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Hatoon Kadi: Grappling With Social Issues One Joke At A Time

What better way to tackle social issues than to do it through comedy. Saudi Arabia’s Hatoon Kadi is doing just that. Despite being one of the first and only females trailing the Kingdom’s comedy scene, Kadi’s inspiration came from watching other Saudi comedians on YouTube when the idea clicked in 2012. Her first episode went viral with around 700,000 hits in just one week.

A script writer and presenter of the famous Arabic YouTube comedy show ‘Noon Al-Niswa’ which confronts social matters from a female’s perspective, Kadi finds solutions through comedy and sarcasm. The channel has over 300,000 subscribers.

Commenting on the reaction she got from society, Kadi said in a recent interview with CNN, “It’s really hard to overcome the idea that women are not funny. Women are seen only as drama queens and this is universal.”

However, her journey was not downright neighborly. She was ready to face the criticism upon her mentor’s continuous warnings and was confident she could handle it. “Then they started commenting on my look which I didn’t expect at all,” said Kadi in the CNN interview. “I knew people would tell me that comedy wasn’t something I should pursue as a woman and that my place was in the kitchen and I was prepared to face all those questions. But what I didn’t expect is for people to comment on my looks.”

 “They would say I was ugly, fat and even asked me if I didn’t have a mirror,” she said. “That hit me so hard that I actually thought about quitting.”

But it did not stop her. Kadi is certain that her video content is always non-offensive and less-derogatory. "I will never insult anyone (and) I will never talk about sensitive issues like religion or politics, it's not me. So we just keep to the social issues," she said.

The mother of two is a part time lecturer at Jeddah’s Dar Al-Hekma University and the School of Business and Law, and hopes to host her own talk show in the future.

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