Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Comedy arrives in the capital

With a growing number of options for stand-up comedy in Dubai, and even one way up in Ras al Khaimah, it's about time the capital saw some action. And that's just what happened mid-week, as Abu Dhabi standup comedy pioneers, Yalla Laughs, kicked off a fortnightly gig series in the Barosa pub at Cristal Salam Hotel.

The pub, itself fairly new, had a cosy bar hall reserved for the event. There was plenty of parking (albeit the kind that consumes some AED 1 coins and spits out others) around the hotel when I got there, forcing me to cancel my set's opening joke about parking in Abu Dhabi. I still got in a couple of city-specific jokes, woven into my newer set along with a few older bits.

Yalla Laughs' Erik Thornquist and Jonathan Boulton (top right and top left) -- AUH-based comedians who thus far have had to drive up north for gigs -- took care of preparations this time, while five of us from Dubai drove south to join them for Abu Dhabi's first regular local comedy night.

To our growing relief, the launch event was blessed with a turnout that was not only sizable, but generally receptive as well. Tight emceeing by Erik kept the energy going for me (bottom right) and four other performers, climaxing in a side-splitting headliner set by Salman Qureshi (bottom left).

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