I moved back to Bahrain in 2007 and I was at a bankers’ convention at the Bapco Club and they asked me to go on stage and tell a few jokes – they said they’d give me money but I actually got a TV, and not even a new one!
When the Axis of Evil Tour came to Bahrain the first time Imran (Al Aradi, who was compering) asked if I wanted to get involved but I didn’t know how stand-up would go down here in Bahrain so I just went along to watch but a few months later I had the chance to open for Omid Djalili and that’s when I started to take it seriously.
After the show I talked to him and he gave me some valuable pointers saying that I should pursue comedy since I write all my own material – which a lot of comics don’t.
A few comedians auditioned for the chance to support Maz Jobrani’s ‘Brown and Friendly Tour’ when he came to Bahrain – to be honest, I really didn’t think I’d done very well, I was feeling ill, but afterwards they said ‘get your suitcase, you’re going to Saudi’ and that was great, it really opened up the Saudi market for me.
What did your family think? My dad was furious at first he said ‘you don’t want to be a clown’ and, because I talk about him in the show, he said ‘you’ve turned me into a joke’. I replied ‘well you are a joke’! But when I started making money, then he accepted it. I took him with me when I was appearing at Aramco in Saudi and at the end of the show I introduced him – he loved it!
Now, whenever anything happens in the house my family will say ‘if you’re going to put this in the show you should write this…’
Where does your inspiration come from? From my friends and family, watching what’s going on around me in everyday life.
What’s next on the agenda? Well, I’d like to see the development of a proper comedy circuit here in Bahrain. We have the talent but there needs to be the chance for young performers, both Bahraini and expat, to get up there and give it a go.
I spent a lot of last year writing and now I want to be out there performing, you need to be performing to get the feedback of audience reaction.
After the first open-mic night, it would be good if we could make this a regular event at different venues around the island so lots of different people have a chance to attend.
During February, as well as that event, I was also on stage at the Royal Golf Club and the Mövenpick, where I played for Valentine’s Day. I like playing smaller venues, where the atmosphere is intimate as comedy is as much about the audience as it is about the performer. Hopefully there’ll be more of the same in the coming months.
I’m also keen to do more work with kids. As well as stand-up, I write skits and cartoons and I’ve had the chance to work with an agency that was putting together an environmental campaign that has, so far, toured ten government schools. The kids loved it and we were able to get across an important message, so I’d really like to do more of that too.