‘Afghanistan Is Not Funny’ – It Is Riveting, Painful and Honest

By Ernest Kearney  —  British Comedian and Playwright Henry Naylor set off to Afghanistan to gather material for his play Finding Bin Laden, and somewhere along the way found his own humanity.  This is the core of Naylor’s provocative, enlightening and eventually damning new work Afghanistan is Not Funny which may also be the only play to come out of HFF22 that I would qualify be mandatory viewing. 

Naylor’s reason for setting off to Afghanistan to conduct research for a show, mirrors the callousness and egotism of the Globe’s developed nations, and its inability to relate to the suffering of others except in terms of its own inconvenience.

Today this attitude is expressed in the aggravation felt by many Americans at the price of gas reaching five dollars and above, insensible to the suffering of the Ukrainian people in whose defense these hikes in prices are for.

Naylor’s tale of his journey is aided by the photos of his travelling companion Sam Maynard whose black and white compositions manage to capture a conflict that is anything but.

In the end, it is Naylor’s growing realization of the suffering of the Afghan people and especially Homayon, their guide, through this troubled land that brings about an expansion of his own humanity which in turn challenges his audience to consider the need to expand their own.


Platinum Medal

Afghanistan is not Funny

Played During Hollywood Fringe Festival 2022


Photos by Rosalind Furlong

Learn More at henrynaylor.co.uk

Written by

An award-winning L.A. playwright and rabble-rouser of note who has hoisted glasses with Orson Welles, been arrested on three continents and once beat up Charlie Manson. His first play, "Among the Vipers" was a semi-finalist in the Julie Harris Playwriting Competition and was featured in the Carnegie-Mellon Showcase of New Plays. It was produced at the NPT Theater in Ashland, Oregon and Los Angeles’ celebrated Odyssey Ensemble Theatre. His following play, “The Little Boy Who Loved Monsters” was produced at The Hollywood Actors Theater, where he earned praise from the Los Angeles Times for his “…inordinately creative writing.” The play went on to numerous other productions including Berlin’s The Black Theatre under the direction of Rainer Fassbinder who wrote in his program notes of Kearney, “He is a skilled playwright, but more importantly he is a dangerous one.” Ernest Kearney has worked as literary manager or as dramaturge for among others The Hudson Theater Guild, Nova Diem and the Odyssey Ensemble Theatre, where he still serves on the play selection committee. He has been the recipient of two Dramalogue Awards and a finalist or semi-finalist, three times, in the Julie Harris Playwriting Competition. His work has been performed by Michael Dunn, Sandra Tsing Loh, Jack Colvin and Billy Bob Thornton, and to date, either as playwright or director, he has upwards of a hundred and thirty productions under his belt, including a few at the Bob Baker Marionette Theater as puppeteer. Kearney remains focused on his writing, as well as living happily ever after with his lovely wife Marlene. His stage reviews and social essays can be found at TheTVolution.com and workingauthor.com. Follow him on Facebook.

No comments


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.