It's been nearly two months since Dubai-based expat comedians Ray Addison and Salman Qureshi set up Dubai Comedy Workshops and its first 6-week stand-up comedy course, also making themselves one of the first few users of the new Courtyard Playhouse performing arts space. On Saturday, they showcased out their first ever batch of course participants in a graduation special stand-up event.
I expected it to be held at the Playhouse, but it was moved a couple of days before to the 1UP bar in TECOM. Marketing it rather boldly as the "The Michael McIntyre Warm-up Show", they roped in an ensemble of active Dubai-based stand-up comedians to perform between course participants' 5-minute showcase sets; these included Russell Bell, Lamya Tawfik and Rodger Talty, with Dubai old-timer Nitin Mirani throwing in an uproarious finale act. It was also a golden opportunity to see some great new material from Salman, who served as the show's emcee.
As far as the course participants went, there were a lot of good bits to enjoy. I loved Brent Jenkins' new memory lapse arc (although I would expect no less from the experienced stand-up performer he is), and newcomer Janet Lundstram's opening joke was great.
A big hand to model and fellow improvver Andreea Zoia, who not only had the stage presence one would expect of this presenter and emcee, but clever material as well. The WAG (is it in singular if there's only one of each?) also did well; Emma Addison gave us what I think was the best debut set of the night, while Sarah Murphy used a posh accent to deliver probably the most unique set of the night: a send-up of a clueless, FWP-afflicted "Palm Pamela" (a niche adaptation of the Jumeirah Jane, apparently).