Now that Saudi Arabia officially has a Ministry of Entertainment, there’s no shortage of talent embracing the various opportunities which lie ahead in this field. Leading those who want to bring live entertainment and laughter to the millions of people who live in Saudi Arabia is Khaled Omar – one of the key performers at the Al Comedy Club in Jeddah, who’s just launched the first live musical comedy in the Kingdom.
Speaking to Arabia Now between sold out performances, Khaled said, “There are different types of comedy, including improv, stand up, and sketches. So we decided to put all of those types of comedy in a blender and put them in an hour and a half long play. It’s almost like something out of Disney, as we’ve got a good theme, great music, songs, jokes and really happy ending.”
The play “Ahmed and Aunt Sophia,” took a month to write, and then another month to rehearse, and finalize production and staging. They picked the name “Aunt Sophia,” as it’s a traditional Hijazi name, “which for some reasons often inspires many people to make jokes.” Clearly their formula is working. Although the creative team is made up of 4 to 5 writers, and the production team is about 12 people, the play also included some improv segments to involve audience members and children. Khaled told Arabia Now, “As a comedian, it’s fun to work with the crowds and have interaction with them.”
They certainly have lots of crowds and audience members to work with. Men and women are sitting together with their families to watch the 90 minute highly produced live show. Every show is totally sold out for the entire month of April, which is as long as the show is being performed for. Khaled Omar told Arabia Now, “The reaction has been really amazing. People are loving it. We have two back to back shows a day. The show at 8 has been phenomenal. We were oversold, and fully booked. We haven’t been able to handle all the number of people that want to come to see our show. It’s a great feeling. No matter how many chairs we add, there’s just not enough.”
That’s great news to hear for fans of comedy all over Saudi Arabia who hope to hear laughter coming off their stages in other cities around the Kingdom too. The Al Comedy Club is currently in talks with the Ministry of Entertainment to go on tour at many different venues across the country. Khaled Omar and his team are dreaming big, telling Arabia Now they want “The Al Comedy Club to become the number one comedy hub in the Middle East.”
As Saudi Arabia looks to bring more live entertainment and performances to the Kingdom, it would seem their dreams may soon come true. Khaled Omar told Arabia Now he recognizes those changes, “People say Saudi doesn’t have entertainment, but it does. You just have to start it. And we did. In August we want to want to try and do 8 to 12 shows a week. We’re such a small team, but we’re doing what we love, and we’re trying to change the world. One comedy show at a time.”