Whether you are a working comic in the region or aspire to be one, then Kevin Hart wants you. The star is currently working on creating a new online hub, to be launched later in the year, to expose new multicultural talent. Hart explains the aim of the new digital venture is to highlight the universality of comedy.
“It will be an online network,” he says. “As a comedian who travels the world and becoming universal and having the success that I had, I know the importance of support and exposure. I wouldn’t be out here with you now without that exposure, so I want to give people the platform where they can give content and gain exposure and give them the opportunity to travel the same way I have.”
To make the talent scouting easier for Hart and his crew, we recommend five acclaimed regional comics who would benefit from the new platform.
Ali Al Sayed
The Emirati funnyman was one of the first entrants to the growing comedy scene in the UAE. The comic and actor has become a household name with his regular stand-up shows, YouTube parodies and comedy workshops that he runs with his wife, Mina Liccione, as part of the performance company Dubomedy. Al Sayed has also shared the stage with American comics Dean Edwards, Maz Jobrani and Michael Winslow.
How often do you see a Korean speak fluent Arabic? Dubai-based comedian Wonho Chung, who considers Arabic his first language, rose to fame in 2007 when he took the stage rattling off jokes in Arabic on the eccentricities of Middle Eastern societies and living as an expatriate. He went on to tour as special guest on the acclaimed Axis of Evil comedy tour featuring Egypt’s Ahmed Ahmed, Iran’s Maz Jobrani and Palestinians Aron Kader and Dean Obeidallah.
After finishing fourth in Laugh Factory's Funniest Person in the World competition in Las Vegas in 2014, Dubai-based Indian comic Nitin Mirani was approached by Fox Television to appear in the show Laughs, and was one of the headline acts at the inaugural Dubai Comedy Festival last year.
This Palestinian-American comedian is a trailblazer on the international and Arabic comedy scene. Her challenges with cerebral palsy haven’t affected her humorous zest for life which makes her sets a joy to experience. Zayid was the first comedian to perform a stand-up show in Palestine and Jordan and cofounded the New York Arab-American Comedy Festival in 2003.
Nemr Abou Nassar
Lebanon’s self-proclaimed King of Comedy, Near Abou Nassar began his career as a comic in Lebanon in 2006 and has toured the Middle East with his bilingual sets. Nassar joined the former Axis of Evil comedy tour in 2007, performing five sold-out shows. The comedian’s YouTube channel has expanded his audience base, now spread across the Middle East and United States. Nassar brought his special routine Epic to the UAE in 2010, becoming the only stand-up comedian to tour the region with a full-feature special.