16 October 2010

Bilal and Comedy Tweetups

Stand-up comedy was fairly new in Qatar until Bilal Randeree managed to create a local comedy scene in less then 5 months.

Bilal Randeree has been doing stand-up for the past 3 years - Before moving to Qatar, he performed in Johanesburg and London at open mic events. Upon his arrival to Doha, he realized that there was no comedy scene and decided to create one!

Watch him prepare for his 3rd comedy tweet up – meets ups for people who use twitter. Also catch up with Hanadi, Fahad and Mohammed who join his event and test out some of Ahmed’s tips in front of a new audience.

07 October 2010

The meaning of Tweetups

A tweetup, as far as I understand, is a meet up, that is organised primarily on twitter. A meeting place of people for no other reason but to meet new people and exchange ideas, thoughts and useful information.
When I arrived in Doha, I was surprised to find that people here generally lived in little islands – the scots hang out with the scots, the South Africans chilled out together, Brits got drunk together and the Arabs were only seen but not known – not just the Qataris, but all the Arabs, who also live in isolated communities.
So I was proud to see the change that Doha Tweetups is bringing. For example, Hanadi performed stand up comedy at Septembers Tweetup – probably the first time in history that, not just a Qatari, but a Qatari woman performed stand up comedy! She, together with a bunch of other Doha Tweeps(Tweetup people), then went on to perform at the TEDxDoha event.
What was really great during Hanadi’s first stand up gig at the Tweetup, was when she did this gag:
“Why you afraid to talk to us (Qatari women), to greet us and shake our hands like other people?! We (Qatari women) are not monsters you know!”
“Well, sometimes you are. Ask me, I’m married!” a Qatari man in the crowd chirped. That was hilarious. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect, and frankly, nobody else (if they dared to chirp like that) would have had the same funny reaction.
So, yes – Doha Tweetups is not just about having fun and meeting new people – it is an important space that this city did not have – a safe space, where people can come and meet new people, where you can share your heritage and history, your arts and culture, and most of all your jokes and chirps!
Stand up comedy has been a common theme at Doha Tweetups, but it certainly is not the only one. We have been comedy heavy, and October will be the same because of the continuing competition. But come along to the Oct Tweetup, enjoy the stand up comedy, and give us feedback on future themes and events. Or comment here!

05 October 2010

Back to work

Al Jazeera English
Originally uploaded by
After an awesome few days of sipping tea and enjoying the view in Istanbul, I'm back in Doha and hard at work in the Al Jazeera English newsroom.