“I’m buzzing like a bee on a Berocca,” says Russell Kane from his Cheshire living room.
The British comedian and television personality will play a one-off show at Dubai Opera on Wednesday – his biggest in the UAE to date – and he’s clearly excited at the prospect.
“I want to learn more about the culture and the history,” he tells The National, “and I also want to go out to really posh restaurants and do selfies, so Dubai’s got everything I want.”
Like many comedians, Kane has had to put extensive touring schedules on hold over the past 18 months because of the pandemic, but since lockdowns in the UK lifted, he’s had a busy summer, culminating in his visit to Dubai.
“It was challenging having shows cancelled,” he says, “but it was also quite creative to think, ‘Well, how else can I be funny?’ And, ‘What new skills can I learn?’ So there are definitely things I have taken out of it.”
One of those things, he says, is plenty of Covid-19-related material.
“The set I am touring [in the UK] is 60 minutes solely based on Covid and everything that has happened in the UK. It wouldn’t work in Dubai as obviously people have had different restrictions there so it wouldn’t translate, but here, I’ve got a whole hour on it, that’s how creatively productive it’s been.”
But Kane still promises to bring plenty of relatable material to his Dubai show, especially for the British audience members.
“I will definitely be talking about Brits abroad, I will be doing some observational stuff about things that have happened to me in the 24 hours prior to the show. I’m like a toddler in that sense, I do react,” he says.
“The first thing I’ll say is anyone who is not British shout out, and then I will improvise based on where those people are from.”
Kane says his previous Dubai shows have helped him understand more about the different cultures that live here and how people interact with one another.
“I did two shows there, which were great, as there’s a lot of Brits wanting to hear about themselves when they are abroad so they love it,” he says. “And I also came back and hosted a massive, very fancy corporate event in 2018, and that was great because the audience was maybe 10 per cent British. There were Lebanese people, Saudi people, American people, Australian people, so I got to learn all the different stereotypes, so I can bring them back this year.”
“I feel like I know where it’s safe to go where people aren’t going to get offended. I’m from Essex at the end of the day,” he says. “Dubai is a bit like someone has stuck Essex in the desert with all the flashiness and nightclubs and everything.”
And while Kane’s trip to Dubai will be fleeting, he and wife, Lindsay, are planning to make the most of what the city has to offer.
“Because we are doing a cheeky child-free trip, we could only really blag three nights. So it will be arrive, get some sleep, smash the gig on the 29th, and that gives us the 30th to party during the day at some beach club, who knows which one,” he says. “At night we’ll be eating out somewhere over the top. I imagine we’ll be grinning like Cheshire cats on the flight home.”
But the thing Kane is most excited about is getting back on stage and ensuring people have a good old laugh.
“It feels like there is loads of laughter to be released right now,” he says. “Although I have been joking with the crowds here that it’s quite a high-risk thing to do, laugh, because if you think about it, the purpose of laughter is to expel air quite fast into a stranger’s face, so I’ve probably created a Kane variant here in the UK.”
And will he be bringing that to Dubai with him?
“No,” he says, with a laugh. “I will be having many, many tests. Although, I imagine a Dubai test is like, delivered on a gold plate with a silk cotton bud.”
Russell Kane will perform at Dubai Opera on Wednesday, September 29. Tickets start from Dh150. More information is at dubai.platinumlist.net