By Keertana Koduru
The Doha Comedy Festival, held at the Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC) as part of Shop Qatar’s entertainment experience, ended on a high note with three of the most gifted comedians that Qatar has seen till date.
Like any other entertainment buff, I followed the US presidential election run from 2015 when Donald trump first confirmed that he would be running for the highest office in the free world – the President of the US. But, what interested me the most throughout the campaign season was the running commentary from newscasters and daily shows that mocked his presence in the international scene. Trevor Noah rose to fame (in my mind) with his political satire because somehow he was able to astutely dissect the political structure, election results, mind games, and the ridiculousness that the moment brought in.
Admiring this person isn’t difficult – he is funny, sending the right message across while being amazingly entertaining with his take on the drama of world affairs. You could only imagine how exciting it was to see him live at the Doha Comedy Festival. On a cool (literally) night, the QNCC was lit up and ready for a show never to be forgotten. A recent tradition in Doha, the comedy festival definitely was a great experience, offering up three completely different comic styles.
A man of many accents
The first, Hamad Al Amari aka The Qatari Guy, is known for his contribution to Middle East comedy and for making fun of his own people, the Qataris, and their stereotypical behavior. He started the night by speaking in the many accents he seems to own with his extensive research and travels around the world. What kept the laughs going were his experiences of being a dad for the first time and how broke it made him feel. He was surprised by how much it actually costs to have a child. He also spoke about his career choices and how shocked his father was to hear that he was becoming a comedian, despite coming from a highly educated family of lawyers, doctors and engineers. Another experience he cited was that of Donald Trump’s win; when he discussed it with his father, the latter said ‘oh no! This is not going to be good for the world’ but he exclaimed that it was good for his comedic stance and career growth!
A man of many voices
The winner of the 10th season of America’s Got Talent, Ventriloquist Paul Zerdin was also in town for the night. A British comedian and a man of many voices brought Sam his puppet to excite the audience with his atrocious behaviour. It was a skit of sorts that had the good bad guy effect and garnered the maximum audience participation. He was just beyond brilliant, changing voices and tones like nothing we had ever seen here before. He also explained that the art of ventriloquism takes years to perfect and can go wrong if done incorrectly.
A man of many thoughts
The man of the hour and many thoughts, Trevor Noah was the headliner for the night and started off the session describing Qatar as a Lego land for rich kids with buildings and towers everywhere. Trevor said, “Driving in Doha is like a version of Mad Max and using an indicator is a sign of weakness,” speaking about the fuel rich country and the residents’ driving skills. There were a number of things that kept us laughing for the one hour during which he shed light on some of the most pressing issues today; like how African American people are facing the brunt of white supremacist actions, how South Africa organised the world cup amidst allegations of a high crime rate and how language is a barrier around the world. He highlighted many issues that we know exist but do not speak about openly. He also spoke about how Dubai brunches are a debauchery for European citizens, who are calm in the UK but go absolutely nuts in Dubai. He spoke about the calming sounds of the ‘vuvuzela’ for the African tribes but being used in the South Africa FIFA world cup of 2010 which changed everything thereafter for the sports fans around the world.
Thinking about the night, I could guarantee that there were more than a few laughs and of course the message was loud and clear – we need unity more now than ever before to fight against evil and also, love trumps hate.