Review: Short + Sweet Comedy 2019
Saturday night was fun at the Red Carpet Gala Finale of Short + Sweet Comedy 2019. In its third edition, the event saw over 90 UAE-based comedians participate. Short+Sweet is a global festival brand, which presents theatre, dance, poetry, song and comedy, amongst other art forms. The region's largest comedy festival made its debut in 2017 and has grown every year. The only rule in the festival is the allotted time for a performance - your act has to be under five minutes! The shows (six shows, four days) at The Junction, Alserkal Avenue were not to be missed, but if you did, do drop by for the 2020 edition. And if you're in love with the S + S franchise, mark your calendar for its theatre edition, beginning January 24. We bring you some highlights.
Hats off to the spirit: When at one moment the mic failed, the applause increased. Anyone who's ever done a stand-up would know how any kind of glitch (like a mobile ringing or people walking) can interrupt your flow, and how an instant boost from the audience can put you back on track.
Language barriers: Acts in Hindi, Arabic and English made it to the finals, however, it didn't seem like a good idea to put them all under one umbrella. Perhaps, next year, we can expect better participation in specific languages so that full evenings can be dedicated to each. Over to you, performers.
Local, relatable: One expected more local jokes, especially on current topics of interest - from a long weekend to cloud seeding, for instance. However, most comics played it safe and relied on acts (good, nevertheless) including jokes on sex, regional accents and home town quirks. There was a mention of visas, deportation, and Sharjah - yawn! We could do better.
Where were the girls? The city is full of talented female comedians. In fact, last year's finale did see some women performers, but this time around there was barely a handful; it was disappointing. Ladies, come back, the stage awaits you.
Growing up too soon? While it was refreshing to watch children participate alongside adults, a young comedian's (under 12) excessive use of profanity mixed with vulgar jokes made everyone shift uncomfortably in their chairs. The longest five minutes, I must say.
Improv, music and more: Improv theatre and comedy are becoming increasingly popular in the city. No wonder two finalists (groups) took that route and made an honest, brilliant attempt. But, is the time allotted (five minutes) enough for an introduction, audience engagement, music piece and solo acts? Food for thought.
Original, bigger, better: The 20 finalists put up brilliant performances in terms of original writing, greater confidence and audience interaction. If you're a regular audience, you would have heard some of the jokes, before. But hey, we can all laugh at an old joke.
And the winners are .
Best New Act (Under 10 Shows): Khalisah Kay Eves
Best Joke: Kristina Gaponiuk
Spirit of the Festival: Aryan Anand
People's Choice Runner Up: Sundeep Fernandes
People's Choice Winner: Colin Armstrong
Judges' Choice Runner Up: Sundeep Fernandes
Judges' Choice Winner: Momos Laughs