Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Standup comedian Abdullah Al Qassab performs at the American University of Sharjah. Satish Kumar / The National
Standup comedian Abdullah Al Qassab performs at the American University of Sharjah. Satish Kumar / The National

The Abu Dhabi 'butcher’ who keeps a clean line in comedy

The Life:Abdullah Al Qassab has found a creative outlet for his chat by performing off hours as a stand-up comic. He even finds inspiration for jokes in his own name, part of which translates as 'the butcher' in English.

Abdullah Al Qassab in an environmental engineer at Gasco in Abu Dhabi. During his spare time he performs as a stand-up comedian.

How did you get into comedy?

I couldn't put it in a poem and I can't paint, but I do talk too much. So [I thought] why not make some people laugh and make some money out of it at the same time? I started during my college days. We would stand around after prayers and tell jokes. Actually, I'd be the only one telling jokes. The others would listen. I did one show in 2010, stopped for two years. Then I was promoting [a group of comedians] for an event at UAE University for charity. But they kept delaying. And I said to the university, 'Look, if they don't respond by tomorrow, we'll do it for you'. I have one friend who is the youngest and the first comedian in the UAE: Abz Ali. He and I and a guy called Khalid Yasin performed instead. We made good money and we made people laugh. Universities now get in contact and ask us to perform. The challenge is to convince the administration that we do good, decent comedy because the image is that comedians swear [or] it's not a joke unless it's a dirty joke. But a lot of comedians don't swear.


So what do you joke about?

I joke about my life. Anything can be funny. My name is funny. If it's translated into English, it's not a good thing. My name is Servant of God, The Butcher. The worst thing is, I was a medicine student. You don't want to do an operation with someone called The Butcher, do you? 'Go and see Dr Butcher.' 'No, no, I'm good.' I wouldn't get paid. We don't do racism, dirty jokes, politics or sex. Religion we don't touch. But I joke about the police, parking rules. We do up to three shows a month for free in bars. No more than that, otherwise people get used to you.


And do you perform in English or Arabic?

Both. We mix it up. I learnt English from TV. I love television and it taught me English.


You also use the performances as a way to teach students about business, right?

Yes. We tell them to put the event in the auditorium and to sell tickets. Then to make a report afterwards and work out how much money they've made. Anyone can give advice. But you have to stay with [the students] and help them out. Give them the basics and once they have shown you the results, you can walk away. But only after they have shown you the results. And comedy is a funny thing. It's not a boring lecture. So they will stay with you until they learn. It's also about marketing. Creating a Facebook page [for an event] and getting a 'Like' is no good. Neither is putting up flyers. I think the best way is word of mouth and sending out broadcasts via BBM. Emiratis love that.

lgutcher@thenational.ae

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 The Greens, villas: Q1 no change. 3BR - Dh210-250,000. 4BR - Dh210-260,000. 5BR - Dh220-300,000. Q1 2013-Q1 2014 5% rise. Pawan Singh / The National

In pictures: Where Dubai rents have risen and fallen, Q1 2014

Find out how rental prices in the prime locations in Dubai have altered during the first three months of the year and the current rates you will pay according to data provided by Asteco.

 An air traffic control tower is seen at the central terminal of LaGuardia Airport on April 8, 2014. Shannon Stapleton / Reuters

In pictures: New York’s LaGuardia Airport in need of a rebuild

With constraints on its resources and no appetite for further debt, private investors and developers are being tapped to rebuild the 50-year-old central terminal for $3.6 billion, instead of using traditional public finance methods.

 The bridge of Seajacks Hydra, as the wind farm installation vessel undergoes finishing touches and testing works at Lamprell’s Hamriyah facility in Sharjah before its planned delivery on June 2, 2014. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

In pictures: Building the Seajacks Hydra

The Seajacks Hydra, a wind farm installation vessel, is undergoing finishing touches and testing works at Lamprell’s Hamriyah facility in Sharjah before its planned delivery on June 2, 2014.

 The Wind, Energy, Technology and Environment Exhibition takes place from April 14 to April 16. Above, the Dewa showroom during last year’s Wetex. Jaime Puebla / The National

April corporate and economic calendar for the UAE and overseas

From Cityscape to Wetex to stock-market holidays to nations reporting first-quarter GDP figures, here is our helpful calendar of April's business events in the UAE and internationally.

 An Uber taxi driver drives his car through a street in New Delhi, India. Saurabh Das / AP Photo

In pictures: On-demand cab service app Uber targets India

Taxi-hailing smartphone app Uber is making a big push into Asia with the company starting operations in 18 cities in Asia and the South Pacific including Seoul, Shanghai, Bangkok, Hong Kong and five Indian cities in the last year.

 Get the latest information on credit cards, bank accounts and loan products in the UAE. Mark Lennihan / AP Photo

Rates report: Latest on UAE loans, accounts and credit cards

Souqamal.com brings you the latest interest rates on banking products in the UAE.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National