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Bahraini comedian wins ‘Kit Kat Comedy Break’
Top Arab comedians competed for the $15,000 cash prize
July 8, 2013 10:45 by Maha El Gazzar
Bahraini comedian, Waddah Swar, has been crowned as the funniest Arab, after beating over 100 entrants from 13 countries to win Nestlé Middle East’s first comedy talent hunt, ‘Kit Kat Comedy Break’. Swar went home with the winning cash prize of $15,000 and will be the opening act for the popular Saudi comedian, Fahad Albutairi.
Egyptian funnymen Mohamed Morgan and Rami Boraie who won second and third places, were awarded $10,000 and $5,000 respectively, while Shady Salah from Jordan was named the ‘Public’s Favourite Comedian’, receiving a cash prize of $2,500.
Around 115 contestants posted their video entries to the show’s dedicated YouTube channel, out of which, the top nine finalists were moved to the ‘Kit Kat Comedy Break’ villa in Dubai to battle it out in a series of challenges, judged by some of most famous comedians from the Arab world.
Tony Abou Jaoude, Ali Al Sayed, Shaima Al Sayed and Fahad Albutairi put the contestants through their paces throughout the competition, rating their performances, coaching them and offering several tips for improving their stand-up routines.
Kipp sat down with the winner to find out his feedback regarding the competition and the comedy genre in the Arab region.
How did you choose your material for the final round?
The subjects were given to us by the judges. The last challenge was the toughest because the judges asked us to use props; that’s why I made it into a performance rather than just a regular standup routine. We were also told to talk about the gym, sport and exercise and because I don’t go to the gym, I found that particularly difficult.
Did you connect with fans on social media to up your chances of winning?
I didn’t use my social media until after I won because the audiences’ vote only determined the people’s choice award and the winner was determined by the judges, based on our performance.
Do you believe other talent shows (like on traditional TV) in the Middle East are doing their part to foster talent? Or is it a big media hype?
I think traditional TV shows are doing their part in fostering new talent but a lot of very talented people still haven’t been given the chance. Many traditional talent shows have lost their creativity – they simply copy and paste other programmes but I think the Kit Kat Comedy Break had a local flavour to it. Many of the comedians I know have taken things into their own hands and have many videos on YouTube, which have been really successful.
Do you think young talent can receive better exposure through mainstream media or online?
Mainstream media is still important but I believe online gives the consumer more of a choice about what they want to watch. There are some very successful comedians that have made it online and given their audiences the opportunity to choose the type of comedy they want.
How do you see comedians fare in the Arab world?
Arab comedians are becoming increasingly popular and mainstream. Arabs are funny; there are people in Saudi, Egypt, Kuwait – the whole region – that are very talented. Comedy is a new art form in the Middle East and people love it. I have played with international people such as Eddie Griffin and I think there is a lot of potential with these guys to reach international audiences.
Kit Kat’s YouTube views currently rank at number one in Bahrain, Oman, Jordan, Lebanon and Qatar. Subsequently, it ranks at number eight in the UAE and number nine in Egypt and Saudi Arabia. It has also been reported that the total number of video views has exceeded 2.1 million.