Northern Light

John Steinbeck on the Danes' sense of humor

Farshad Kholgi, an Iranian born Danish comedian, actor and writer, has been reading John Steinbeck’s satirical novel The Short Reign of Philip IV from 1957. The novel was published in Danish the same year with a special dedication to the Danish reader:


I not only hope that you will like my small book. Due to my knowledge of Danish humor I am acutally convinced that is the case. I have always thought that one of the national virtues of the Danes was their comically serious and almost deadly satirical attitude to life, an attitude that probably served them well as one of the most important and deadly weapons in the fight against Hitler.

Kholgi who fled Iran at the age of 13 thinks that the Danes have changed for the worse since the time of Steinbeck’s satirical novel. He is disappointed that intellectuals, writers and artists refrain from joining the fight against Islamism. Kholgi tells Berlingske Tidende:

”They don’t want to get involved in the fight even though Denmark lived through the cartoon crisis, and even though Danes were threatened, and flags were burned. Not a single movie have been made about the crisis, not a single play, not a single stand-up monologue.”

Kholgi who recently published a powerful book about growing up in Iran and living under a totalitarian theocracy, is working on a comedy about the cartoon crisis. He is very critical of colleagues using all their satirical fire power against the government coalition in stead of taking issue with Islamism.

”It’s like focusing on a candle light when your house is on fire.”

Join the conversation as a VIP Member