If you were lucky enough to have avoided Facebook for the past 48 hours, here’s a quick recap: Comedian-presenter, Shady Abu Zeid – the consistently hilarious reporter for the Abla Fahita TV show – and his friend, actor Ahmed Malek (El Gezirah 2), were filmed distributing inflated condoms to unsuspecting policemen around Tahrir Square. The video went viral, amassing one million views in 24 hours, and unleashing mass vitriol among many, who accused the duo of moral depravity, assault on members of the police force, and generally, poor taste.
This had us scratching our heads a little. We’ve watched the video and have to say, this isn’t Shady’s funniest video – his Christmas skit was one of our favourites – and inflated condoms can’t really qualify as assault weapons. We’ve tried and tested them, trust us. Although ‘use of condom balloon as a deadly weapon’ does have a nice ring to it.
Anyway. To complicate matters, another video went viral that day, showing Dot Misr presenter Ahmed Rafat also in Tahrir, and also mocking people, except they were civilians, not policemen.
Outrage? Scandal? Nope. Nada. That video got zero outcry.
A few hours and hundreds of angry comments later, Abla Fahita’s production team distanced themselves from the video on Facebook, writing, “We dunno them. Never met them, don’t even like them,” which made us all feel a little sorry for Malek and Shady getting ditched like that.
Then came the reports that they’d been arrested, which they denied, followed by rumours that Malek had been expelled by the Actors’ Syndicate, followed by rumours that he’d never joined anyway, followed by rumours that even if he’d wanted to join they’d never let him in, followed by rumours that everyone had gone off to sulk in a corner.
This is when it gets nasty. First, the Egyptian Police’s ‘official Facebook page’ (!!) posts photos of Shady in various costumes, threatening to shove his inflated condoms where the sun doesn’t shine, then the cuddly and absolutely charming TV presenter Sayed Aly told the duo “if it weren’t for the police, a condom would have been next to your mother,” which initially had us screaming AWW NO HE DI’NT!! But then we pondered on the nature of the insult and why a condom lying next to someone, instead of, say, being used on someone, would be a terrible insult. And why is a condom an insulting item to begin with? Shouldn’t we applaud the promotion of safe sex?
To be honest, we think Sayed could have put more effort into his insults. In fact, we think the whole condom balloon video has been blown out of proportion. Yes, that was a terrible pun. But they were just ribbing people. Yes, that was also terrible.
And while this video may cost them their jobs and maybe even take Abla Fahita off the air for a few months, we suspect that the only people to gain anything will be the people behind Durex Egypt’s Facebook Page. Just imagine the terrible jokes and the inevitable puns.
Frankly, just another day in the surreal republic of Egypt.
By Kalam El Qahaira