The Laughter Factory will return in April with a new tour starring three very distinct voices: Phil Nichol, Imran Yusuf and Stephen Grant.
Described as “like watching Eminem do stand-up”, Kenyan-born, London-raised Imran Yusuf has gained a sizeable reputation for his upbeat, rhythmic, rap-inspired flow, which promoted Time Out London to hail “the birth of a new comedy star”.
A very different approach is found in Canadian comic Phil Nichol, the manic stage-stealing stand-up who attacks the mic with the intensity of a shrink and the speed of an athlete – sprinting off into punchlines, observations and impressions with a crazed intensity.
By contrast Stephen Grant has built his name by being calm and collected, the consummate compere who has set the tone for TV audiences for mainstream comedy shows including QI, Have I Got News For You, Mock The Week, Never Mind The Buzzcocks, and many more.
General Admission - AED 140
Ages 21+ only.
The Laughter Factory – listings
April 6th & 7th – Moevenpick JBR, 9PM
April 10th & 11th – Grand Hyatt, DOHA, 8PM
April 12th – McGettigan’s JLT, 8PM
April 13th – Grand Millennium Barsha Heights (TECOM), 9PM
Introducing the comics...
One of the freshest comedic voices to arrive in the past decade undisputedly comes from Imran Yusuf, whose rhythmic delivery has attracted high-profile fans – and more than a few comparisons to hip-hop.
"It's like watching Eminem do stand-up," quipped comedian Terry Alderton.
“He almost rapped his gig,” enthused Laughter Factory favourite Adam Bloom. “I’ve never ever, ever seen anyone’s delivery like that.”
Born in Kenya to Muslim parents, Imran's family fled political upheaval to the UK, where he was brought up in London's East End. Having also spent much time in the Middle East, across Palestine, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, Yusuf's unique approach channels the street-wise charisma of a Londoner with the insights of a global traveller, dishing shrewd observations about multiculturalism which are sadly more relevant every year.
But this is no political diatribe – whatever the material, Imran remains endlessly upbeat and effortlessly endearing, zipping through cultural ticks with bright flair and a light touch.
It all started in 2010 when Imran's Edinburgh Fringe debut, picked up a Best Newcomer award – and numerous five-star reviews – for a show performed while fasting for Ramadan. Soon after he was invited on Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Road Show and Time Out London declared “the birth of a new comedy star”.
His star ever on the ascent, later this year Imran will appear in the British rom-com movie, Finding Fatimah.
He was one-third of the Canadian comedy rock band Corky and the Juice Pigs. He has starred in serious stage productions such as 12 Angry Men and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, alongside Christian Slater. And he has been awarded the top Edinburgh Comedy Award gong. Part actor, part musician, part stand-up, but all manic energy – meet Phil Nichol.
This Canadian talent's ten-page biography is littered with weird and wonderful achievements, which include a Bafta nomination, multiple nods for Chortle's Best Headliner award, and the trophy for Time Out London's Best Comedy Performer. The biggest win of all was a Perrier Award – what's now the Edinburgh Comedy Award – for 2006's solo show The Naked Racist.
Phil famously stripped on camera after being voted off BBC quiz show The Weakest Link – needless say, steely host Anne Robinson was unimpressed. Amongst his shopping list of other TV credits are spots on The Graham Norton Show, Never Mind the Buzzcocks and Rob Brydon's Annually Retentive.
As an actor, Phil played comedy legend-turned-film director Terry Gilliam in the BBC adaptation of Holy Flying Circus – a biopic about the release of Monty Python's Life of Brian – and on the stage starred in Boy George's feted West End musical Taboo.
Born in Scotland, raised in Canada, based in London, Nichol first made his name in late 1980s as a member of Perrier-nominated comedy rock band Corky and the Juice Pigs – best known for the hilarious tune Eskimo. Still making amusing music today as a solo artist, his recent work includes the album Late Night Electric Watermelon.
Nichol's wacky one-man conceptual shows include playing an obsessive Japanese Rolling Stones fan in Hiro Worship, and a jazz beatnik poet in Welcome to Crazy Town. However Nichol's greatest work may be when he simply plays himself – as evidenced with his 20th solo show at the Edinburgh Fringe last year.
Proving his talents to be as potent as ever, the show – simply titled Phil Nichol: Twenty – ranked in numerous, similar-sounding best-rated lists, including The Mirror's Funniest Jokes Of Edinburgh Fringe, The Independent's Top Jokes Of Edinburgh Fringe, The Telegraph's Edinburgh Festival Fringe: the 37 funniest jokes, The Scotsman's Best Jokes Of The Fringe and TV channel Dave's Top 15 Jokes from Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Phew
So, with more five-star reviews and glowing press endorsements than you can shake a stick at, we'll leave you with this thoughtful observation from The Scotsman:
“To answer the great philosophical question – if Phil Nichol fell in the forest and no-one was watching, it undoubtedly would make a sound. And that sound would be b***** funny.”
This is the guy you call on to make sure any evening of laughs goes off without a hitch. A repeat winner of Chortle's Best Compere award, Stephen Grant has been called on to warm-up live studio crowds before the taping of dozens of live TV comedy shows, including – deep breath – QI, Have I Got News For You, Mock The Week, Harry Hill’s TV Burp, Never Mind The Buzzcocks, They Think It’s All Over, Alan Carr’s Ding-Dong, The Omid Djalili Show, Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, Al Murray’s Happy Hour, So Graham Norton, News Knight with Sir Trevor McDonald, The Stephen K Amos Show and Kelsey Grammar’s Sketch Show. And that list could have been twice as long.
Described by Chortle as “famously pedantic, relentlessly logical and with the kind of comedy vision that can see round corners,” Grant is also the host of Brighton's Krater Comedy Club at Komedia, winner of Best Comedy Venue in the South for a silly number of times.
Grant has toured in support of Russell Kane and Alan Davies, played festivals on three continents and is a regular headliner at London's The Comedy Store.
As a writer, Stephan has penned gags for Kane, Lee Nelson and Seann Walsh, and work behind the scenes writing for hit TV show Mock the Week.
Before becoming known as a stand-up, Grant was a TV presenter who appeared on multiple BBC shows including Inside Out, Noise, The Estate We’re In and his own Stephen Grant’s Journey to the Wasteland.