Hokoma Show: Censored TV Show Returns this Ramadan
For over a decade, Egyptian impressionist Mahmoud Azzab has been
entertaining us with his skills on and off Ramadan shows. Many consider him to
be one of the best comedic talents, as he is known for imitating both popular
and obscure character in a hilarious, spot-on performance.
This Ramadan, Azzab’s latest feature is Hokoma Show, which – as is evident by its title – is about
mimicking and lampooning members of the Egyptian government and state officials.
Such a formula would never have been possible prior to the January 25th
revolution, and Azzab’s show was allegedly banned from being aired due to its
controversial content, although it had been in production since 2009.
The best thing about this show is the grounds that are broken for the
sake of pure, daring entertainment. It’s truly monumental to see such brazen
mocking of former government officials being aired on Egyptian TV.
That being said, Azzab’s impersonations of figures such as Ahmed Nazif
and various cabinet members are not as amusing as they are daring. Some lines
are quite funny, but audiences will find themselves focusing more on the
actor’s heavy makeup and wigs more than his weak impersonations. An interesting
example is the episode where Zahi Hawass was in negotiations with Nazif to
squeeze out public funds to move the Ramsis statue from Tahrir square to its
new location. The script was funny, but the acting couldn’t carry it off and was
pretty lame. If anything, Azzab seemed to be relishing in the opportunity to
mock these characters and not focused enough on producing quality comedy.
It’s a shame that Hokoma Show missed the mark this Ramadan; it had
everything going for it: more freedom in the media where former ‘untouchable’
characters could be criticised, an audience hungry for witty satire and
impersonations of despised public figures, and Azzab’s reputation as a
credible, creative and daring comedic talent.
However, the lack of balance between the witty script and the sub-par
delivery makes Hokoma Show yet
another show where audiences can laugh about characters that they hate. The
idea is definitely appreciated, but the execution isn’t all that great.