As the first female to perform with Stand Up Comedy Qatar, who better to give us the inside track on Doha’s emerging comedy scene? We caught up with the 41-year-old Canadian comic.
Tell us about Doha’s comedy scene. Any good?
There are a couple of comedy groups – LOL, which is an improv comedy troupe, a kind of theatresports thing like Whose Line is it Anyway? And then there is Stand Up Comedy Qatar (SUCQ) – and I’m a member of both.
Okay, so first tell us more about LOL.
It’s been going for two years, it started off as part of The Doha Players group. Our members come from all over. It used to be exclusively improv, but our last gig was a variety show, mixing stand-up and sketches, more like Saturday Night Live. But we still mainly do small group improv.
And Stand Up Comedy Qatar is all about stand up, right?
Exactly – SUCQ has been around a while, three or four years. I’ve just started with them because they saw me doing stand up and asked me to join them. Our last show featured ten performers from ten countries – India, America, Pakistan, Qatar, Egypt – at Qatar Youth Hub. They’ve also put on shows at CNA-Q (College of the North Atlantic Qatar) and opened for international acts. It’s really great and really fun, and because they have people from all over the world the comedy is so different. And now they have a woman it’s even more diverse.
Indeed – what’s it like being the first lady in the ranks?
Male comedians... are very interesting. They have a very different energy to women. But these guys are great – very welcoming and friendly and funny. But every time they introduce me as ‘the only girl’ it’s a little oppressive. Women are funny, but people don’t often think that. In most comedy shows all over the world nearly all the performers are men, but that’s starting to change. My comedy stands out for being different to the guys, and the audience really responds to that.
How have you seen the comedy scene in Doha develop?
It’s getting so much better. I’ve lived here for seven years and before this it was only The Laughter Factory – that’s great, but there was no local comedy – now with LOL and SUCQ it’s clear Doha is becoming funnier!
Well that’s good to hear.
It’s very important that there’s a scene here for comedy and the arts – it gives people an opportunity to showcase their talents, and gives Qatar a little bit more culture.
What would you like to see to help the scene improve further?
We need bigger venues – there’s a lot of emphasis on sports, but we need more places for arts projects, comedy, variety shows, cabaret, that kind of thing. And we need more girls to do stand up.
So, now it’s all about you – how did you get into comedy in the first place?
I’m incredibly hilarious! I’ve always been interested in theatre and always been very funny, so when working with the Doha Players all the naturally funny theatre people gravitated towards each other, which is how LOL started. I’d never done stand up comedy before.
And where do you get the inspiration for all this funniness?
My family – they’re hilarious, they’re dysfunctional – they’re just like every other family. Everybody in the world has a got a crazy brother and a loser aunt – I’ve got enough material to keep me going for years.
Contact LOL by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Find the ‘STCQ-Stand up comedy Qatar’ group on Facebook.