The multihyphenate talent had an audience of schoolchildren in splits as he spoke about his childhood, career and comedy at the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival.
YouTuber extraordinaire, actor, writer and comedian and all-round good guy – that’s how British-Pakistani Humza Arshad describes himself. Humza Arshad who has more than 118 million views on his YouTube channel was at the 14th Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival to entertain and inform an auditorium full of students about his creative journey, his inspirations and why he likes making people laugh.
Famous for his Badman and Diary of a Badman comedy web series and Little Badman children’s books, Arshad had the room in splits with his funny takes on life, childhood and family. “My journey, it all started because I love to make people laugh. As human beings, we feel different kinds of emotions, happy, sad, angry and everything else. But if my joke makes even one person laugh, no matter what they are feeling at that point of time, they are happy for those 10 seconds,” the 37-year-old comedian said. “That’s why I love comedy and doing it from my heart.”
The multihyphenate says his success began with YouTube. “Like any Asian dad, mine wanted me to become a doctor. But I wasn’t very smart, so when I saved enough to buy a camera, I started my YouTube channel called Humza Productions and started my videos. My first video got 5,000 views in 24 hours, then 20,000 the next day, then 50,000, and so on, So I made another video which hit hundreds of thousands of views. It went on into the millions of views and I completely changed,” he says.
As a creative, Arshad said he’s been able to do many things, but the one thing he was really keen on was writing funny books. And funny they are, with hilarious titles such as Little Badman and the Invasion of the Killer Aunties, Little Badman and the Radioactive Samosa, and Little Badman and the Rise of the Punjabi Zombies. “Humza Khan in the books is a South Asian character from South London, who is always getting into trouble, but at the end of each story, always learns something and grows as a person,” the author said. Arshad was particularly thrilled when Radioactive Samosa was chosen as a World Book Day 2021 book in the UK and sent to all schools in the country.
Awarded an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) by King Charles III last year for his services to education, Arshad has also contributed his efforts to help divert young Britons of Muslim descent from extremism, using his life and humour as inspiration.
SCRF is the region’s largest festival of its kind, dedicated to stimulate creativity in young minds and bring them closer to books. The event is running until May 14 in Expo Centre Sharjah with the theme ‘Train your Brain’.