What started as one event for stand-up comedians three years ago has now become the official platform for stand-up comedy in Egypt. With over 40 comedians performing under the Al Hezb El Comedy name, this wild troupe of jokers is celebrating its three-year success with two events this week.
Fresh from their appearances at The Fringe Comedy Festival in Edinburgh, UK this summer, we bring you an exclusive Q&A with their star comedian and Managing Director Saif Abu-Kandil interviewed by wisecracking founder, CEO and self-proclaimed “billionaire playboy and philanthropist” Hashem El Garhy.
So Saif, since the guys over at Scoop are too busy working hard and not being funny, I’ll be interviewing you. I’ve prepared some questions. So when did it all begin?
You know the answer, but in case you forgot, I began back in the day in 2002, and you began AHC on August 19th, 2011. The rest, as they say, is history.
Where do you see Al Hezb El Comedy in five years?
Hopefully globally recognized and operating in three continents inshAllah.
What are your thoughts on the stand up comedy scene in Egypt?
It definitely needs a lot of work from all cultural aspects. The Hezbians (comedians), the Hezbian Knights (our audience, Guardians of the Mic) and Egyptians need to work together for it to develop.
Who are your comedic influences?
Oh God, so many! Bill Hicks, Robin Williams, George Carlin, Monty Python, South Park, Blackadder, Rowan Atkinson, The Muppet Show (yes, really), The Simpsons and American Dad. They all play a role, as well as my everyday life, and the best influence of all is history.
What is the craziest thing that has ever happened to you at a show?
This Fringe, we were nearing the end of our tour and a couple walked out – you remember, Hashem? We caught the incident on tape and uploaded it to our YouTube channel. That was the craziest moment.
Yeah we got it on tape!
How was the Fringe and what were the highlights and lowlights of it?
The Fringe was awesome, the highlights would be performing at the Stand and performing at Set List. The low points would be the financial expenses in the UK and absence of shatafas 😉