Dubai: When Emirati national Thabit Al Mawaly started making YouTube videos as a new year’s resolution, little could he suspect that the online venture would put him on the path to celebrity.
The Emirati filmmaker and stand-up comedian now has more than 500,000 views on YouTube and his popularity shows no signs of waning.
The young Emirati Youtuber became a Dubai local celebrity through posting videos that tackle social and cultural habits via original comedy sketches.
“Making people laugh about sensitive issues is easier, as Oscar Wilde was once quoted saying, if you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh,”said Al Mawaly.
Born and raised in Dubai, 23-year old Thabit graduated from Mohamad bin Rashid School of Communication of the American University of Dubai and majored in Digital Production and Story Telling.
“I initially wanted to work in my major, film making. However, after I graduated I found that it was very difficult for an independent filmmaker to make it in the industry. As 2012 was approaching I was still figuring out what I wanted to do with my life so I thought why don’t I create my own YouTube channel and make videos.”
Al Mawaly’s first video “How to pick up girls in Dubai” was received with mixed reviews as people were still not aware of what he was trying to do. The video was a comical guideline that suggested that guys should own expensive cars and carry more than two phones to win a girls heart. “A certain percentage of the viewers who thought that I was being serious and did not receive the video very well but the ones who got the humor behind it liked it.”
All of Al Mawaly’s videos are mainly in English because he hopes to produce UAE content that people from all over the world can understand. Al Mawaly told Gulf News that he gets his video ideas from personal experiences that he has enjoyed at a particular period of time:“It can be anything from something that a friend does or says that I found funny.”
As we come to the end of 2012, Al Mawaly has clocked 536,247 video online views from 32 videos. Some of Al Mawaly’s videos include: “Blackberry in Dubai” that talks about how addictive Blackberry use has become in the region, “Kharoof”, which means sheep, holds the highest number of views (206,573) and is about a common Arab word used to describe men who run after women in the Arab world and many other videos.
In the long run Al Mawaly hopes to build a successful career in what he does best, making videos. As for future projects, Al Mawaly plans on surprising his audience with new videos in the upcoming weeks that he hopes to keep secret for the time being.