Jason Manford on the changing face of comedy
Comedian Jason Manford is performing live in Dubai this Thursday (July 25), and the Mancunian is looking forward to hitting the stage in a city he has become pretty familiar with down the years.
Manford’s gig, in association with The Laughter Factory, takes place at the Mövenpick Hotel, JBR, and falls in between two more shows in the UAE, in Abu Dhabi and Bahrain.
The 38-year-old, who is now an established actor and presenter, as well as a comedian, reflects on performing across the region in the past.
“I’ve performed in Bahrain before more than 15 years ago,” he remembers. “I did a comedy club gig there and I actually missed my university graduation. I never did pick up that certificate. That is my memory of Bahrain.
“I’ve performed in Abu Dhabi and Dubai a lot over the years and it’s always a great atmosphere. I love it here. I come out for holiday as well when I’m not performing. Every time I come back it’s like a new country, it always changes and I like that, I find it quite exciting.”
Manford will be performing his Muddle Class show, which focuses on the fact he grew up “working class,” but is now, in certain ways, considered “middle class,” and the confusion that brings.
“I’ve been touring it for the past year and we’ve done about 250 shows, so it’s grown and become a different beast really,” he says. “This show is a totally different one to when I last performed in the UAE. I don’t even know if ten minutes of the show will be the same.
“When you’re on tour material changes, evolves and you get bored of saying the same things so you tend to mix it up, try new things and see what works. Also, new things happen you have new stories to tell and it grows. I look forward to bringing the show back and it will actually be the very last time I do this show. So that’s exciting.”
Manford’s first break came by accident, while working as a glass collector in a comedy club, when he stood in for one of the performers who hadn’t turned up for his show. Understandably, in the time since the industry has changed in many ways, and he explains how he attempts to remain at the top of his game.
“Comedy has changed a lot and it has become far more accessible, there are so many more comedy clubs popping up all over the place,” says Manford.
“Now you can be an averagely successful comic and put an hour out online and build up a fanbase from that. There are a lot more comics and a lot more competition out there. So you need to keep ahead of them and you’ve got to keep connecting with your audience and delivering so they keep coming back. That’s my philosophy.”
When: Thursday July 25
Where: Mövenpick Hotel Jumeirah Beach, JBR, Dubai