Welcome to the final post on the LOL Comedy Tour with the comedy show that none of you probably heard about. But it happened and I’m still stunned it did. Read on!
Things were looking good! I finally got a good amount of sleep the night before and was no longer a walking zombie. With Ahmed and Maz preoccupied with other matters, it left the Taylor, Todd, Ali and Me free to spend the day in Riyadh and work on the documentary. We’d planned out an interview session with the comedians and Fahad that afternoon in the Sheraton.
With 4 hours to go before the comedy show that night, we spent a very decadent afternoon fooding at the very posh Faisaliya Hotel: a very high class hotel located in the heart of Riyadh, catering to a very luxurious lifestyle… I had a burger.
Alright, alright, I’ve been putting it off too long. So here’s the story: I noted before, in one of my earlier posts that the comedy shows were frequented by many from the royal family. Well, one of these royals was Amir Khalid bin Sultan Al-Saud. At the end of the show, he mentioned to Peter that he loved the show but wished his cousins could make it. Peter off handedly (I think it was a joke?) said that he should hold a private show for them. The Prince just said yes. Stunned as we were (something like this is unprecedented as far as I know), we went ahead.
And that’s how we ended up performing an exclusive comedy show for Saudi princes and princesses. We’d already been to his palace the night before and decided upon the venue: the family ‘tent’. Only it wasn’t really a tent. You could fit my house in there. Hell, you could probably fit 10 of my houses in there. The tour of his palace left me feeling awestruck…. and wholly inadequate..!
The ‘crowd’ amounted to 20-30 mostly princesses, a few princes and the help staff. We were strictly told not to take any pictures of the princesses…. on penalty of death…! Ok so I made up the death part. But they were very strict! As such, you will see no shots of the crowd here. The show itself was a minature one, with Ahmed hosting and the local comedians being represented by Sherif Azab and Khalid Khalifa.
After the show and the photo session, dinner was served for us. Was an amazing arrangement, that’s was for sure. I doubt the cook will ever read my blog, but my GOD, that strawberry cake thing was amazing! With the dinner over, the entire crew bid their farewell to the Prince and thanked him for his amazing hospitality.
The hardest part of every comedy tour. When you’ve been traveling day and night with a group of people for the better part of a week, you get pretty close. Relying on each other to get the job done, looking out for each other… We all had to go our separate ways at this point. Ahmed would be staying another day in Riyadh. Maz would be flying off to LA to see his kid that same night. Todd, Ali and Peter back to their lives and day jobs in Riyadh. Me, back to Dhahran.
Maz and Ahmed both asked me to drop by if I’m ever around LA. I do plan to, but I can’t be sure when I’ll go there. Ahmed’s documentary “Smile on Arabia: Just Like Us” would be released later this year. And he asked me to come in for the premier That should be fun, since I’m already on the credits!
I would be flying out of Riyadh that night, so I took a ride (graciously offered by Abdullah Alshihri) to the airport. We’d already sent one of the drivers up ahead with my documentation to check me in so all I had to do was pick up my boarding pass and walk straight to the plane.
Sitting in my seat, heading back home, it suddenly hit me what we had accomplished. In one of the most conservative countries in the world, we had just successfully run entertainment events which would, until a year ago, be unheard of! Over 3,000 (4k?) people laughing. We brushed shoulders with some of the most powerful people in Saudi Arabia: Royalty, Heads of Multinational companies, Diplomats, Media Figures…. the list goes on.
And we had a great time! In the end, I’d like to thank Peter Howarth-Lees for arranging all of this, and for bringing me in! Peter, I’d love to do it again! But most of all, I’d like to thank you guys: yes you the people of Saudi Arabia, for making all of this possible. For showing up to the events and laughing into the night. And most of all, for putting up with any shortcoming we might have hit in the trip. We’ll keep working to get better, promise!
Love you guys!
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