Who: Jawad El-Baqali (28)
What: comedian, author, influencer
Reason: Behind the popular meme account @utlending.memes on Instagram and comes with the book “This is Norwegians” on September 1.
What made you want to write a book?
-In the beginning, when I started posting on Instagram, I often wrote long texts for pictures. Then I thought, “I can get paid for this.” I’ve always wanted to write, and have done so since I was seven or eight years old. It gives me great pleasure that there is something I can do now, and it is very strange that I have to publish a book. I showed the book to Kagge Forlag in June last year, and wrote almost every day from October to May-June this year.
– The great thing about books is that you are not constrained by the budget and what is shown is the same as TV. The same idea comes from the fact that when I post something, people say “You always take it seriously”. Why not just write about personal experiences? The book is two or three page short stories, and everything is told as me.
You have linked your own experiences with Norwegian values, if I understand correctly? Do you have any particularly good stories that made you think about what Norwegian values are?
– It’s not really about Norwegian values, but what Norwegians are. This is a question I’ve been wondering for a while. Norwegians are everything from Polish Poles to alcoholic Liverpool fans, and I’m Moroccan. Some of the Arab stereotypes in Oslo are in a way Norwegian stereotypes too, but they don’t have to be about race.
Do you have plans to become an Instagram celebrity?
– No not at all. When I started a meme account, I worked as a substitute in a school and thought about getting teacher training. I’ve always had an interest in writing, so my sense of humor was discovered. I never got a penny from throwing ads on Insta, but it definitely opened doors for the jobs I care about.
Do you get negative reactions?
– I haven’t really received much negative feedback. Most people think it’s fun. The only ones who put in the hard work were the very white people who weren’t from Oslo. I never received any specific feedback from those involved. Surprisingly, there was a bit of hate.
Is there anything to raise your voice to without using humor?
I will use humor for everything. I’ve tweeted and written many memes about how scandalous the housing market has become, but once you get serious and upset, it’s not really interesting to listen to. It’s often smart to pack this kind of thing, and then connect with more people.
I see the book as falling under the “non-fiction” category on Kage. How well hit?
– Haha! Yes and under the heading “Social Anthropology” on the Ark of the Covenant. Well I do not know. It can certainly be used in school contexts with children and young adults. I dare not answer whether it is non-fiction, but I will assume no. It’s Flex, then.
Is simply reliving your memories of growth that inspires an Instagram account?
– I’m a very nostalgic guy, so that’s one thing. I joke about things from childhood, and often think and look back at my upbringing. My memory is a bit bad from time to time, but I do joke about what I remember.
what are you doing these days?
– I will write more, but I am taking a short break now. Now I got a summer job at a psychiatric home because I enjoy working with people. I’m there in the summer, so there will be more writing in the fall. Maybe a new book? I have good ideas for several books. I did quite a bit of acting too, but I’m not very good at all. So it’s fun.
Who is the funniest in Norway today?
– There is someone I can’t really laugh at, someone who has a psychological effect on me. Steinar Klomann Hallert, from Sigurd fåkke pult. When we recorded the “Erlind Elections and Parliament”, I had to actively do breathing exercises so as not to die. If I participated in “I’m Not Allowed to Laugh in the Booth” with Steiner, I’d be off immediately. He and Erlend Mørch are a good duo, but Erlend I can hang out with and have a regular conversation with. Steiner I just laugh.
What is the book that means the most to you?
“Look at Us: A Letter of Concern from a Young Norwegian Somali” by Amal Aden was one of the first books I could not leave behind. I don’t know how good it was really, I was thirteen but it’s what I remember that got me interested in books.
Who was your childhood hero?
– A great mix of 50 Cent, Bruce Lee, Thierry Henry and Asgeir from Barne-TV.
What do you dislike the most about yourself?
– I totally think crazy a lot.
What do you do when you go out?
– Ends on nach with a friend in Vålerenga at 4:18pm until Thursday.
What would you like to walk on?
– Can’t we just say “everything”?
Who would you rather stay with in the elevator?
– Now I will probably be stuck in the elevator with the head of SAS, Anko van der Werf, to see what happens there. He looks like a Breaking Bad character, so it was interesting to see what’s boiling in his head.
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