One of the comedians currently touring the UAE with the Laughter Factory is Sean Collins, a Canadian stand-up now living in sunny England. We quiz the funnyman about Canadian humour, British comedy and the Welsh.
There are quite a few Canadians here and they're quite a patriotic bunch. Did you hear the chaos that erupted when the first Tim Hortons opened in Dubai?
There's actually one in Afghanistan, too! I've done eight gigs out there for British forces and the first time I landed in Kandahar, I'm walking around and on the boardwalk there's a Tim Hortons. I shook my head. Then lined up for a double-double.
Living in England, how do you show your national pride?
I'm sorry to say that I have absolutely no national pride. I think being English has taken over me. Canadians talk too much, anyway. At the Comedy Store in the UK I went outside for a break, and these Canadians came up to me, who had seen me in 1998 and said: "Oh, hey Sean, we saw you were on and just had to come and see you." Now, that should have been the conversation right there, but they carried on: "We didn't know if we were going to make it before we left, there was a big snowstorm, and we needed to feed the cat, but we were able to get my uncle Rick to clear the driveway." And it went on. I lived in London for three years and never talked to the guy in the flat next to me. There's too much going on to interrupt your day with stupid conversations.
Are you not going to be supporting Canada at the London Olympics?
I am looking forward to the Olympics, but because of the travel chaos. It's going to be wonderful. You're talking about another two million people in London, which is already revolting.
You must like England, though. You've been there a while.
Yeah, you get a lot of good material. I always say that it's difficult to offend an English person because their government offends them so much on a daily basis. At least I'm not stealing from you.
How does British humour compare to Canadian humour?
There's definitely a similarity, very much so. And it's much different to America. The last time I did an American show it was in Atlanta, and I happened to mention that I thought Bush was an idiot. And then I realised that I was in Bush country, and literally half the audience started walking out. And I thought: "Really, that offended you, me calling him an idiot, not the fact that he's an idiot?" And then the rest of them got up, so I was just left talking to one table out of 150. I just looked at them and the guy said: "I didn't vote for him either."
Canadians are often the butt of American jokes. Living in England, have you focused your attention on loveable targets, such as the Welsh?
I don't, because everyone can fight and you never know when you say the wrong thing, if there are six big Welsh guys there, they are ready to kill you. I do some stuff about the Scots, but it's very light because even their women can fight.
Sean Collins appears alongside JoJo Smith and Rainer Hersch tonight at Heroes at the Crowne Plaza Abu Dhabi, tomorrow at Zinc at the Crowne Plaza in Dubai, Thursday at the Mövenpick Hotel Jumeirah Beach and Friday at the Almas Tower in Jumeirah Lakes Towers. For more information, visit www.thelaughterfactory.com