RIYADH: The Kingdom’s premier global film operator, AMC Cinema, lined up several top comedians to entertain audiences at the ongoing stand-up comedy night in the King Abdullah Financial District last Thursday, for a fun night of laughs and community building.
The “Live at AMC” event, featuring new alternative content platform Smile Entertainment, featured Canadian Allyson June Smith, Briton Joe Jacobs and a surprise performance by Pakistani-born Briton Rehman Akhtar.
“I’m really excited because it gives them the opportunity to see something different. To see internationals who come to Saudi Arabia to perform in the Kingdom. This is a huge opportunity for Saudi Arabia to bring the average circuit comedian to Saudi Arabia and have a great experience and free publicity about the great experience they have had here,” said l host of the event, the Saudi Mishal. Meesh” Samman told Arab News ahead of the show.
The event was another attempt by the General Entertainment Authority to provide a wide range of entertainment for the Saudi public. AMC’s Stand-Up Comedy Night will return next month, featuring acclaimed performers from across the Kingdom and the wider region, as well as famous international artists.
“It will be continuous inshallah. We have more shows planned at AMC and we now have several requests from other venues in Riyadh, Jeddah and Al Khobar to produce regular comedy shows.
“We believe the time is right to move forward and we want the international comedians we bring in to leave with positive impressions from a receptive Saudi audience and become ambassadors for the Kingdom by spreading the word. shared and joyful experience of laughing together is really a way to bridge differences and cultures and comedy is a wonderful way to do that.
We also want to work alongside and in collaboration with the growing local stand-up comedy circuit to support this popular form of entertainment and encourage Saudi youth to consider live performance art in all its forms as a career path. potential,” said Peter Howarth-Lees. , founder and partner of Smile Entertainment.
“I think it’s fantastic that Saudi Arabia has opened up so much that they allow outside comedians to come into the country and perform their stand-up in English,” Samman said. “Let’s not forget there’s a huge expat community here and people who understand and love English comedy.”
The host introduced Smith, the first comedienne to take the stage at a live stand-up show in Saudi Arabia, who took jabs at popular singers, poked fun at finding love and warned against anyone with the name “Allyson”.
Smith said she was honored to be the first to bring female-centric comedy to the Kingdom and hoped to inspire Saudi women with her work.
“I’m so grateful to be able to be a part of this, to be that person. I really hope someone maybe saw what I did and realized you can do it. It’s a profession and it’s a job,” she told Arab News.
“What was really cool was getting on that stage and seeing so many other sisters looking at me and just laughing and loving it. This experience was just phenomenal and I hope everyone enjoyed it. appreciated, because the more support we get from people, the more we can do,” Smith said.
Smile Entertainment is one of the pioneers of live stand-up comedy in Saudi Arabia, having established an underground scene before the entertainment was embraced by the nation.
This was their second show in collaboration with the GEA, the first being before the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Today, coming back and doing our first show (after COVID-19), I have to tell you, seeing how (so) things are going, how beyond the General Entertainment Authority support. I remember when we couldn’t even apply for a permit to do the show and we had to do it underground, it’s like the difference between night and day,” the Smile co-founder said. Entertainment, Abeer Al-Fouti, at Arab News.
Bringing in seasoned international talent to perform on a Saudi stage and nurture local talent was a big goal for AMC and Smile.
“We have a lot of talent that is undeveloped, so mixing and matching and creating a space where people can still practice is important. This is how they grow and become great,” Al-Fouti said.
“At a time when the division is really big, I’m happy to be part of a solution, which is culture, which brings people together. Through laughter, we can forget about all our problems and just be happy and be together… It is important for us,” Al-Fouti added.