Video: Meet 'Mad Shadz', the Dubai resident behind the viral accent videos

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Video: Meet Mad Shadz, the Dubai resident behind the viral accent videos

Dubai - The 29-year-old Syrian national can imitate every accent in the world, well almost.


Nilanjana Gupta

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Published: Sat 28 Oct 2017, 1:48 PM

In a country that's home to more than 200 nationalities, some things can be lost in translation but Dubai resident Shadi Tohme is making the most of it - in a funny way.
The 29-year-old Syrian national can imitate every accent in the world, well almost. He became an internet sensation overnight after he uploaded his first accents video on Facebook in January 2016. His Facebook page that had 3,000 likes at that time, now has more than 500,000 likes and followers. His videos are shared hundreds and thousands of times and viewed by millions.

"I never realised that I have any talent. I was just doing accents. Who can't do accents? Many of my friends can. So I didn't think it was a big deal. However when I uploaded my first video on Facebook, I remember constantly getting likes, comments and shares. I was surprised at what was happening," Tohme, who moved to Dubai from Abu Dhabi in 2013, said the followers on his Facebook pages grew to a six-digit figure in no time.
"I thought maybe I have some special talent in me that's appealing to millions. I kept doing it and it landed me where I had never thought," he added.
Tohme quit his full-time job with Microsoft in December 2016 to pursue doing what he loves - acting and comedy. Now he also hosts events, collaborates with brands and holds public events.
His most popular video on Facebook, about men flirting with women in different accents, had more than 18 million views. He receives huge appreciation from people of various countries, ages and backgrounds. A few, however, don't take it so well. 
"About 0.1% of the comments say, "We don't talk like that. You're making fun of us." But if I am making fun of them, I am also making fun of myself as I am Syrian and I post videos of Syrian accent. I don't represent an entire culture. I just create a fictional character inspired by the people living around me," Tohme said.
His favourite accent he said is the Indian accent, followed by the Filipino and the West African accents. "I have grown up around Indians so the Indian English accent is the most endearing to me."
So what's his secret? Tohme said, "I observe a lot. I would carefully observe the way you talk, the way you walk, the way you touch your hair, the way you roll your eyes etc. With all those details I create a character in my mind and let it out on social media."
What keeps him going? Tohme added, "It's very gratifying to make people laugh whom you don't even know. Just recently someone messaged me on Facebook to make a video with his daughter who was suffering from cancer. It felt amazing to give smiles to someone who is so broken and hurt and going through tough challenges in life. I think it's the best feeling in the world." 

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