4 October 2008

Bringing in the New...

Bahrain's a tiny little country; I guess living in such a small island, we've been accustomed to the fact that everyone knows everyone else, and somehow most people here are intertwined. This is usually a nice perk to living in a small place, especially when it comes to building relations, making friends, knowing where to find certain things, etc.

It does weigh a few things down though; being in such a small place also means that you know exactly what you're surrounded by. There are no suprises, there are no mysteries, and everything comes as it is. What this does to the average Bahraini mentality, however, is allow a form of acceptance of your surroundings to reign over; you adapt, you don't need to change, you're more relaxed, but somehow you're also more lazy.

In Bahrain, things usually stay the same until something big comes and shakes them out of proportion. If a road is built with a major design flaw, the design flaw stays, until it causes a major traffic accident forcing people to fix the road. If a specific building doesn't have enough assigned parking space, no new parking spaces will be built, until the tenants decide they've had enough of the issue and decide to leave forcing the owner to put new parking spots in (both true examples, by the way). The culture has managed to become generally reactive, pushing the phrase "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" to a whole new level (don't fix it unless you really really have to).

This goes for everything from medicine, to education, to entertainment, and so on. Interestingly enough, a show this weekend has shaken the entertainment scene in Bahrain, and we're probably on the verge of seeing something new appear.

Live entertainment in Bahrain is generally restricted to music events and nightclubs. There really isn't much to define entertainment besides that (except the rare circus act, or football match that isn't usually worth going to). The playing field has now been open to... Yes, Stand Up Comedy!

Stand-Up Comedy has been pretty popular in the USA and a bunch of other countries for quite a while, but in Bahrain, the concept hasn't even been thought of until this weekend, when we had The Axis of Evil perform their hilarious forms of sarcasm and wit. This isn't the defining point, however. The defining point is actually the fact that the show introduced a number of different talented local comedians; and they probably made the crowds roar almost as much as the professional comedians did.

So this strikes a question; are we ready for stand up comedy? Are we going to be seeing comedy club open up all over Bahrain?

Well, probably not, but we've actually been bombarded with such a strong performance by both Axis and our local guys that everybody enjoyed, that it makes you want to seriously consider going to future comedy events here, even if they weren't an international act.

So perhaps, slowly, we might see a few more comedy acts pop up here and there, and slowly, a few more. And maybe one day a comedy club? A comedy school? The developments can go on and on...

Sure, the comedy show could have been a flop; people might not have been interested, and it may not have taken off. But then again, that's the risk you take for bringing in something new; if it's fails, it fails. But if it succeeds, then you've really done something special.

The point here is that we're not just looking at the development of entertainment; we're looking at the development of a country. Pushing ourselves to come up with something new, something unique, something different, and essentially something to add value to Bahrain. We've seen a lot of people take things for granted, and just follow the same route everyone else takes, without really putting in anything new.

Isn't it time for that? More creativity? More ideas? We know we have the skill and the ideas, we just need to have the courage and energy to put it all together.

(for more on the comedy show, check out BahrainTalent)


Anonymous said...

That's a cool idea actually. We have several comedy club here and it's a fun way to spend a nice evening.

I don't have the experience of living in a small country... Canada only has 32M people but the territory is so huge!

Anonymous said...

Are you Bahraini or an expat?

ammaro said...

Zhu; sure, i understand canada, but here in the Middle East its never been a concept of entertainment to go see someone cracking a few jokes on stage. It's good to see things developing into new conceptual territories rather than the same stuff we've been used to over and over again.

Anon; i'm wondering why you ask. I'm from Bahrain

Reza said...

Comedy clubs are a great idea but finding the talent is gonna be the hard part. You can start off by locating a hall with enough seating capacity and from there you begin the marketing for new comedian acts. Once the funny comedians get enough support and money they can go on their own because that's how many stand up comedians start their careers.

But the main problem is getting the support from the local media or network providers such as Showtime or ORBIT.

Anyways am all for having a dedicated comedy club in Bahrain even though I missed the Axis of Evil show :(

Anonymous said...

I asked because it makes a difference whether Bahrain is really *your* country, or just a temporary place of residence (though "temporary" may mean 30 years).

Ally said...

It truly was a huge milestone for Bahrain to have hosted such a show, particularly because, like you said, it is something new and something people over here are not really used to having. The results don’t seem to be disappointing though, the turnout was good and crowd satisfaction great, and with Russell Peters coming out here like they say, who knows how far ‘stand-up’ will go in Bahrain? Time will tell.

Maya // مايا said...

Is Bahrain ready? Well, totally. :) I mean there will always be apposing everything but I'm more than certain many would enoy them. :)

Homers Secret Mistress said...

Stand up comedy is something that Bahrain should have dived into years ago! If you look at Bahraini culture/ Bahraini people, then you will be quick to notice how Bahraini culture values its humour. Even if you were to go to somewhere as simple as the matam for example, you will see the people of all ages sitting around and cracking up cultural jokes. Stand up comedy in Bahrain i would say is already naturally accoring on a daily basis. The next step now is to simply create an official grounding for such acts.

ammaro said...

to be perfectly honest, there were effort to try and bring it in early 90's, but they failed. I guess it was too ahead of its time, but now is the right time to do it. Wait up for a few more shows coming very, very soon! :)