05 October 2008

Can Comedy Overcome Prejudice and Fanaticism?

The idea of using comedy to make light-hearted entertainment of sensitive issues is not new. Perhaps some would argue that has always been the point of comedy to make fun of the big issues that divide us. Nevertheless, we will soon find out whether a sense of humor and a situational comedy can overcome the prejudices and fanaticism that pervade our communities.

Omar Marzouk, a Danish comedian and a Muslim has put together a sitcom called "The Terror Cell" with a disparate group of characters being the Cell. Marzouk was born and raised in Copenhagen.

The Cell includes Osama, a businessman who finds that terror sells all manner of things such as t-shirts, caps, and pens. This reminds me of a t-shirt that I still see every now and then in Bali and further afield that came out soon after the first Bali Bombings of 12 October 2008, "Fuck Terrorists". No apologies for the language as it expresses a sentiment that many continue to feel and to use "f*&k" to me seems to undermine the intensity of feeling and that sentiment.

The second of the cell is Abdul, a convert whose main goal is to kill as many people as he can with the biggest bombs he can make.

Finally, there is Ali, a Pakistani who entered a competition where the winner was awarded the chance of wreaking revenge on the masses for the publication of the cartoons of Muhammad in Denmark.

Just the thought of such a show making it onto Danish TV is intriguing. Even more so considering the violence that occurred in the aftermath of the Muhammad cartoons being published in Denmark and the violence that was related to Geert Wilders and his film, Fitna.

In a Kenny of South Park fame kind of a way the principle characters die and then reappear in the next episode. Every episode ends with the terrorists blowing themselves and their apartment up. They make the journey to heaven and then Allah sends them back to the real world so that they can learn from their mistakes and do it better the next time around.

The Terror Cell, according to Marzouk, has some similarities with "The Young Ones". Marzouk liked The Young Ones because it was crazy in that they were always blowing each other up. It would seem that Marzouk and I enjoy something similar in our choice of comedy. I really enjoyed The Young Ones when I was younger, I would probably still enjoy it now [mental note to myself -- search the Internet for some Young Ones episodes -- if anyone has links please share], so I am looking forward to getting to watch The Terror Cell.

Marzouk recognizes that the subject matter of his sitcom is probably not going to be essentially viewing for some and in anticipation of the obligatory death threats has placed a poll on his website which allows people to choose one of eight different methods of having him killed. To date beheading is head and shoulders above the others (pun intended).

11 comments:

the writer said...

All kinds of shows are displayed here in Danish TV, Rob. No need to be surprised.

There was this stupid (supposed to be ) a comedy show where two guys making fun of each other and other people and there was an episode where they offered vodka to kids playing soccer in the neighbourhood. I suppose the Danes find that funny, well I don't.

I would never get Danish jokes, Danish humor whatever that is, only Danes can laugh on such show :(

Rob Baiton said...

Not so much surprised at what makes it on TV but more surprised that someone is going to tackle this particular subject matter and by all accounts use the cartoons of Muhammad in the show.

What is funny differs from person to person. I do not find offering kids on a playground shots of vodka all that funny. But, then again I am sure that there are some that would.

I once watched an Ali G episode where he was on a beach somewhere in England and there were a binch of high school girls turn up with their teachers. The exchange included some sexual innuendo. It was funny in that "you gotta be kidding me" kind of a way, where you find yourself asking yourself did he really just say that.

On Omar Marzouk, when the show finally does make it to TV, I also hope they release the episodes on the net so those of us not fortunate enough to be in Denmark can also watch.

therry said...

Sounds interesting, I wanna watch it too :)

In the show, you said those guys always die and go to heaven; does that mean they will get their 72 virgins too?

Just kidding :P

Rob Baiton said...

Therry...

I am guessing much to their disappointment, no. By the sounds of it, Allah voices his displeasure by refusing them entry to heaven and sending them back to earth to do the whole thing over again in an attempt to do it right.

GJ said...

I still remember Rick's girlfriends name

Helen Back.

Let me know if you find any!!!

Rob Baiton said...

GJ...

You must be a busy man? Have not seen you round in a while :D

If I find any I will let you know. I have stumbled across a few You Tube clips but no episodes as yet.

therry said...

@GJ:

At least it's not Helen Zass, eh? :P

Rob Baiton said...

Therry...

Now that is funny! I do not know any Helen's though.

therry said...

Its from Charlie's Angels ... :P

Rob Baiton said...

Therry...

There you go. I have watched Charlie's Angels but still do not recall it. I will watch out for it next time though.

posicionamiento paginas web said...

This can't truly have success, I suppose so.