Sunday, February 05, 2017

2017 Comedy Festival

Another week, another event at the Qatar National Convention Centre. This time it was the Comedy Festival. The first two days were for Arabic-speaking comedians and the final day for English-language comedians. I wanted to go, the headline act was Trevor Noah from the Daily Show. Once again, friends to the rescue! A friend of mine had a spare ticket so off we went (come to think of it the same friend who got me a ticket to the Hussein Al Jassmi concert, I certainly owe him a nice dinner or something).

The opening act was a local comedian, Hamad Al-Amari, I had seen him perform about four or five years ago and back then he was definitely still learning the craft. Last night he was a lot smoother and more polished, he has definitely improved in the last few years. My friend commented that he also saw him perform the day before and it surprised him that he was better in English than in Arabic. I can't say I was too surprised, I believe he had spent a lot of his childhood years in an English-speaking country (Ireland? America?) so I knew his English would essentially be fluent. It must not be easy doing comedy in two languages.

Next up, Paul Zerdin, a ventriloquist. I hadn't heard of him before because I don't watch a lot of TV, and was surprised to find out he won a recent season of America's Got Talent! When we did Internet search of his name and realized he'd won the show we knew he’d be entertaining. Sure enough, he was great. Shockingly talented ventriloquist.

Finally, Trevor Noah. He gave a long set and it was really funny. I’m glad he spent a lot of time on stage, apparently the previous night they had six comedians and yet everything was finished in just a couple of hours. I think Trevor was onstage for an hour. He touched on the new US Administration only briefly (these days it’s low-hanging fruit, the jokes write themselves) instead spending time riffing about Doha, South Africa, and topics like colonialism.

Overall I’d say the crowd was satisfied with the evening. My friend said it was better than the previous day, or would hope so given the level of talent they flew in for the English-language day.

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