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The Hilarious Rise of Shafi Hossain: A Bangladeshi Stand-Up Comedian in New York

Shafi Hossain, a stand-up comedian from Bangladesh, has been making waves in the New York comedy scene with his unique humor. Shafi moved to New York City to study Chemical Engineering before he went on to pursue his dreams of becoming a comedian. With his sharp wit, relatable jokes, and infectious energy, he quickly gained a following and has performed at numerous comedy clubs across the city. Shafi’s comedy is known for its blend of cultural observations and personal anecdotes, providing audiences with a fresh perspective on life as an immigrant in America. Despite facing challenges along the way, Shafi’s passion for comedy has never wavered, and he continues to bring laughter to audiences with his hilarious and insightful performances. During a session with TINDS, Shafi shared his story of coming this far and his plans for the future.

TINDS: Where were you born?

SHAFI: I was born and raised in Dhaka. I later moved to the United States when I was 18 for college. I remember someone asking me, when I was probably 4, what I wanted to do when I grew up. I answered that I wanted to study in the US. It’s always been a goal of mine.

TINDS: What was your childhood like?

SHAFI: I grew up in Mirpur for a few years and moved to Gulshan, closer to my school. My childhood was basic, like any other random Bangladeshi kid of that age, with a lot of emphasis on education around a loving and supportive family. I played a lot of cricket growing up, and I also played Basketball during high school cause I used to be tall. I remember having the best time watching Pokemon and Beyblade as a kid. I was like a child Fifa prodigy before I moved to the US, and I also won several competitions.

TINDS: What did you study?

SHAFI: I studied chemical engineering and minored in biochemistry and business because I have always been interested in both fields.

TINDS: 3 words that describe you the best.

SHAFI: Persistent, Open & Kind.

Shafi Hossain: A Bangladeshi Stand-Up Comedian in New York
Shafi Hossain: A Bangladeshi Stand-Up Comedian in New York

TINDS: What would you say is your worst quality?

SHAFI: People have mentioned me to be a workaholic, which makes maintaining friendships & relationships harder than it should be. 

TINDS: What made you interested in comedy in the first place?

SHAFI: Being in Bangladesh, thinking of something like this was impossible. I wasn’t even aware that this existed and that people did this for a living. We don’t talk about many things openly to anyone while growing up, and it’s often hard to express yourself. When I got the taste of how I can be so open and vulnerable on stage and the audience could find solace through art, the medium seemed fascinating to me to dive into. It has also helped me with my mental health and be in the perspective of who I am. I fell in love with expressing my ideas and finding people who could relate.

TINDS: When did you first get up on stage?

SHAFI: It was probably five and a half years ago, after graduating college. I was doing a job upstate when I noticed an open mic. I signed up for it and went up on the stage, and it was horrible but so fun at the same time. The first time I went up on stage, I figured I felt incredible and never stopped doing it.

Shafi Hossain: A Bangladeshi Stand-Up Comedian in New York
Shafi Hossain: A Bangladeshi Stand-Up Comedian in New York

TINDS: How did your family react to you doing comedy?

SHAFI: South-Asian parents, the majority of them, are very prone to wanting a safe & stable life for their children. My parents did not bother me much because I was still working. The beauty of comedy is that most shows are often at night, so it never really interferes with the day job. It is, instead, very convenient. My father has been involved in the film & media business for a while, and my grandfather was also a theater actor during his days. When my parents talk about it, they say it’s always been in my blood to be a performer.

TINDS: How often do you visit Bangladesh?

SHAFI: The last time I got to visit was back in 2019. I haven’t been able to visit afterward because of the pandemic and several travel restrictions. I have plans to visit soon, maybe in 2024.

Shafi Hossain: A Bangladeshi Stand-Up Comedian in New York
Shafi Hossain: A Bangladeshi Stand-Up Comedian in New York

TINDS: What would you be if not a comedian?

SHAFI: I’d probably be a writer because I enjoy writing a lot, so stand-up comedy is fascinating because I get to write my scripts. I also like to read, so I’d maybe be an author.

TINDS: What would you say your struggles have been coming this far?

SHAFI: Understanding the culture right. America is different and beautiful simultaneously because you meet such diverse people here. It’s interesting because one has to understand the different cultures and express yourself in a way that is true to you and relatable to the audience. Writing the materials is difficult, but once you get used to it, it gets easier over time, like everything else. The first few years are always challenging, but once you catch the groove and get yourself in the big clubs, it’s more accessible from there onwards.

Shafi Hossain: A Bangladeshi Stand-Up Comedian in New York
Shafi Hossain: A Bangladeshi Stand-Up Comedian in New York

TINDS: What would your advice be to young comedians?

SHAFI: My advice would be to do it. Like everything else, you learn along the way by doing it only. Open mics are a perfect way to start understanding your feelings. If something is not for you, it’s not for you, but you must try it first to know for sure.

 

Find him:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/shafistandsup/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shafistandsup

If you want to read more related content, kindly click now – Tinds Spotlight

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