Jun 25th, 2009 |
Me and Sherif got an early start on our second day in Riyadh. Waking up 9:30am, we both love having the breakfast they serve you at hotels. Sherif likes it because of the variety of food available. Me because I’m desi, and the shit is free. And no desi ever turns down free food.
Helping Taylor with some of the paperwork (photo releases) after breakfast. This was just too cute! A couple of girls from Jeddah had signed their release as “Tow Cute Girls”.
After a very slow morning (Facebooking, sleeping some more, heading to Maz’s place to fix his Facebook which had turned all Arabic), the entire crew met up downstairs for a lunch organized by one of the ‘sponsors’ of the tour. As you are all well aware, getting a visitor visa into Saudi Arabia is pretty difficult, especially if its a visit for entertainment reasons. Fahad had helped expedite the process of getting approved.
You can already tell this man is connected.
The lunch took place in the very well known Kingdom Towers (Mamlaka building) at the 4Seasons hotel. There was more food than you can possibly imagine. They had a pasta room, an Arab food room, a seafood room, a chocolate room, a dessert room…. Ahmed, Maz and the rest of us were overwhelmed. I just found myself a nice little corner, had some sushi (mmmm…Wasabi) and a Chocolate Banana Crepe.
Kingdom Towers. Riyadh’s best recognized landmark and a source of hilarity for locals due to its ability to repel 9/11 type attacks.
Us engaging in the gluttony that only comedy crews do best. Chomp Chomp.
After lunch, we would split up again: Film crew went out to explore Riyadh while the comedians went back to prepare for their shows.
Back to Al-Wadi
With the sun setting over the Riyadh sands, all of us converged back to the Al-Wadi compound for the second and final public comedy show of the tour. The show went down pretty similar to the first Riyadh show, but being a Friday night (its like a Sunday night in the west), the audience was a little older and mature. As I would find out later, there were several princes and princesses in the audience that night.
I’ll let the pictures do most of the talking this post!
The crew setting up the venue before the show begins. Takes a lot of hard work to get the place set up people. We have sound guys, lighting guys, camera guys (like yours truly!).
Todd actually went up to the stage before the show began and tried out his own version of comedy. He actually told this joke on the mic to the audience: “A Rabbit and a Bear are in a forest taking a crap. The bear asks the rabbit, does the crap stick to your fur? Rabbit says no. So the bear pucks up the rabbit and wipes his ass with it”. Call me immature but I loled. Hard.
Backstage, the experienced comedians giving a pre-show talk to the newbies. Comedy is new in Saudi Arabia, and the small bits of advice go a long way to improving the professionalism of the locals.
Ahmed practicing martial arts before before the show. Of course he is… seems like the most logical thing to do…!
The Show Begins
It had already been a long day for me, and I found myself downing a few Red Bulls over the course of the night just to stay awake. Given my low tolerance for caffeine drinking Red Bulls causes my heart to start racing… maybe I should stick to Diet Coke.
The show started more or less on time, most of the equipment was already set up from the previous night and the only waiting we did was for some of the royals to arrive!
Ahmed starting off the show. You can tell he’s up to no good. My personal favorite Ahmed joke was an improv. Someone in the crowd shouted: “I can’t here you, theres an echo!” to which Ahmed replies: “Echo? Story of my life buddy, my name is Ahmed Ahmed”.
Kareem Abu-Naemeh, making his debut in the world of comedy.
Abdullah Mohammad bringing a very professional attitude to the stage. His serious sounding attitude brought quite a few unexpected laughs!
And of course, my roommate at the Sheraton, Sherif Azab! I’ve been following Sherif’s career since almost the beginning. Seen him in Dhahran, Al-Khobar, Jeddah, Cairo, Alexandria. He just KEEPS getting better every time!
Ibraheem Alkhairallah, or better known just as “Khairo” among his friends. The man’s antics on stage kept the crowd going late into the night!
And bringing the show home! The insanely hilarious, Mr. “Boot Boot Reboot himself: Maz Jobrani!
End of the show, and hundreds of fans lined up to take pictures with and have shirts signed by the celebrities. One day, people will ask me to sign their shirts. Until then, I will stalk them and take their pictures.
A day of constant running around and this photographer is TIRED. The Pepsi is there to detox from all the Red Bull I’ve been taking.
Mind was still sharp though, and after all the fans had left, I got Ahmed and Maz together to do a bit of a personal shot! I is officially endorsed!
Still wasn’t the end of the night though! The crew left for and after-show ‘gathering’ at a private compound. I went for the food. So did Rehman and Maz.
It was 4am as we walked out of the compound and the calls of the Minarets for the dawn prayer were already echoing across Riyadh. And for one tired photographer, this was time to head back to the hotel and get some shut eye. Had to be early… again.. next morning.
Up Next! A VIP show for diplomats at the British Embassy! Don’t miss it!
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