Doha City at Night
If there is one thing that comes to mind when mentioning an Arab country, then that is the impression that most Islamic nations are too strict with the forms of entertainment that grace their country (to the extent that nightlife, booze and cinemas are virtually inexistent in its boundaries) and that extreme precautions must be done when visiting such places.
While these presumptions seem to be true (especially the last part), one Muslim country in Western Asia is not too strict with the type of entertainment that goes around the nation. Most travelers are not aware of this, but Qatar allows the performance of standup comedians in its territory.
Learn the list of countries safe for travelers.
As mentioned by New York Times writer Peter Savodnik, there is one group called Stand Up Comedy Qatar (SUCQ) that performs regular gigs in Doha City (“Yes, There are Comedians in Qatar”). He noted that the culturally-diverse group is composed of one woman and five men, the youngest of which is a 15-year-old Palestinian boy.
Below is an excerpt from his article:
By 6:30, the audience was lining up outside the auditorium for tickets, which went for 30 riyals, or about $8. Most of the comedians, in jeans and T-shirts and sneakers, milled around the entrance, going over their routines and talking about their favorite “mocktails.” Mohammed Fahad Kamal, the funniest comedian in SUCQ, explained the unofficial rules of comedy in Qatar: you can make fun of only things that only you can make fun of.
The author mentions that the comedians are sometimes “worrying about the possibility that someone might joke about Islam or the emir or sex, which most of them say they have never had.” Apparently, this is a big no-no to them due to the sensitivity of the issue and taking into consideration that they are still performing in an Islamic country.
Check out the rest of his article here. After all, even with the non-inclusion of particular tabooed topics, it is still worth a try to visit and see this stress-reliever scene in an Arab nation.