All posts filed under: Comedy

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Tragic Comedy and Uyghur Women

The sketch comedy that I outlined in earlier writing ends with a return to proper gender norms: a husband taking responsibility for his wife and children. But before this can take place, Abdukerim’s character is confronted with the wide range of his sins and their social effects. Around the 12-minute mark his partner reminds him that before he “had a big wife, a middle wife, a little wife, old wife, young wife. You had so many wives at a time, that… when you met new girls you forgot about the other ones. And you even had a role in sending them to the streets. You didn’t pay attention to the grieving of your wife and children” (12:24). He continues, “Because of people like you, now people have the perception that all jade-sellers are bad (yaman or ‘immoral behavior’). Don’t do that, brother. Let us live with our faces and chests up (with dignity and honor). We need to have face again.” 1. Structural Violence and Uyghur Women Abdukerim is drawing the attention of his audience to the …

Uyghur Comedy, Abdukerim Abliz and Cultural Citizenship

It is difficult to understate the importance of the comedy of Abdukerim Abliz, the most famous of contemporary Uyghur comedians, in Uyghur popular culture. Abdukerim is a tall distinguished-looking man from Kashgar famous for his carefully groomed mustache. Like other suave comedians (Stephen Colbert springs to mind) Abdukerim not only embodies a masculine ideal, he parodies it. Yet for all his quick-witted use of language, metaphor and jaw-line, Abdukerim has something serious to say about Uyghur society. By making them laugh he is trying to mirror how his Uyghur audiences act, talk, and think about common sense issues in Uyghur society. The history of Uyghur comedy In an essay titled “A Brief History of Itot” the Uyghur writer Hoshur Qariy traces the genealogy of a Uyghur form of sketch-comedy or itot from its French origins in the 1860s to its arrival on the Russian scene in the 1920s, its derivation in Soviet Uzbekistan and eventually its arrival in Northwest China. According to Qariy the Uyghur word “itot” is derived from the Russian translation of the …