cc.com/shows/mideast-minute