Must-see shows Dubai Comedy Festival, from Kenny Sebastian to Amer Zahr

Running until April 21, the event brings both big and small names to the emirate

Palestinian-American comedian Amer Zahr is performing at Dubai Comedy Festival on April 17. AFP
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Get ready to giggle, chuckle and chortle as the Dubai Comedy Festival returns.

Starting on Friday and running until April 21, the event brings some of the biggest names in comedy to venues in the emirate including Dubai Opera and Roxy Cinema at Dubai Hills Mall.

Comedians from around the world will take to the stage, with famous names such as Katherine Ryan, Gad Elmaleh and Mo Gilligan set for shows during the festival.

While the big names will grab attention, here are five other shows to not miss.

Brainiac Live

When and where: 2.30pm on Saturday and Sunday at Dubai Opera

Fun science troupe Brainiac want audiences to strap on their safety goggles and enjoy their experiments live on stage. The performance, which is an offshoot of a popular television show hosted by Richard Hammond, has been described as “science museum meets Top Gear”.

Using science to wow and entertain, the show has everything from controlled explosions to fire extinguishers sending office chairs flying. Bringing the thrill of seeing the wacky experiments in person, Brainiac Live is ideal for families and friends to enjoy together, as the “scientists” on stage educate as much as entertain.

Kenny Sebastian

When and where: 9.30pm on Sunday at Dubai Opera

Indian comedian Kenny Sebastian will be performing his popular 90-minute comedy special Professor of Tomfoolery Vol 2. The show is a revised version of his 2023 comedy special with an added musical element.

Sebastian has had success with his comedy specials streaming on services such as Amazon Prime Video and Netflix and has performed in hundreds of shows across India. His career started on social media as he sang out tweets sent to him using the hashtag #KennySing4Me.

The comedian has also released two comedy albums and hosts a podcast called Simple Ken in which he tackles a variety of subjects alongside a guest.

Al Murray

When and where: 7pm on April 16 at Dubai Opera

Known for his “Pub Landlord” persona, British comedian Al Murray has been in comedy since the early 1990s. After being nominated three times, Murray won the coveted Perrier award at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 1999.

Murray is also a regular on British television, appearing on panel shows such as 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown and Have I Got News For You. In 2015, Murray announced the formation of the Free United Kingdom Party as well as his candidacy for a seat in parliament.

His comedic style has been known to mock conservative views as well as those set in their old ways who are unwilling to change their minds. His shows often lampoon stereotypes of different facets of British society.

Amer Zahr

When and where: 9.30pm on April 17 at Dubai Opera

Palestinian-American comedian Amer Zahr has a new show called The Truth about his upbringing and being a Palestinian man. He says of the show: “Sometimes we laugh so hard we cry. And sometimes we cry so hard we laugh.”

The comedian founded the 1001 Laughs Dearborn Comedy Festival in 2013, an annual event that is still continuing. Zahr is also a writer and academic, having previously worked as a surrogate to 2016 presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

Emirati stand-up: English edition

When and where: 6.30pm on April 20 at Roxy Cinemas, Dubai Hills Mall

Five of the UAE's most talented young comics are taking to the stage in their own show to joke about local topics.

The comedians are Bin Swelah, Abdallah Alansari, Saif Almheiri, Abdullah Al Qassab and Obaid Ali Obaid. The five have previously performed in various shows across the country, with most of them growing a strong following on social media.

The most prolific is Alansari who has more than 500 shows under his belt and has been described as the “Emirati Puppet Master”, with the comedian using ventriloquism in his act.

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Updated: April 12, 2024, 6:56 AM