This is it. I've made it to 5 years performing comedy. I know that incomparison to a lot of performers and friends this milestone isn't much, but to me...it is. You see, when I first stepped out onto the stage to make people laugh, I never felt that comedy would become something more than a hobby or something I liked to do with my friends.
Since my first show at DUCTAC in 2011 at the Dubomedy Mix Tape I have performed all over the UAE, been in videos representing top brands and on leading comedy channels, launched products, hosted corporate events, Christmas parties, performed in countless bars, bombed a few times, headlined a few others and I'm only getting started.
I suppose the first 5 years can be the hardest in many ways. You're finding your feet and you're more likely to bomb and not do well, and this can get you down and put you off, but if you really have a passion for it (and I mean really) then you'll power through and come out of it on the other side a little bit more refined and redefined.
Comedy isn't easy. I've learnt that. I've been on stage since I was 7, so crowds and confidence wasn't the biggest issue. Writing material, trying it out, tweaking it or simply just binning a joke is the hardest. In my 5 years I must have tried something like 250+ different jokes. That's a hell of a lot of accents, actions, punchlines, set ups and, fortunately, laughs.
So how did I get here? I can't give myself all of the credit. In fact, I'd probably give myself almost no credit, because it's the friends, the comedians, the teachers and the mentors that have been my driving factor in all this. I'll keep it short, but there's definitely a few people to thank:
Mina, you were my first teacher and you still are. Thank you for helping my deliver my first performance (I still remember all the jokes) and for pulling together a very fine Improv troupe.
Omar Ismail, when people ask me who my favourite comedians are I say Jimmy Carr and you. I stand by saying that you're the funniest person in the UAE. Thanks.
My Improv colleagues, Alex, Mish and B, I love every moment performing with you. It's a pleasure and I can't wait to do it again and again!
David, you're the one 'non-comedian' friend in this list that I want to thank. From the beginning you came to my shows, did some designs and laughed at my shitty jokes (I'm not gonna do the American road design joke). Thanks and I'm sure I'll be performing in Sweden soon.
Jamil, although you're presence in my life is sporadic there have been a lot of key pieces of advice that you have imparted to me. Thanks for the N2O video and I hope we can join forces again soon.
Phil, it's only been a little over a year, but you've pushed me on and kept my head in the game. Thank you and I'm really excited about the future.
Ali, it sounds weird, but you're the first 'celebrity' figure that I could relate to. I see how people like Zayd look up to you, and they are absolutely right to. Thanks for working tirelessly to set up what is now a blooming comedy scene.
Comedian friends, there's just so many of you. When I started the UAE had about 60 comedians, now we're passing the 250 mark. it's always fun to see you at gigs, share bad and good experiences and enjoy some quality banter between our sets.
But there's definitely a few more people to thank. I'm trying not to make this sound Oscar-speechy, but to me, this needs to be said.
Mum and Dad, although one of you is here in Dubai and the other isn't it's been great to have support from you. I know comedy isn't a 'traditional' career path (and it took Dad some convincing that I could do it) but I really can't wait to share more of this journey with you.
Most important of all Maureen, my comedy career has been anything but glamourous to you. It's put financial pressure, stress and heartache on our relationship, but I am forever in your debt for your patience. We're finally doing better and I sincerely hope that this continues. Your consistency and unfading devotion to 'us' is amazing and has allowed me to get into the right state-of-mind. Thank you.
If you're still with me, it clearly means that my comedy 'career' has meant something to you. Thank you for coming to my shows, following me online and being here for the very beginning.
I've got plenty planned; ideas, dreams and jokes. So come with me and let's share this journey together, because life's too short not to laugh!