Asad Raza Khan
UAE-based performer, producer and writer Asad Raza Khan plays host to the show Image Credit: Supplied

If laughter is the best medicine, comics in the UAE have united to prescribe the audience a big dose of good health.

Last week saw the debut of the first-ever TV show based on local talent called ‘Comedy Adda’ and the fun is set to continue every week at 7pm on ARY Digital TV, post which it’ll be available on YouTube.

Asad Raza Khan, co-producer and host of the show, explains that what makes this line-up so unusual is it deals with many brands of humour, owing to its diverse cast of about 6 different nationalities. The common denominator is UAE. “[This show] is unique for two very specific reasons. Firstly, UAE is a melting pot for so many expats and nationalities, and just like that, different styles of humour has transfused to give a unique style of comedy here. Comedians are a mix of people who have just moved here, to those who have grown up here, so no two acts are alike. Secondly, the local flavour makes this show very relatable to the UAE audience. With references to shawarma, karma, Karama, Burj Khalifa, etc, loads of fun is in store,” he says.

The routines include games of improv, punch lines galore and in true emirates’ style, a mesh of languages; while the set is mostly in English, about 30 per cent of the acts are drawn from the participants’ own languages.

MK Maroof, the director and other producer of the show, explains, “All of them [participants] bring different flavors, different experiences, different dimensions to the show. We tried to ensure that you see the unique color that each bring and are entertained in the process. The comics who are taking part in the special are: Salman Zahid Qureshi, Mohamed Rushdi Rafeek, Miqdaad Dohadwala, Arzoo Malhotra, Imah Dumagay, Grace Chng, Osman Rohail, and Wasim Azeez.

This week's line-up includes: Qureshi, Rafeek and Azeez.

Ahead of the show we spoke to Qureshi and Rafeek. Here's what they had to say.

Salman Qureshi

Qureshi was born in Saudi Arabia and brought up in Dubai but traces his roots to Pakistan. He says: “My brand of humor would best be described as a bizarre viewpoint of the world.”

What’s got you laughing these days?

The horror movies on Netflix. They’ve just not been good lately.

What do you like to joke about? Describe your brand of humour.

My brand of humor would best be described as a bizarre viewpoint of the world.

How has the UAE comedy circuit evolved?

I started around the time that people didn’t event understand what was stand-up comedy. However, people took an instant liking to it. I feel mostly, people here love having a laugh and if it has evolved in any way it is that people now make it a part of their choices of entertainment consciously.

What’s your pet peeve when performing?

Badly organized events. Early on my career ive ended up at venues where, for example, the mic stopped working half way or, my favorite, there was a pillar between me and the audience!

Rushdie Rafeek

Sri-Lankan comedian Rafeek loves dark humour. He says he’s only benefitted from his penchant for jokes. He likes to laugh about “every trauma I’ve ever experienced, I have saved so much money not going to therapy”, he says.

What’s got you laughing these days?

The rate people think comedians charge for private and corporate shows.

What do you like to joke about?

Every trauma I've ever experienced, I have saved so much money not going to therapy.

Describe your brand of humour.

A combination of surreal and luxury.

How has the UAE comedy circuit evolved?

I was welcomed due to how brilliant I am and now I'm shunned for that same brillance. Its a curse being me.

What’s your pet peeve when performing?

My legs hurt and my memory fails me.

Give us a tiny sample of your work.

• unintelligible * (because its so tiny)