From their rapidly growing popularity, it is clear that Bahrain and the GCC have slipped into the Misfitz universe with wide smiles and open arms. The people behind the hilarious videos sat down with Perle Magazine to give an insight into the work behind their passion.
Friends and colleagues alike, The Misfitz set up their comedy group earlier this year, quickly amassing an impressive 4,000 plus followers on Instagram so far. They post 15-second videos aiming to cram in as much humour and comedic gags as possible in their limited timeframe. It truly is a test against time to make their audience laugh and, judging by the positive reaction, they have achieved that with great success thus far.
Misfit- they describe it as an individual who does not fit into any social group but contains qualities of all of them
Yet, their journey to this point did not come easy. Both Ali Fingerz and Rick Sharif started as colleagues in standup comedy with dreams of joining a larger network to showcase their talents. A number of unsuccessful projects later, inspiration struck Ali to create a platform that would allow them to test their own ideas and put to picture their imagination. Armed with simply a camcorder and two willing volunteers they recorded the first sketch. “We took our stand-up material and repackaged it as a visual sketch” describes Ali.
The inspiration behind the name came from the team’s definition of the word ‘Misfit’. They describe it as an individual who does not fit into any social group but contains qualities of all of them’; each person refuses to conform to a certain mould. This commitment to versatility extends to their work as each member of the group holds several different titles for each sketch. Alongside the three friends, the group contains an ever-versatile cast of men and women who in one scene could be helping with lighting and having the lead role in the next. “We’re a unit and everyone steps into many roles,” says Rick. “Without the team, there is no Misfitz,” Ali adds sincerely. Both men stress the importance of their team to their achievements and are eager to give credit to their hardworking colleagues. “It’s not the Ali show, or the Rick Show, it’s a Misfitz show” Ali notes “and everyone is bringing what they love to the table to highlight what they are good at and strive to enhance.” From writing to producing to lighting, the Misfitz team approaches each sketch with a hands-on attitude.
This collaborative process extends into their Stand-Up comedy writing where both men confess to competing with each other to produce the best material. “He knows the type of material I can deliver and I know the type of material he can deliver. So we start writing jokes for each other or at least editing and enhancing each others jokes. So we took that and we applied it to the sketches” Rick explains.
However, the process behind each video takes on a complex level of artistry. From commissioning professional lights from their mechanic friends to painstakingly constructing a homemade Bat-suit, the intense commitment the group has to its work is undeniable. Each video has hidden layers of details that at the first watch you could easily miss and is a lot of fun finding – in film terms -the hidden easter eggs. This has the desired effect of making the videos watchable several times, which has been proven with the group accumulating over 350,000 views on one sketch alone through the reposting of their videos on other social media pages. Two of their videos were selected for a Short film screening in London by the title of ‘Jaykkar’, that aimed to showcase this new phenomena of gulf satire videos coming out from the region. The videos were well received and had the audience in stiches. The screening was covered and reviewed by BBC Xtra and the Misfitz videos were quick to make it in the cover, along with some of the best comedy videos in the region.
Yet, although with a great focus on comedy, the group is acutely aware of the social responsibility they have. “We go right up to that line but we do not want to intentionally offend anybody. We’re going for shock value with a comedic undertone,” Rick explains. In fact, the reaction to the group has garnered positive responses from various organizations such as The Deaf Society in Kuwait about the ‘Wain il Hindi’ sketch. It featured an Arab man getting angry at a shopkeeper. Ali explains, “They liked what we highlighted; the fact I came in saying ‘are you deaf?’ Not only am I bringing him down and treating him less than me. But what I used as a derogatory term is that I likened him to a handicap person.”
Another social issue close to their hearts is the inclusion of women in comedy. The tired trope sketches of Arab men in drag to portray females “lacks originality” Rick explains, cementing their effort to separate themselves from other comedy groups. The all-inclusive nature of their team makes for a palpable self-described ‘synergy’ between them that is easily translated onto camera. Furthermore, the women in the group are not only actresses. Speaking of Yasmeen, Rick describes how “she doesn’t come to the meetings or shootings and just waits to be told what to do. She’s out there helping us with writing, some days she is writing for us, and other times she’s there for support. We are blessed to have such amazing talent in our crew that are dedicated to us. We do not have special preferences or treatments to any member based on their gender.”
“We all have issues with the way society is. Tackling that through comedy is the best way we can showcase it, indirectly” Ali describes. Misfitz have mastered the art of creative layered comedy; subtly infusing their lighthearted comedy with intellectual elements shows how each sketch is subject to interpretation.
The reaction to Misfitz seems to be one overwhelming support. The team credits the motivation from the Kuwaiti comedy group ‘Shenoya3ni’ as their reason for starting a comedy group in Bahrain; no other group exists in the country.
Allan Fullerton, a professional composer provided the music pro-bono as he loved Misfitz work and the growing casts shows how everyone wants to be part of the Misfitz.
Watching their videos on Instagram is an invitation to be part of the Misfitz universe. From the outside, it looks like effortless comedy but the mechanics behind it all reveal a hardworking team of people passionately delivering entertainment. Misfitz is only at the start of their journey and we at Perle are excited to see what this dynamic team has up their sleeves next.
Stand up comedian, voice over artist and capoeira martial artist.
Creative artist, stand up comedian, and branding specialist.
Stand up comedian, emcee, and voice over artist.
Audio director and Music composer for Talking Pictures Productions.
The Extended Team:
Ali Fingerz, Tariq ‘Rick’ Sharif, Yousif Taha, Alan Fullarton, Mohd Turbo, Urso, Husain Amigo, Yazu, Abdulla Alabbasi, Husain Faleej, Hasan Guinomo… and many more that always contribute to the work of Misfitz Comedy
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