Ready for some punchlines?
Qatar could do with some mid-week laughs, and come May 14, Punchline Comedy Club will be in town to try their charm on us.
The club began in Hong Kong in 1994 and has since provided a stage for the performance of renowned stand-up comics such as Russell Peters, Michael McIntyre, and Bill Bailey.
JustHere speaks to Andrew Stanley, Rob Deering and Paul Myrehaug, the comedians on the Middle East tour.
1. How do you source material for your acts or prepare for them?
Andrew Stanley: A lot of my stuff is based around everyday life and things that happen to my friends and me. So if nothing exciting happens to me for months, that’s a lean time on the material front.
Rob Deering: If I only knew! I sit down and write… that doesn’t do much. I play my musical instruments… that works better, but I often wander off into elaborate flights of non-comedy musical fantasy… so mainly I wait till I think of something ridiculous in life, then say it – or play it – on stage.
Paul Myrehaug: I find the best material comes from stories true to life. They’re the most honest and original pieces of material that I can prepare. When something strikes me as funny that happened to me I’ll write as much as possible on the subject at a coffee house and then start honing it on stage.
2. Do you have any inspirational figures in the world of stand-up comedy? If so, please name a few and how they inspire you.
AS: Jason Byrne is one of the best live comics you will ever see and his energy on stage is incredible. I have watched Eddie Murphy DVDs so many times as his presence as a stand up is amazing.
RD: I like the clowns of comedy; stand-up era Steve Martin, Harry Hill, Lee Mack… silliness and laughs are what comedy means to me, not truth-telling and badass-ery.
PM: My original inspiration was watching Eddie Murphy’s comedy special Raw as a teenager. My friends and I must have watched that special over 100 times. His stage presence is unmatched, just so strong.
3. How did you get started as a professional stand-up comic?
AS: I went to the Edinburgh Fringe and saw a show and then thought “Oh I might be able to do that.” Then I proceeded to ask everyone I knew if they thought I could do it for about three months and finally got up on stage after all that time. I was 19 and I was terrible. Because I was 19, I thought I was great.
RD: I’d been doing all kinds of performance, from falling over in pyjamas to Shakespeare and choral music, my whole life, when a comedian friend of mine offered me a stand-up gig. I had a light-bulb moment and never looked back.
PM: I started in Edmonton, Canada. I did amateur nights at a comedy club in the world’s largest shopping mall West Edmonton Mall. It was a great place to start as people from around the world would come out to the shows and I learned quickly to write material suited for people around the world. I started touring as a professional comic out of that club and eventually moved to Vancouver, Toronto and London England where I currently base out of.
4. Are you preparing any differently for your performance in Qatar than you have for your previous shows in other countries?
AS: Well usually before shows I will go through my material making certain that I have any local stuff ready and knowing some of the chats I will have with the audience and all that. For the Qatar shows however I am just making certain I have my sunscreen. I am going to explode in the sun.
RD: It won’t be any different in the essentials – anything I do change I’ll change on the night, once I know what the gig’s like.
PM: I will defiantly be bringing my storytelling style to Qatar and trying to find a set that is funny to all different walks of people. Being my first time performing there I’ll be trying to use the best material I have from my 12 years of experience.
5. What factors do you take into consideration while preparing your stand-up acts? Do you tailor your acts in accordance with the country/culture you perform in? Or do you prepare material solely based on the type of audience you will be entertaining?
AS: It all varies depending on the show. Because I do a lot of interactive stuff with the audience it changes night-to-night so we shall wait and see what people are there for me in the front row!
RD: More the audience than the country, definitely – you can never really know what a show is going to be like until you get there, after all. But ultimately I always start with what will entertain me, and then see whom else I can take with me.PM: I would say I base material more on the type of audience that will be attending. Shows are drastically different when you consider the audience. Corporate audience, young, older crowd, middle class, night club, upper class. All of these factors can change the material you use for a show.
The show will be held at the Hilton Doha with tickets priced at QR150 for only the show and QR300 for dinner and the show. Tickets can be purchased at Time Out Tickets or from Urban Events. Ticket sales will end on May 13 at 9pm.
Doors open at 7.30pm, dinner will be served at 8pm and the show will begin at 9pm.
This is strictly a 21+ event.