The United States has perhaps the most lucrative humor-production industry worldwide, “translateable” by virtue of the nation’s economic and military dominance. The world is ready to laugh at a George Bush-surrrrre-is-stupid quip while not necessarily being ready to catch a fastball about Danilo Türk. But can Egyptian humor — which of course is light years funnier than the top-selling American brands — be rendered in English?*
Last month, the Wall Street Journal asked that question when writing about best-selling Egyptian comic writer Belal Fadl’s new project: A comedic film being co-written, in the U.S., with Emily O’Dell (pictured above with Fadl).
Thirty-seven-year-old Fadl has been a hit in Egypt for some time — his book A Chagrined Laugh, for instance, was one of the top sellers at the 2010 Cairo International Book Fair. Blogger-critic Baheyya notes that Fadl isn’t just funny, but that he can also do “beautiful description” and “eloquent, evocative allegory”.
The WSJ blog focuses on Fadl’s troubles with Egyptian authorities. There’s also a video, but I can’t seem to get it to work, so I rely on you to watch it.
Also: Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing plans to release a short story collection by Belal Fadl (in English) by winter 2013.
*Yes, if done with the right touch. Mostly. Yes.