Akmal


AkmalAkmal calls himself "the little brown bloke" who's not Carl Barron. So don't come to the show with the two confused. It will probably end badly for all involved.

This man is not just funny; he's a talented and daring professional who pushes the boundaries of his work – and every other boundary he comes across. In our hour with Akmal we cover topics from memory, ethnicity and cyber bullying to old age, penis size and Tony Abbott. And everything that naturally falls in between.

The brilliance of this show lies in Akmal's smooth transitioning from planned material to improvised comedy based on audience input. And when I say input, I mean just showing up. That's enough fodder for Akmal's weapon.

He takes heckling to a whole new level, both giving and receiving. A tip for audience members: if you want to be involved, sit down the front. If you want to check the footy results on your iPhone and keep it, DON'T sit in the front row.

You can see a comic genius at work as Akmal seizes the opportunities given him. When one man in the front row responds to Akmal's question of who he supports in AFL, this punter jokes "Depends who's winning" then proceeds to check the results on his iPhone. He doesn't find out. Instead, this man's phone occupies Akmal's back pocket for the rest of the show (making an excellent prop and getting dropped at a point of excitement – whoops, that wasn't planned!).

A couple comes in 20 minutes late and we all know they're in for it. The woman is wearing a large fur coat. "Woah, hey, a raccoon just died on you! No seriously, what is that animal? Is it really that cold? Naaaah you're just showing off, aren't ya." Akmal decides that her male companion must be in 'pharmaceuticals'. "Why are you late?" Our host asks mildly. The newcomers say they couldn't find parking. "Just pretend you're crippled," comes the sage advice from stage. "We've been worried sick about you!" He then returns to a previous train of thought, jumping from track to track mid-sentence. He's easily distracted, and as a comedian he's made that one of his best qualities.

He befriends a fellow Arab sitting near the front – this is Ali, an 'engineer' and fellow 'Leb'. Some of the jokes I'm sure I've heard before when I've seen him on TV, but they're not clear memories, just a familiarity with his type of material; that however doesn't stop them being funny.

"Any questions so far?" He asks this a few times throughout the night, and it normally leads to an audience member saying something, anything, and setting him off.

His favourite question is "So what do you do?" One confident man answers "I'm a lover." Akmal responds, "Oh, are you any good? Do you teach? No really, what do you do?" The answer is not quickly forthcoming. "You're in the army, aren't you? Or a policeman? I hope he's not a paramedic!"

This little brown bloke makes the audience his comedy routine. No one is safe, and if you can't laugh at yourself the way Akmal can – at himself and at you – then you may be in for an uncomfortable 15 seconds of fame. But don't worry, he'll get distracted soon enough and move on. Though be warned, once he's gotten to know you, he'll use you later on, especially if you're not giving him your full attention or unfortunate enough to be a Gen Y.

As we exit, the man himself is outside the theatre and a middle-aged woman pounces for a photo, saying to him "They call me the female Akmal!" He looks at her and says "I wouldn't take that well."

For true comedy talent, innovation and a complete lack of political correctness, you cannot pass Akmal. If you do, you'll probably find your iPhone missing.


A List Entertainment
Akmal

Venue: Athenaeum Theatre | 188 Collins St, Melbourne
Dates: 28 March – 22 April, 2012
Times: Tue–Sat 9.45pm, Sun 8.45pm
Duration: 60 minutes
Tickets: Fri–Sun $35 | Wed & Thu $33 | Tightarse Tuesday $30
Bookings: Ticketek 132 849 | venue 9650 1500



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