Big In Dubai!

Two Brits, one Yank, one Arab and few laughs. These four comedians may be popular in their home of Dubai, but they need to improve if they wish to make it big at the competitive Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Rule number one is not to insult your audience - something the ‘headliner’ Ali Al Sayed failed to adhere to. His jokes began discussing his travels across the globe, but gradually descended into attacking the audience; it was awkward to witness and lost him a lot of respect. His humour was equally self-deprecating, even if it did rely on racial stereotypes, but ultimately was just covering for a lack of material.

Elsewhere, the two Brits contrasted greatly. First up was Ray Addison. Given the shortest place in the set, there was less room for laughs but his anecdotes on life in Dubai and his family were honest and amusing. Jamie Johnson followed with a very under-rehearsed set, relying on a paper in his back pocket to keep him on track. Even then, his flow was stilted with frequent silent gaps. When the jokes came, they were aimed specifically at a gay audience which fell on the wrong ears. Filled with crude, misogynistic jokes on sexuality, the set was utterly derogatory.

That left our host for the evening, Nina Liccione, to raise the standard. Loud and brash, she was confident chatting to the audience and provided a string of good-natured jokes filled with pop references and impressions. That said, when the funniest part of the night is an (admittedly realistic) impression of Janice from Friends, it’s clear that more work is needed.

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
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Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
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The Blurb

Stars of the Dubai comedy scene chance their arm in Edinburgh. We don't pay tax so expect 40% more laughs! Join two Brits, an Arab and a Yank for an evening of international stand-up comedy!

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