Well-known to British TV audiences as one of the biggest names in live comedy, Manford should also be familiar to long-term fans of Dubai’s Laughter Factory. The region’s longest-running comedy club has been bringing rising stars of the stand-up circuit for 18 years with Manford included in a glittering roster of former players. Despite returning as a solo performer and superstar in his own right, Manford’s career trajectory has not been entirely unblemished. Tabloid scandals forced him to leave a coveted job with the BBC and precipitated an amicable separation from his wife. Repeated claims of inappropriate behaviour also threatened to see the Manchester-born comedian’s popularity wane. An enormous fan base, however, have not deserted the comedian, who is still familiar to many as a regular guest on TV shows such as QI, 8 out of 10 Cats and Big Fat Quiz of the Year. Despite branching out beyond comedy with critically acclaimed appearances on reality television show Born To Shine and a West End musical stint opposite Michael Ball in Sweeney Todd, the funny business is still the name of the game. The Dubai visit comes in the middle (directly between gigs in Hull and Crewe, in fact) of a 180 date tour taking Manford to all corners of the UK.
Jason Manford Live in Dubai. From Dhs300. Sunday June 22-Monday June 23, Al Jumeirah Ballroom, Crowne Plaza Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 355 1862).
The expression ‘back by popular demand’ is used a little too quickly in showbusiness. But South African comedian Trevor Noah’s stint at the Ductac theatre comes just two months after his last show at the same venue. Growing up in Soweto in apartheid-era South Africa may not seem the most obvious background to a career in comedy but the mixed-race funnyman never struggles for laughs whatever the subject. His charming, laid-back approach to life is establishing him as a truly global comedian in the Russell Peters mold. As if numerous UK TV appearances and an award-winning Edinburgh Festival show were not enough, sell-out gigs in Montreal, New York, Germany and Australia as well as ground-breaking spots on Jay Leno and David Letterman’s chat shows could well propel Noah into the comedic stratosphere. Catch him now before he becomes too famous.
Trevor Noah Live in Dubai. From Dhs280. Wednesday May 28-Thursday May 29, Ductac, Mall of the Emirates, Al Barsha (055 599 1595).
Comedy World Club Cup
Something of a newcomer to the comedy circuit in Dubai is start-up promoter The Comedy Club. We’re always interested when somebody is bringing international talent to our shores but are particularly intrigued by this new event. Promising the ‘cream of talent from the UAE’s comedy scene’ this night will see eight comedians of different nationalities compete in an international battle of wits. Representatives from England, Scotland, Iran, India, Pakistan, Australia, Tanzania and the UAE will battle for your giggles and the audience vote will decide the winner.
Comedy Club World Cup. From Dhs75. Thursday May 22-Friday May 23. Courtyard by Marriott, Green Community, Jebel Ali (050 771 5769).
The Play That Goes Wrong
Not stand-up, but still live and funny is the upcoming production at the Madinat Theatre. Described as a cross between an Agatha Christie novel and TV sitcom Fawlty Towers it has enjoyed two successful runs in the West End, good reviews at the Edinburgh Festival and sell-out tours across the UK before pitching up in Dubai. Based around the fictional farce of the Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society’s attempt to put on a 1920’s murder mystery, we’re expecting slapstick, surrealism and a side order of fun times. If you’re a regular in the crowd at stand-up shows broaden your belly laugh horizons with a trip to the theatre.
The Play That Goes Wrong. From Dhs160. Thursday June 5-Saturday June 7. Madinat Theatre, Umm Suqeim (050 880 5074)