DUBAI: Netflix has announced a new show that features stand-up comedians from the Arab world.
“Comedians of the World” – expected to debut on Jan. 1 – will be the first of its kind to feature Arab comedians, according to Netflix.
The series brought together 47 comedians from 13 regions around the world and was filmed in eight languages. Four comedians from the Middle East made the cut — Moayad Al-Nefaie and Ibraheem Al-Khairallah from Saudi Arabia, Adi Khalefa from Palestine and Rawsan Hallak from Jordan. Each of the talents will have a 30-minute stand-up special dedicated to them.
“After 12 years of doing stand-up comedy, this was like a big reward for me and I hope this is just the first step,” Khalefa told Arab News.
From Nazareth — commonly known as “the Arab capital of Israel” — Khalefa has performed in multiple comedy festivals around the world and his latest show, “Billiat-Show” — inspired by his personal, social and political experiences — sold out more than eight times.
For Al-Khairallah, being part of a platform that showcases internationally acclaimed comedians such as US funnyman Dave Chappelle is an honor.
“I love Dave Chappelle so much, so when I go on Netflix and see a show I am featured in right next to a show of Dave Chapelle, I feel blessed,” he said.
Before stand-up comedy, Al-Khairallah worked in banking in Saudi Arabia and only took his act to the stage as a hobby.
Meanwhile, Hallak said that she feels proud to represent Arab and hijab-wearing women in comedy.
“It’s not easy to be an Arab female comedian, but it sends a strong message, because generally speaking, we don’t have the confidence to put ourselves out there and share our thoughts and opinions, but so far the response from my audiences has been good,” she said.
Hallak explained that viewers should expect her material to be based on lighthearted subjects that affect women.
“I like to focus on stories and issues that involve women, such as the latest fashion trends,” she said.
Meanwhile, Khalefa said he likes to talk about his feelings and anything that he finds funny — but if viewers expect comedy with a moral message, it just isn’t his style.
“Mr. Bean, who is a comedic genius, makes comedy about nothing and he is extremely respected. So, it is not necessary to have a message in your stand-up. But I like to vary my style too, so whatever I find funny, really,” he said.
For the stand-up stars, the Netflix show has given them an opportunity to take their brand of comedy to a global audience.
“Netflix has so many viewers worldwide, taking us from a local level to an international one,” Hallak said.