Pakistani comedian shakes bellies in Dubai

Pakistani comedian shakes bellies in Dubai
Salman Qureishi performs in Dubai

The UAE-based Pakistani expats, are the new breed of comedians in the city

By Natalia Ahmed

Published: Wed 14 Aug 2019, 5:41 PM

Last updated: Wed 14 Aug 2019, 7:44 PM

As Dubai has grown, the city attracts a number of performance artists, from actors and directors to comedians and stand-up comics. Over the past few years, Dubai has introduced a number of comedy clubs and performance schools, encouraging young and old alike to entertain Dubai's diverse audiences with hilarious stories and anecdotes.
One particular funny-man is Salman Qureishi, UAE-based Pakistani who turned to stand-up comedy in an effort to find some excitement in life. Having performed at the Courtyard Playhouse, the Junction, and other open spaces, Qureishi shares some of the challenges and perks of being a stand-up comedian in Dubai.
When asked about addressing international, diverse audiences in Dubai, he sees it as a boon, saying, "You get to connect with a wider range of topics, and it was more fun to get everyone to laugh at your jokes." 
For him, the goal was "to find commonalities instead of the differences between people". One interesting discovery is that, at the end of the day, most people have the same troubles, insecurities, and bumps in life, allowing him to unite a broad group under one roof, laughing at the same joke.
When asked about the future of stand-up, Qureishi sees this as long lasting, arguing that as a naked art-form, there is a sense of honesty about comics (emotionally) revealing themselves on stage. Because of its honesty, he says, "it might evolve, but people will always gravitate towards it".
Qureishi is also excited to announce a future mini-Gulf tour, where Dubai will work as a 'launching pad' for Qureishi's and Miqdaad's comedy tour, starting in December. Apart from this, the pair are also working on a web series, which is still in the early stages - so fans, keep an eye out!
When asked about any tips or pointers for younger comics, he urges them to perform at least 15-20 gigs, to get a feel of the stage. He says, "By then, you'll either get hooked, or you'll go, this is not for me'. It's important not to give up after one or two". Considering that some shows can go badly (even for experienced comics), it is important to perform multiple in order to find your stride, as a performer and a comedian.
Regarding Manjunath Naidu's unfortunate demise, Qureishi argues that stand-up comedy is a naked and volatile art-form, where "some days you're walking out like a rock-star, other days you're walking out with thoughts like, 'why am I even doing this?'" The unpredictability of audiences to laugh at jokes and personal stories can become anxiety inducing and can negatively affect a comic's mental health.
He points out that it is important for comics to speak to each other, that communication and awareness is important between comics to maintain mental stability.
Fortunately, the comedy community is ever-growing and ever-welcome of new faces and new ideas. As the art form rises in popularity, more and more local and regional comics enter Dubai's stages.
One hope for Qureishi is that Dubai grows to include more regional comics and make them an attraction for global audiences, rather than invite international comics to the stage. Luckily, we are able to see such growth in Dubai's comedy community and in audience acceptance of local comics.

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