Jordanian comic Rajae Qawas: ’No matter how long I’ve been doing this, I still get unbelievably nervous’

The Jordanian comedian will return to the capital as part of the Arab Comedy Festival line-up.
Jordanian comedian Rajae Qawas. Courtesy Flash Entertainment
Jordanian comedian Rajae Qawas. Courtesy Flash Entertainment

Jordanian comedian Rajae Qawas is no stranger to performing in the UAE. He has appeared on stage several times in Dubai and Sharjah, and once in Abu Dhabi. On Saturday, September 10, he will return to the capital as part of the Arab Comedy Festival line-up, where he promises to poke fun at all sorts of issues that affect us – from the latest gadgets to the opposite sex and his weight.

What can make or break a performance for you?

It’s definitely not the audience – if the material is good, they’ll laugh regardless. But they can’t laugh if they can’t hear me. It’s all about the organisation of the event and how well it is produced in terms of equipment, venue, technical finesse, all of that. As comedians, our only tool is our voice and the jokes we come up with. If the audience can’t hear me, if the sound system is off, if there’s too much of an echo, then there’s no way it will be a successful evening. So it’s always that unknown factor – the organisation aspect – that I’m afraid of, because it can either hurt me or it can back me up.

How do you feel before you go on stage?

It’s absolutely terrifying. No matter how long I’ve been doing this, I still get unbelievably nervous. Every time before I go on stage, with the audience out there, I’m usually standing there panicking and my jaw suddenly hurts and my palms are sweating and I’m thinking: “Why didn’t I just become an accountant?” I would have been the lucky guy in the audience hanging out, relaxed, instead of going through this. But then again, despite being genuinely scared, I truly respect what I do, and when the audience is clapping and reacting to what I’ve prepared for them, there’s nothing like it. I just made people laugh. It’s all I want.

Where do you find inspiration?

Like any artist, from anything and anyone around me. Whatever is on my mind, whatever I might hear others talk about, whatever jumps out at me. Material is honed over time, and some of the material I will be using in Abu Dhabi was successful two weeks ago in Doha, but I’ll still build on it. What I always try to do is present a complicated subject in a simple way. I once read that a definition of art is to say complicated things simply, and that’s what I try to do: break down what you think can’t be explained and just explain it. In a funny way, of course.

What subjects will you talk about in Abu Dhabi?

Well, I like to use observational comedy. Comedy can be many things: there’s imitation, there’s silly comedy – it’s all respectable and all hard work. It just depends what you’re good at. I like to pick a subject and jump in. I talk about what it is like to be as thin as I am, and how people see me. I discuss the “friend zone”, and why girls like to leave guys hanging and vice versa. I take a look at some of the greatest inventions of the world and how we use them and comment on that. Or I’ll just reference a commercial I’ve seen on television that I think warrants some looking into.

artslife@thenational.ae

Published: September 6, 2016 04:00 AM

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