Akmal revels in controversy

Louise AllinghamNorth West Telegraph
Comedian Akmal Saleh is returning to the Pilbara for two shows this month.
Camera IconComedian Akmal Saleh is returning to the Pilbara for two shows this month. Credit: Supplied

One of Australia’s favourite comedians, Akmal Saleh, is returning to the Pilbara with his new show Transparent.

Saleh is no stranger to the North West after touring the country extensively since he started in comedy more than 20 years ago and headlining the REAF comedy show in Karratha in September last year.

He said he was looking forward to hitting the road and getting back to the Pilbara.

“That part of Australia I just love, it’s so different — I grew up in Sydney, so having to experience that part of the country is great,” he said.

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“My favourite thing to do is travel and do shows — I still get so much enjoyment out of it.”

Known for his ability to deal with hot topics in a hilarious and slightly offensive way, Saleh said comedy could be a powerful tool in coping with the problems of the world.

“It’s quite a high-risk, dangerous time and that’s always a good time for a comedian because we kind of exploit and explore that, and it works,” he said.

“It’s a good thing to do — it’s a good thing to laugh at the things that scare you.

“It’s hard not to talk about Trump — every comedian in the world is talking about him and hopefully I’ve found an angle that no one else has thought of.”

The title of the show, Transparent, echoes Saleh’s refusal to shy away from controversial topics.

“Good comedy tends to be very transparent, I think, when it’s working,” he said.

“My favourite comedians are the comedians that have nothing to hide and they talk about everything and there’s nothing that’s off the table or nothing that they won’t discuss or talk about or explore for comedy.

“I’ve always been like that; I’ve always kind of said ‘whatever’ and I’ve gotten in trouble over the years with various people, including my wife.”

Saleh said although he had written lots of new material for the tour, he likes to improvise as much as he can.

“I’m kind of very loose so I improvise a lot — that’s just the style I’ve developed,” he said.

“Some of the best laughs that I get on a good night is off the cuff and they’re the best laughs.

“That’s the sign of a good night when you’ve done a small percentage of your material and the rest has just been of the cuff.”

Transparent opened the Adelaide Fringe festival back in February and since received a run of rave reviews.

Saleh, however, said he paid little to no attention to reviews.

“Reviews are just pot luck,” he said.

“You could have two reviewers watching the same show — one could give it two stars and the other could give it five stars because that’s comedy — it’s very subjective.

“What one person finds funny, the other person might find offensive.”

Akmal will perform at Matt Dann Theatre, in South Hedland, on Friday, July 14 and at Tambrey Tavern, in Karratha, on Saturday, July 15.

For more information, visit akmal.com.au.

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