Punchline Comedy Club | Abu Dhabi

‘A day without laughter is a day wasted’. Charlie Chaplin

As avid Jongleurs On-The-Road Comedy Night goers in the UK, we were pleased to go and see some Live Stand Up last weekend at Abu Dhabi Golf Club.

As part of the Punchline Comedy Club, Comedian and MC for the night Liverpudlian Simon Bligh is touring the region in the company of American John Lenahan and Australian Matt Klein.  Veteran comic Blight was on top form but I was looking forward to headliner Lenahan, a comic and illusionist  who I read had been expelled from the Magic Circle, what a rebel!


Set up in the annex in ‘The Clubhouse’, it definitely wasn’t ‘Live at the Apollo’ standard, more denim clad working mens club with comedians and humour to match, but it was very funny. Blight was hyperactive, coarse and gregarious and his jokes and stories was a tad risqué for this region but as the audience was full of Brits with a few Americans and Australians thrown in, it went down well. There was the usual ‘pick on’ certain members of the audience and that was evident by the empty front row, we sneaked into the second row but that still attracted unwanted vocal attention.

Klein was laid back to the point of horizontal but had moments of comedy gold interjected into his storytelling along with awkward silences. The final act was the awaited Lenahan, a larger than life character with deep pocketed attire, full of his props no doubt. His tricks were simple but effective. The spinning wheel which required complete concentration and focus from the audience made his head enlarge at the beginning and shrink in the encore, easy but effective and got the audience chuckling.

Sponge bananas multiplying in his hands complete with strange facial expressions had the room on the floor. For a so-called mind reader, he couldn’t remember names of audience members participating in his tricks, but he did extract the chosen word from a book selected by one audience member and eventually identified the right card picked from the pack by another (trick strung out for maximum effect). He was not David Copperfield by any means but he was entertaining in his own right and he exuded the confidence of a long-time stage performer.

Lenahan, a former ‘Time Out Street Performer of the Year’ award winner, was expelled from the Magic Circle  (according to Wikipedia) after revealing the secrets of a slight of hand card trick on BBC’s The One Show back in 1994, whoops naughty Mr Lenahan, a magician should never reveal his tricks!  As the only member to be kicked out for 85 years, his notoriety catapulted him to stardom and he was even a  clue in the Sunday Telegraph’s crossword puzzle. ‘What circle was John Lenahan expelled from this week?’ Fame or what?

Since starting in Hong Kong nine years ago, the Punchline Comedy Club has attracted international comedians such as Russell Peters, Michael McIntyre and Bill Bailey. The Punchline Comedy Club Middle East debuted in Dubai earlier in the year and this was their second visit to AD.

Lets hope that next months line-up is just as entertaining and that AD will be a regular fixture on the Punchline Comedy Club calendar, as after all laughter is the best medicine so they say, releasing endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. So going out and having a good laugh is good for my health, that’s fantastic news! Not so much the consumption of red wine and mojitos!

All views are my own based on my experience. Unless otherwise stated, all photos on this page © Jo Brett 2013. All rights reserved.

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