Indonesia's first female Muslim comedian is taking on religious extremism one penis joke at a time

Sakdiyah Ma'ruf's comedy "opens this place of play" to talk about being a woman in her community and cultural prejudices.

'So today's theme is morality. Why did they invite me then?'

Sakdiyah Ma’ruf’s comedy ‘opens this place of play’ to talk about being a woman in her community and cultural prejudices. 2:27

"Is it dangerous for us to be with you?"

"I don't know, perhaps if they heard that halal condom joke."

Sakdiyah Ma'ruf — Indonesia's first female Muslim comedian — doesn't always get a good reaction to her comedy, to say the least. She's been harassed and threatened by religious groups and accused of betraying Islam, but for her it's a important way to speak out that makes her feel alive.

"I always knew that I need to say something about my experiences growing up, about the experiences of women in my community."

See more of Sakdiyah Ma'ruf's story and more artists using art to defy norms in Interrupt This Program: Jakarta tonight, Friday October 20th, at 8:30pm. Watch the season premiere from Mexico City now.

Oh my god, you're a Muslim woman in Indonesia and you're brave enough to speak up! Let me give you an award and a ticket to Oslo so you can breathe the fresh air of freedom and human rights.- Sakdiyah Ma'ruf, comedian

As religious extremism increases in Indonesia, Sakdiyah wants to foster understanding and break down barriers. "I can open this place of play for people to think about their own prejudices, about the life of Muslims," she says.

"With comedy I really feel alive. You can come from a completely different background. But if we can share similar ideas, concerns, anxieties, pain...then you can connect to them in a more meaningful way."

In 2015, she was awarded the Václav Havel Prize for Creative Dissent at the Oslo Freedom Forum, an event that doesn't escape playful skewering in her act:

"Oh my god, you're a Muslim woman in Indonesia and you're brave enough to speak up! Let me give you an award and a ticket to Oslo so you can breathe the fresh air of freedom and human rights."

See more of Sakdiya's story and how she's teaching young girls about comedy in Interrupt This Program: Jakarta, Friday October 20th at 8:30pm on CBC TV and online. 

Art as political protest, as a means of survival, as an agent of change, as a display of courage and delight. Interrupt This Program explores art in cities under pressure and airs Fridays at 8:30pm. Watch this season's Mexico City premiere now.

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