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”.
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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.