It’s time for the sun to set on the Azeem Ward bandwagon

He’s the part of the movie you skip


In the early years of cinema people would happily sit in front of a screen watching a train slowly come into the station. Literally hundreds of thousands of people were entertained by it. 

In the early years of Facebook people happily clicked attending on the event “Azeem’s Senior Flute Recital”. Literally hundreds of thousands of people thought it was funny.

As a concept, Azeem Ward is as boring as watching a train slowly arrive at a station. As a human being he’s as basic as people who still laugh at Family Guy. He doesn’t talk about religion or politics, he doesn’t binge drink or do drugs. He goes to Nando’s and he orders the mushroom burger.

Put simply: he’s the part of the movie you skip.

In the old days, internet memes would burn out as quickly and as brightly as a strip of magnesium held over a flame. Nobody remembers Antoine Dodson, your mates only hazily recall Kony 2012, the last time you visited 4chan Gordon Brown was still PM.

Yet Azeem – whose internet half life ought to have been 15 seconds – let alone 15 minutes, has only just finished a triumphant multi-date club tour of the UK. He’s been a thing for the best part of six months, lodged in the culture like a splinter in our brains.

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I get the joke: here’s a guy who looks like he can’t run and click his fingers at the same time, posing dorkily with an instrument guaranteed to make everyone think you’re a virgin if you play it. It satisfied our self-awareness, our knowingness, our sense of irony to elevate a person with none of those qualities to the status of celebrity.

But you know what? I expect more from our celebs, even the internet ones. Celebrities, even small time ones like Azeem cast a shadow over our lives, which go unmemed, unviraled. When I see a celebrity I’m always a little twitchy and in a way I think most people are – we look at them and say “are they really more intriguing than I am?”

That’s why we ask them to be more extreme and more fucked up than we are, why Pete Doherty and Robert Downey Jr and Caitlyn Jenner have kept us entertained for years.

Woody Allen once said 80 per cent of life is simply showing up. Azeem, for weeks now, has not stopped showing up: at clubs, on newsfeeds, on timelines. He’s managed to do it all without once saying or behaving fascinatingly, like a goldfish endlessly patrolling the confines of its bowl.