#OmanPride: Stand-up comedians in Oman working to beat economic blues

More sports Friday 19/February/2016 19:11 PM
By: Times News Service
#OmanPride: Stand-up comedians in Oman working to beat economic blues

MUSCAT: Even as austerity has hit the Sultanate hard and many people may feel the pinch, the cliché “laughter is the best medicine” could provide a temporary, if not permanent, cure for people’s gloom.
Joseph Sims, the founder of Oman Comedy Central (OCC), strives to entertain and make people laugh through his stand-up comedy acts, along with the members of the group.
Currently operating as a business manager and comedy trainer, as well as an active comedian, he discovered his talent by accident and was encouraged to audition for the 1001 Laughs comedy show, which led to establishing the OCC.
“It all started with the 1001 Laughs comedy show hosted by HI FM featuring several comedians that were part of the Axis of Evil comedy tour. When I saw how many people came out for the auditions, I realised that there was an interest in the community for stand-up comedy,” said Sims.
After winning the auditions, he opened two shows which was his “first real taste of doing stand-up” and proudly established Oman Comedy Workshop in August of 2009, which was later renamed as Oman Comedy Central to avoid confusion.
Currently, OCC has seven active comedians from Oman, the United States, Pakistan and India and Sims said that they are looking to recruit new people for the group.
However, not all subjects are deemed worth joking about as OCC has warned its comedians to avoid talking about the Omani government, government leaders, religion and graphic depictions of sex.
Sims said the OCC is looking for new recruits and when asked about the process through which people can join, he explained that the group is open to all newcomers.
They have to go through a three minute stand-up audition where the group will “look at the structure of their material to see if they have a feel for what is funny.”
“New people will receive training, but they have to already have a feel for what is funny,” said Sims.
“We can teach them how to handle themselves on stage, but we can’t teach a person to be funny,” he added.
Way of life
For some people comedy is a way of life but unfortunately some do not get the big break they are looking for. Sims said that although Oman doesn’t have any type of entertainment industry, it is not impossible for someone to make it from the Sultanate.
Advising aspiring comedians Sims said, “I would honestly advise that they take up comedy as a ‘hobby’ while they maintain their day job. When and if they get that big break, they can commit full time. There are too many starving artists out there and you never know when or even if you will get that big break.”
He further added, “Almost all of the comedians I have met in the Gulf Cooperation Council region are in it for the love of comedy. If you want to get rich, this is probably not the best way to do it. But if you just love to entertain, then you can find a place for that love with Oman Comedy Central.”
OCC’s next big show is planned for February 25 at the InterContinental Hotel. They have also recently launched an Improv (improvisation) comedy show, which takes place on the last Wednesday of each month at Buffalo Wings and Rings restaurant, which coincides with February 24.
OCC has promised a comedy boom in Oman as they have plans to expand and plant the seed of comedy in Omani soil for a future of laughter.
To get more information on OCC and their shows, visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/omancomedycentral