Jamali Maddix in Dubai

The 24-year-old British stand-up on his beginnings in comedy

Describe yourself in three words.
Hopefully funny, bearded and umm… lost for words.

How did you get into comedy?
I think I was funny growing up. I tried to do two jobs, but I lasted about a week in both of them. Someone kept telling me I should do comedy. So I went to watch a show and my friend had signed me up for the night without me knowing.

Why does comedy suit you?
I like the freedom of it; the lifestyle of it – waking up at noon, travelling and all that comes with it. It’s not a bad job to have. In fact, it’s the most fun I’ve ever had. In my last job, selling double glazing over the phone, I wouldn’t even make calls. I was just going for the basic. I wasn’t going for the commission [laughs]. I’d just sit there with the phone pretending to talk to someone, but there was no one on the other end. I realised comedy was really the only option I had so I gave it a shot.

You often discuss issues of race as part of your routine. Do you regret anything you have said?
I don’t really regret, but I started young, and everyone says things they regret.

What inspires your material?
Right now, it’s just where I am in my life and the experiences I’m having. I’m trying to live a little bit more. You’re going to die one day so you might as well have fun now.

What makes a good comic?
Honesty and being original. Some people are just naturally funny and anything they say is comical. You can learn to write jokes – there is a formula to it – but you can’t learn to be naturally funny.

When you started out three years ago, you were booed off stage. How do you handle that?
It’s a long car ride home. I’ve been booed twice actually, once in front of my sister and then in front of my mum. Since being booed off stage, I don’t think my mum believes I’m a full-time comedian. I think she still thinks I’m trying it out and that I’m just messing around. I think if you have a job that you want to do, everyone should get booed in front of their mum, because you learn more.

What can we expect from your Dubai show?
Some of the best comedians perform in Dubai. I’m looking to be respectful, but I’m looking to have fun. At the end of the day, it’s comedy and the audience are all adults and I’m sure they are all intelligent.

How successful would you like to be?
Honestly, I just want to produce good work. I’d like to have a fan base, take my little slice of the pie and travel, but I’m happy doing what I’m doing now. You know, if I don’t make ten million, I’m not going to die a sad man.
Dhs140. 9pm. Thu June 11. Grand Millennium Hotel, TECOM (04 355 1862).

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