Review: Ali Al Sayed is shrewd and engaging in solo Dubai Comedy Festival show

While the form of Ali Al Sayed's comedy may be familiar, the observations are not – the Emirati comedian is a shrewd satirist of life in and the people of the UAE.

Like any comedian worth his salt, Ali Al Sayed isn’t afraid to prod at a few stereotypes.

Despite arriving at the venue in a stark white kandura for his Dubai Comedy Festival show on Monday night, by stage time he had changed into jeans, T-shirt and trainers. Perhaps the Emirati comic had come straight from the bank — one of Al Sayed’s best-loved routines recalls how he attracts curiosity when queuing in national dress.

It's a big moment for the UAE's face of comedy, who is onstage at Madinat Theatre taping his first live TV special, Onestly Speaking - the show also marked the biggest solo slot from a UAE talent at the inaugural Dubai Comedy Festival.

Al Sayed was more than ready. Playing to a friendly home crowd, old and new material was skilfully delivered throughout a relaxed, confident set, which broke the 100-minute mark.

The comic’s greatest talent may be his versatile vocal chords. Al Sayed’s uncanny ability to adopt the accent of every major expat group in the UAE is a gift that keeps on giving — from the exasperated Indian high schoolteacher to the overexcited Lebanese party person, and the inevitable “ma’am-sir” singsong of the Filipino shop assistant.

No one nationality escaped unscathed. “Everyone has these stereotypes about Emiratis, but growing up was tough — we only had one Ferrari,” deadpanned Al Sayed. “Not even this year’s model — it was embarrassing.”

The biggest laughs came with an empathetic put-down of Islamic terrorists. “ISIS are like the Kardashians,” he quipped, “we don’t like them, but we made them famous.”

Stylistically, this was all straight, observational, one-man stand-up. Quirks are noted, anecdotes shares and riffed on, and then a punchline drops. But while the form may be familiar, the observations are not; Al Sayed is a shrewd satirist of Emirati life and the people who live here. It’s this clash of the global language and regional bite which stands Al Sayed apart as a genuinely regional voice — but one that can command cross-cultural appeal.

Dubai Comedy Festival continues until October 24. See dubaicomedyfest.ae

sasaeed@thenational.ae

MATCH INFO

Real Madrid 2

Vinicius Junior (71') Mariano (90+2')

Barcelona 0

MATCH INFO

Real Madrid 2

Vinicius Junior (71') Mariano (90+2')

Barcelona 0

MATCH INFO

Real Madrid 2

Vinicius Junior (71') Mariano (90+2')

Barcelona 0

MATCH INFO

Real Madrid 2

Vinicius Junior (71') Mariano (90+2')

Barcelona 0

MATCH INFO

Real Madrid 2

Vinicius Junior (71') Mariano (90+2')

Barcelona 0

MATCH INFO

Real Madrid 2

Vinicius Junior (71') Mariano (90+2')

Barcelona 0

MATCH INFO

Real Madrid 2

Vinicius Junior (71') Mariano (90+2')

Barcelona 0

MATCH INFO

Real Madrid 2

Vinicius Junior (71') Mariano (90+2')

Barcelona 0

MATCH INFO

Real Madrid 2

Vinicius Junior (71') Mariano (90+2')

Barcelona 0

MATCH INFO

Real Madrid 2

Vinicius Junior (71') Mariano (90+2')

Barcelona 0

MATCH INFO

Real Madrid 2

Vinicius Junior (71') Mariano (90+2')

Barcelona 0

MATCH INFO

Real Madrid 2

Vinicius Junior (71') Mariano (90+2')

Barcelona 0

MATCH INFO

Real Madrid 2

Vinicius Junior (71') Mariano (90+2')

Barcelona 0

MATCH INFO

Real Madrid 2

Vinicius Junior (71') Mariano (90+2')

Barcelona 0

MATCH INFO

Real Madrid 2

Vinicius Junior (71') Mariano (90+2')

Barcelona 0

MATCH INFO

Real Madrid 2

Vinicius Junior (71') Mariano (90+2')

Barcelona 0

Living in...

This article is part of a guide on where to live in the UAE. Our reporters will profile some of the country’s most desirable districts, provide an estimate of rental prices and introduce you to some of the residents who call each area home.

Living in...

This article is part of a guide on where to live in the UAE. Our reporters will profile some of the country’s most desirable districts, provide an estimate of rental prices and introduce you to some of the residents who call each area home.

Living in...

This article is part of a guide on where to live in the UAE. Our reporters will profile some of the country’s most desirable districts, provide an estimate of rental prices and introduce you to some of the residents who call each area home.

Living in...

This article is part of a guide on where to live in the UAE. Our reporters will profile some of the country’s most desirable districts, provide an estimate of rental prices and introduce you to some of the residents who call each area home.

Living in...

This article is part of a guide on where to live in the UAE. Our reporters will profile some of the country’s most desirable districts, provide an estimate of rental prices and introduce you to some of the residents who call each area home.

Living in...

This article is part of a guide on where to live in the UAE. Our reporters will profile some of the country’s most desirable districts, provide an estimate of rental prices and introduce you to some of the residents who call each area home.

Living in...

This article is part of a guide on where to live in the UAE. Our reporters will profile some of the country’s most desirable districts, provide an estimate of rental prices and introduce you to some of the residents who call each area home.

Living in...

This article is part of a guide on where to live in the UAE. Our reporters will profile some of the country’s most desirable districts, provide an estimate of rental prices and introduce you to some of the residents who call each area home.

Living in...

This article is part of a guide on where to live in the UAE. Our reporters will profile some of the country’s most desirable districts, provide an estimate of rental prices and introduce you to some of the residents who call each area home.

Living in...

This article is part of a guide on where to live in the UAE. Our reporters will profile some of the country’s most desirable districts, provide an estimate of rental prices and introduce you to some of the residents who call each area home.

Living in...

This article is part of a guide on where to live in the UAE. Our reporters will profile some of the country’s most desirable districts, provide an estimate of rental prices and introduce you to some of the residents who call each area home.

Living in...

This article is part of a guide on where to live in the UAE. Our reporters will profile some of the country’s most desirable districts, provide an estimate of rental prices and introduce you to some of the residents who call each area home.

Living in...

This article is part of a guide on where to live in the UAE. Our reporters will profile some of the country’s most desirable districts, provide an estimate of rental prices and introduce you to some of the residents who call each area home.

Living in...

This article is part of a guide on where to live in the UAE. Our reporters will profile some of the country’s most desirable districts, provide an estimate of rental prices and introduce you to some of the residents who call each area home.

Living in...

This article is part of a guide on where to live in the UAE. Our reporters will profile some of the country’s most desirable districts, provide an estimate of rental prices and introduce you to some of the residents who call each area home.

Living in...

This article is part of a guide on where to live in the UAE. Our reporters will profile some of the country’s most desirable districts, provide an estimate of rental prices and introduce you to some of the residents who call each area home.

Ziina users can donate to relief efforts in Beirut

Ziina users will be able to use the app to help relief efforts in Beirut, which has been left reeling after an August blast caused an estimated $15 billion in damage and left thousands homeless. Ziina has partnered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to raise money for the Lebanese capital, co-founder Faisal Toukan says. “As of October 1, the UNHCR has the first certified badge on Ziina and is automatically part of user's top friends' list during this campaign. Users can now donate any amount to the Beirut relief with two clicks. The money raised will go towards rebuilding houses for the families that were impacted by the explosion.”

Ziina users can donate to relief efforts in Beirut

Ziina users will be able to use the app to help relief efforts in Beirut, which has been left reeling after an August blast caused an estimated $15 billion in damage and left thousands homeless. Ziina has partnered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to raise money for the Lebanese capital, co-founder Faisal Toukan says. “As of October 1, the UNHCR has the first certified badge on Ziina and is automatically part of user's top friends' list during this campaign. Users can now donate any amount to the Beirut relief with two clicks. The money raised will go towards rebuilding houses for the families that were impacted by the explosion.”

Ziina users can donate to relief efforts in Beirut

Ziina users will be able to use the app to help relief efforts in Beirut, which has been left reeling after an August blast caused an estimated $15 billion in damage and left thousands homeless. Ziina has partnered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to raise money for the Lebanese capital, co-founder Faisal Toukan says. “As of October 1, the UNHCR has the first certified badge on Ziina and is automatically part of user's top friends' list during this campaign. Users can now donate any amount to the Beirut relief with two clicks. The money raised will go towards rebuilding houses for the families that were impacted by the explosion.”

Ziina users can donate to relief efforts in Beirut

Ziina users will be able to use the app to help relief efforts in Beirut, which has been left reeling after an August blast caused an estimated $15 billion in damage and left thousands homeless. Ziina has partnered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to raise money for the Lebanese capital, co-founder Faisal Toukan says. “As of October 1, the UNHCR has the first certified badge on Ziina and is automatically part of user's top friends' list during this campaign. Users can now donate any amount to the Beirut relief with two clicks. The money raised will go towards rebuilding houses for the families that were impacted by the explosion.”

Ziina users can donate to relief efforts in Beirut

Ziina users will be able to use the app to help relief efforts in Beirut, which has been left reeling after an August blast caused an estimated $15 billion in damage and left thousands homeless. Ziina has partnered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to raise money for the Lebanese capital, co-founder Faisal Toukan says. “As of October 1, the UNHCR has the first certified badge on Ziina and is automatically part of user's top friends' list during this campaign. Users can now donate any amount to the Beirut relief with two clicks. The money raised will go towards rebuilding houses for the families that were impacted by the explosion.”

Ziina users can donate to relief efforts in Beirut

Ziina users will be able to use the app to help relief efforts in Beirut, which has been left reeling after an August blast caused an estimated $15 billion in damage and left thousands homeless. Ziina has partnered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to raise money for the Lebanese capital, co-founder Faisal Toukan says. “As of October 1, the UNHCR has the first certified badge on Ziina and is automatically part of user's top friends' list during this campaign. Users can now donate any amount to the Beirut relief with two clicks. The money raised will go towards rebuilding houses for the families that were impacted by the explosion.”

Ziina users can donate to relief efforts in Beirut

Ziina users will be able to use the app to help relief efforts in Beirut, which has been left reeling after an August blast caused an estimated $15 billion in damage and left thousands homeless. Ziina has partnered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to raise money for the Lebanese capital, co-founder Faisal Toukan says. “As of October 1, the UNHCR has the first certified badge on Ziina and is automatically part of user's top friends' list during this campaign. Users can now donate any amount to the Beirut relief with two clicks. The money raised will go towards rebuilding houses for the families that were impacted by the explosion.”

Ziina users can donate to relief efforts in Beirut

Ziina users will be able to use the app to help relief efforts in Beirut, which has been left reeling after an August blast caused an estimated $15 billion in damage and left thousands homeless. Ziina has partnered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to raise money for the Lebanese capital, co-founder Faisal Toukan says. “As of October 1, the UNHCR has the first certified badge on Ziina and is automatically part of user's top friends' list during this campaign. Users can now donate any amount to the Beirut relief with two clicks. The money raised will go towards rebuilding houses for the families that were impacted by the explosion.”

Ziina users can donate to relief efforts in Beirut

Ziina users will be able to use the app to help relief efforts in Beirut, which has been left reeling after an August blast caused an estimated $15 billion in damage and left thousands homeless. Ziina has partnered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to raise money for the Lebanese capital, co-founder Faisal Toukan says. “As of October 1, the UNHCR has the first certified badge on Ziina and is automatically part of user's top friends' list during this campaign. Users can now donate any amount to the Beirut relief with two clicks. The money raised will go towards rebuilding houses for the families that were impacted by the explosion.”

Ziina users can donate to relief efforts in Beirut

Ziina users will be able to use the app to help relief efforts in Beirut, which has been left reeling after an August blast caused an estimated $15 billion in damage and left thousands homeless. Ziina has partnered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to raise money for the Lebanese capital, co-founder Faisal Toukan says. “As of October 1, the UNHCR has the first certified badge on Ziina and is automatically part of user's top friends' list during this campaign. Users can now donate any amount to the Beirut relief with two clicks. The money raised will go towards rebuilding houses for the families that were impacted by the explosion.”

Ziina users can donate to relief efforts in Beirut

Ziina users will be able to use the app to help relief efforts in Beirut, which has been left reeling after an August blast caused an estimated $15 billion in damage and left thousands homeless. Ziina has partnered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to raise money for the Lebanese capital, co-founder Faisal Toukan says. “As of October 1, the UNHCR has the first certified badge on Ziina and is automatically part of user's top friends' list during this campaign. Users can now donate any amount to the Beirut relief with two clicks. The money raised will go towards rebuilding houses for the families that were impacted by the explosion.”

Ziina users can donate to relief efforts in Beirut

Ziina users will be able to use the app to help relief efforts in Beirut, which has been left reeling after an August blast caused an estimated $15 billion in damage and left thousands homeless. Ziina has partnered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to raise money for the Lebanese capital, co-founder Faisal Toukan says. “As of October 1, the UNHCR has the first certified badge on Ziina and is automatically part of user's top friends' list during this campaign. Users can now donate any amount to the Beirut relief with two clicks. The money raised will go towards rebuilding houses for the families that were impacted by the explosion.”

Ziina users can donate to relief efforts in Beirut

Ziina users will be able to use the app to help relief efforts in Beirut, which has been left reeling after an August blast caused an estimated $15 billion in damage and left thousands homeless. Ziina has partnered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to raise money for the Lebanese capital, co-founder Faisal Toukan says. “As of October 1, the UNHCR has the first certified badge on Ziina and is automatically part of user's top friends' list during this campaign. Users can now donate any amount to the Beirut relief with two clicks. The money raised will go towards rebuilding houses for the families that were impacted by the explosion.”

Ziina users can donate to relief efforts in Beirut

Ziina users will be able to use the app to help relief efforts in Beirut, which has been left reeling after an August blast caused an estimated $15 billion in damage and left thousands homeless. Ziina has partnered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to raise money for the Lebanese capital, co-founder Faisal Toukan says. “As of October 1, the UNHCR has the first certified badge on Ziina and is automatically part of user's top friends' list during this campaign. Users can now donate any amount to the Beirut relief with two clicks. The money raised will go towards rebuilding houses for the families that were impacted by the explosion.”

Ziina users can donate to relief efforts in Beirut

Ziina users will be able to use the app to help relief efforts in Beirut, which has been left reeling after an August blast caused an estimated $15 billion in damage and left thousands homeless. Ziina has partnered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to raise money for the Lebanese capital, co-founder Faisal Toukan says. “As of October 1, the UNHCR has the first certified badge on Ziina and is automatically part of user's top friends' list during this campaign. Users can now donate any amount to the Beirut relief with two clicks. The money raised will go towards rebuilding houses for the families that were impacted by the explosion.”

Ziina users can donate to relief efforts in Beirut

Ziina users will be able to use the app to help relief efforts in Beirut, which has been left reeling after an August blast caused an estimated $15 billion in damage and left thousands homeless. Ziina has partnered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to raise money for the Lebanese capital, co-founder Faisal Toukan says. “As of October 1, the UNHCR has the first certified badge on Ziina and is automatically part of user's top friends' list during this campaign. Users can now donate any amount to the Beirut relief with two clicks. The money raised will go towards rebuilding houses for the families that were impacted by the explosion.”

The specs

Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbo hybrid

Transmission: eight-speed automatic

Power: 390bhp

Torque: 400Nm

Price: Dh340,000 ($92,579

The specs

Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbo hybrid

Transmission: eight-speed automatic

Power: 390bhp

Torque: 400Nm

Price: Dh340,000 ($92,579

The specs

Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbo hybrid

Transmission: eight-speed automatic

Power: 390bhp

Torque: 400Nm

Price: Dh340,000 ($92,579

The specs

Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbo hybrid

Transmission: eight-speed automatic

Power: 390bhp

Torque: 400Nm

Price: Dh340,000 ($92,579

The specs

Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbo hybrid

Transmission: eight-speed automatic

Power: 390bhp

Torque: 400Nm

Price: Dh340,000 ($92,579

The specs

Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbo hybrid

Transmission: eight-speed automatic

Power: 390bhp

Torque: 400Nm

Price: Dh340,000 ($92,579

The specs

Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbo hybrid

Transmission: eight-speed automatic

Power: 390bhp

Torque: 400Nm

Price: Dh340,000 ($92,579

The specs

Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbo hybrid

Transmission: eight-speed automatic

Power: 390bhp

Torque: 400Nm

Price: Dh340,000 ($92,579

The specs

Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbo hybrid

Transmission: eight-speed automatic

Power: 390bhp

Torque: 400Nm

Price: Dh340,000 ($92,579

The specs

Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbo hybrid

Transmission: eight-speed automatic

Power: 390bhp

Torque: 400Nm

Price: Dh340,000 ($92,579

The specs

Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbo hybrid

Transmission: eight-speed automatic

Power: 390bhp

Torque: 400Nm

Price: Dh340,000 ($92,579

The specs

Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbo hybrid

Transmission: eight-speed automatic

Power: 390bhp

Torque: 400Nm

Price: Dh340,000 ($92,579

The specs

Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbo hybrid

Transmission: eight-speed automatic

Power: 390bhp

Torque: 400Nm

Price: Dh340,000 ($92,579

The specs

Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbo hybrid

Transmission: eight-speed automatic

Power: 390bhp

Torque: 400Nm

Price: Dh340,000 ($92,579

The specs

Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbo hybrid

Transmission: eight-speed automatic

Power: 390bhp

Torque: 400Nm

Price: Dh340,000 ($92,579

The specs

Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbo hybrid

Transmission: eight-speed automatic

Power: 390bhp

Torque: 400Nm

Price: Dh340,000 ($92,579