Young Saudi Comics Avoid Religion, Politics in Stand-up Acts

Young Saudi Comics Avoid Religion, Politics in Stand-up Acts

Saudi comedian Adel Radwan could riff on the many cultural differences between his country and western nations during his stand-up act.

Instead, Radwan pokes fun at more traditional topics, the kind that don’t press a single hot button. So when Radwan trots out his material audiences they won’t hear the comic poke fun at his country’s stern moral codes or Islam.

I don’t talk about religion, sex or politics, it’s very possible to have a comedy show without these things,” says Adel Radwan, a full-time practising dentist and part-time stand-up comedian. “These are the easy ways to make people laugh.

Comedy is becoming more popular in Saudi Arabia all the same, in part due to the lack of entertainment options currently available, according to the English language newspaper in Abu Dhabi, The National.

Fellow Saudi Arabian comic Lama’an follows Radwan’s material choices even if one of her comedy idols is known for not holding back.

Lama’an, who does not like to use her family name, also steers clear of anything that might be deemed too controversial. Her favourite comic, America’s Louis C K, is known for his dark observational humour about his life as a single parent. But as with Radwan, sex and religion are no-go areas. “It’s enough that I’m a girl from Saudi Arabia, a conservative place. I don’t even want to make jokes about these things.