Thursday, September 13, 2012

Breaking News: CWC Expansion & Award Nominations


We are very honored to announce that our Clowns Who Care project has expanded and our directors have each been nominated for incredible awards. We hope you will take a minute and read through the items below. If we've put a smile on your face, filled your belly with laughter and you like what we do we hope you'll take a minute to vote for our directors as well as the other fantastic nominees. 

Ahlan’s “Best in Dubai” - We were thrilled to learn that our co-director, Ali Al Sayed, has been nominated for the 'Best Personality' category by Ahlan's 'Best in Dubai Awards 2012'. We are all very proud of him! If he’s made you laugh and you like what he does, go ahead and give him your vote. To learn more about this year’s categories, nominees and to vote please visit:

Emirates Woman of the Year Awards - We are very proud to announce that our Artistic Director Mina Liccione has been nominated for an Emirates Woman of Year Award. She is completely overwhelmed, humbled and grateful to all those who nominated her. To learn more about this year’s nominees and to cast your votes please visit :

Clowns Who Care Project Expansion - Our mission is to bring joy, laughter and support to those in need. We have expanded greatly since last year and additional volunteers are always welcome to join in our cause. If you’d like to join our mailing list, let us know! For more info on what we do check out our new blog:


Sunday, August 26, 2012

Abu Dhabi comedy community building time!

Dubomedy Arts School proudly presents... Stand Up Comedy Workshop - Abu Dhabi! 

We have trained hundreds of budding comedians internationally, pioneered the local comedy community in Dubai, were rated 'Best classes to take in Dubai' by Time Out Magazine and now we are heading to the capital city! The workshop will be lead by professional comedians and Ahlan's Hot 100 List's "Comedy Couple"-  Mina Liccione (MTV, Broadway, ABC) and Ali Al Sayed (Abu Dhabi TV, City 7, MBC, OSN)

Workshop Dates & Schedule: 4 days over 1 week ending with a final show!

Tues, Sept 18 and Thurs, Sept 20 (7:30-10:00pm): Improvisation and performance skills, comedy writing exercises, new material development, how to build a stand up comedy set.

Fri, Sept 21 and Sat, Sept 22 (day time sessions): Stand Up Coaching, timing, delivery, preparation for final performance.

Sat, Sept 22 (8:00pm): Final Student Showcase & Comedy Community Show.

Want more information?

For more details about cost and what to expect please email us at or visit For more information about the coaches please visit or

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Dubomedy Arts School - Fall Term begins Sat, Sept 29

Dubomedy Arts School News: Fall term class schedule, extension programs & new venue….

After returning from a full summer tour, performing and teaching in 6 countries, Dubomedy are proud to be back in the UAE to announce their 5th Season and Dubomedy Arts School’s (DAS) Fall Term! We have trained hundreds and hundreds of students internationally and locally and are happy to kick off the new school year! We have made some exciting adjustments: added additional coaching for advanced stand up comedy students and public speaking year round in English and Arabic, welcomed comedian Omar Ismail to our coaching team, are geared up to launch our extension programs in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah, Hollywood acting coach Bashar Atiyat returns and are moving our Dubai classes to a new venue, TRAFFIC!

We were rated "Best Classes to take in Dubai" by Timeout Magazine and received an award from DIDF for our contributions to the local arts community. Please see the detailed schedule below. For more info about classes, affordable fees and our highly qualified team of professional teachers feel free to email us: All performance classes will end with a final show on Sat, Nov 17 at TRAFFIC Space. Our end of term “Mix Tape” Shows are always packed houses, last term we had an audience of over 250 people attend. They have become a staple in the Dubai Arts Community.

FALL TERM COURSES & SCHEDULE:                                                                                                                

8 week courses with added coaching and final performance

*Comedy 101: Beginning Stand Up Comedy performance, writing & Improv- Adults Only
Saturdays, Sept 29 – Nov 17
2:00-3:30pm at TRAFFIC Space
AED 1000

Ever wanted to try your hand at stand up comedy? Have a fear of speaking in public that you like to overcome? Want to learn the basics of improv? Want to meet like-minded people and become a part of the local comedy community? Want to learn comedy from professional comedians with years of comedy coaching experience internationally? We've got you covered!

*The Graduates 102: Intermediate-Advanced Stand Up Coaching- Adults Only
On-going Saturdays beginning Sept 29 – runs all year round. English and Arabic.
2:30-4:00pmat TRAFFIC
AED 600

This course is open to 101 graduates or those with stand up experience. This year we have a new format and training sessions will be designed based upon each individual student's needs. From small group to private coaching sessions, from comedians to business professionals, from comedy to public speaking and script editing.

8 week course with added coaching and final performance
Sat, Sept 29-Nov 17
4:30-6:00pm at TRAFFIC
AED 1000

Our famed Improv Jam class focuses on ensemble based theater games and short form improvisational comedy! Improvisation isn’t just an excellent tool for performers, it’s a life skill. The key objectives of this course are to discover the fundamentals of improvisational comedy, improve your storytelling skills, learn techniques to think quickly on your feet and to be more creative all while relieving stress and having fun in a supportive environment! This spirited, energizing course is open to all levels, from just for fun to those wishing to move towards joining our professional Improv Revolution troupe! It will end with a final performance.

Full 8 Week Programs with added rehearsals and final performance. Classes taught by Broadway, MTV’s “The Grind”, STOMP Veteran Mina Liccione.
Saturdays, Sept 29- Nov 17
Dubai Marina Mall - Kadomz Studios
AED 850

10:30-11:30am- NYC Tap & Body Beats- Level 1- Adults & Teens
11:30-12:30pm- NYC Tap & Body Beats- Level 2- Adults & Teens
12:30-1:30pm- NYC Tap & Body Beats- Level 3- Adults & Teens

LEARN TO SPEAK EMIRATI by Dubomedy: Level 1 for Beginners
Saturdays and Wednesdays beginning the end of October
Saturdays 11:30am-1:30pm l Wed 7:30-9:30pm at our JLT Location

ACTING FOR FILM & TELEVISION- 1 week special intensive with guest Acting coach Bashar Atiyat. October 21-27.

This exciting 1 week acting workshop will be lead by special guest acting coach Bashar Atiyat. Coming from an Arab Bedouin Mid-Eastern Origin, but working in Hollywood for the last 19 years, Bashar had established himself in Hollywood as one of the main Film Consultants and Arab Actors, to work and consult on several big Hollywood budget productions. Named by the Media as The Bedouin In Hollywood, Bashar is becoming one of the main Go-To figures in Hollywood for Film Consultancy for Culture, Religion, Location, Cast, Production, and more, for projects that relate to the Middle East Region and for the Arab and Islamic Culture related films. Bashar has worked on several Hollywood Pictures, such as “SYRIANA” with George Clooney and Matt Damon directed by Oscar Winner Stephen Gaghan. He also worked with the Coppola Brothers, Christopher Coppola and Frank Coppola on “Bel Air”, Director Ken Harrison on “THE WEDDING”, and several other projects, such as “TOUARQE”, “WISHBONE”, and recently the new TV Thriller “ADPD” . Recently he was hired as the Acting Coach on the Award Winning Script “TINA”, to train the main character TINA on set in Dubai, and Co-Produced two Feature Films in Hollywood, “West Ghost Studios” and “The Landlord”.

PRIVATE COACHING: Coaching is always available throughout the year for amateurs and professionals. From stand up comedians to actors to script editing to business professionals to public speaking to dance, you name it. From one on one to small groups. Arabic. English. Hindi/Urdu. You choose the trainer and we’ll design the best coaching plan for you and/or your team.

MORE INFO/REG: | | 050 44 00 99 4 | 04 374 6789

REGISTRATION: Our last 2 open registration sessions are Sat, Sept 15 and 22 from 1:30-2:30pm at our JLT office. Please email us for directions or call 04 374 6789.

Road to Edinburgh receives rave reviews from Time Out Dubai

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Whose joke is it anyway? by Mina Liccione

Whose joke is it anyway?

I have often heard comedians narrate instances of having written and performed a fantastic joke only to find out that another comedian got there first. Many comedians have told me that they had written the joke without EVER seeing the other comedian perform it before, and yet the joke was almost identical!

Irwin Handleman, a TV comedy writer, gives an example:

"A few weeks ago, after President Obama showed his birth certificate to Donald Trump and the other racists, The Onion's headline was: "Afterbirthers Demand To See Obama's Placenta."

A fine joke. But then Bill Maher went on twitter and wrote: "I see The Onion stole my placenta joke that I did in Feb 2010 HBO special"

Wow. Okay. I've never heard of The Onion being accused of stealing in the past. It also seemed a bit presumptuous that everyone has seen that HBO special.

Well, it turns out that The Onion headline was actually a link to something they wrote in August of 2009. Apparently The Onion recycles its content when news stories pop again. They actually did the joke 6 months before Bill did!

Does this mean that Bill stole from The Onion? Of course not. Just like it was dumb to think they stole from him. It happens all the time. In fact, just to show how ridiculous the whole thing is, The Daily Show ended up doing the exact same joke."

It is evident that these things do happen. As the old phrase says “great minds think alike”. And, I feel, comic minds observe alike. However, it is impossible to fully understand this until it’s happened to you!

About three years back I wrote material about being an American living in Dubai. I wrote a series of jokes about my ignorance of the Middle East and my attempts at trying to learn to speak and sing in Arabic. One evening, after going to an Arabic restaurant and seeing a bunch of people dancing to the drums with their hands in the air I thought it would be great to do a bit on Arabic dance. There are a lot of traditional Arabic dance moves but the most common one is where your hand is in the air and it looks like you are screwing on a light bulb. I went home that night to think of what the other dance moves looked like and it hit me - the foot turns as if they are putting out a cigarette! I then thought it would be fun to have the audience lift their right arm and screw in a light bulb then stamp their right foot, put out a cigarette and on the count of three shout “habibi”! I put all the pieces together, added a beatbox rhythm and created a ‘habibi song’ and the whole audience did a group dance. The crowd loved it, I loved it and I performed it many times since.

Last week, I was hosting a show and performed the Arabic dance bit to introduce famed comedian and friend, Aron Kader of The Axis of Evil. After the show Aron told me that one of his fans mentioned that my joke was similar to his Arabic dance joke. I quickly realized that the observation of screwing in a light bulb and putting out a cigarette was identical to his! I was stunned because I genuinely remembered the night I came up with it! I had also heard of instances where people will write a joke that they heard someone say a long time ago and subconsciously think they came up with it. But in this instance, that wasn’t the case in point as I had never seen Aron perform it before. I instantly discussed this matter with Aron openly and honestly. He knew I was being sincere and ended our chat with a quip in true Aron style “no foul, no harm.”

I was very grateful that we were able to discuss the situation immediately and quickly reach an amicable conclusion. Without scope for heresy or lingering doubt. Out of respect for him and myself, now that I know he also had this joke I very happily put it to rest and will not perform it again. And that is crux of being true and honest to your art, and a fellow artist.

I’ll elaborate further on this. You see, the subject of tribute jokes and stolen jokes comes up quite often, especially as I am a comedy teacher. As part of our 8 week Stand Up Comedy 101 program we focus on writing, improvisation and performance skills. We don’t allow our students to use “borrowed” material from other comedians or internet jokes. We talk about the structure of a joke, poke fun at truthful life experiences as well as give them weekly writing assignments. By the time they reach the end of the 8 weeks they have generated a great deal of material to choose from. We give them the building blocks in a fun and supportive environment and it has been a huge success. Blatant joke stealing is something we openly discuss and don’t condone it with our students, don’t book comedians who do so on shows we produce, and as comedians ourselves, we aren’t hacks. We practice what we preach so when it came to my attention that my Arabic dance bit was dangerously close to Aron’s joke I literally gasped, as I didn’t want it to appear that I was going against my ethics.

I attended a show where a comedian performed a Gabriel Inglesias joke word for word followed by two Internet jokes and a quote from Austin Powers. I then saw the same comedian perform it again and I spotted more jokes from other comedians and the internet. Clearly, that wasn’t accidental. There was also a recent incident at a local monthly amateur comedy night in Dubai where a first timer took the stage and did a word for word set by a famous British Comedian. As soon as the producer learned the news he addressed it and the community discussed the topic of copying jokes openly online. It ended up being a positive debate and the community had the chance to communicate their thoughts on ethics as to prevent it from happening again.

Comedians will always talk about the same topics because we live in the same world and observe it through comedic lenses. Whether it be talking about relationships, politics, current events, living in a particular city or stereotypes. As a comedy teacher and coach I have had hundreds and hundreds of students come through our program and some of them, who have never met, wrote very similar jokes. Even as we do improvisations and in-class writing exercises, people do come up with similar replies, punch lines and jokes. It happens. However, with that said, there is a huge difference between coming up with the same joke as someone else and watching a video of famous comedians, transcribing their jokes and performing them. THAT isn’t a coincidence, it’s theft.

Delving a little into the history of stand-up comedy, heading back to the Vaudeville Era, many comedians would share jokes, perform similar if not the same jokes and it didn’t really matter. They performed one-liners and moved from city to city so they rarely crossed paths. This was long before television so comedians could perform the same jokes for years. As time progressed people got tired of hearing the same hacked mother-in-law jokes and wanted something substantial. Once comedy started becoming televised they knew that when their jokes aired they would probably be repeated. Similarly, in today’s internet age, comedians have to write new jokes at a much quicker pace.

Kal Raustiala, a Professor at UCLA Law School, made this statement in his essay ‘The Evolving Ethics of Joke Stealing’:

“But as television and the web consumed material faster and faster, and comedians found themselves in direct competition on YouTube and Comedy Central, stealing original material came to be regarded as unethical, for the same reason any conduct becomes unethical: it does more harm than good. Gradually, comics also learned that allowing all jokes to be considered common property worked as a disincentive to creativity. Nobody was laughing at the old jokes any more, and there needed to be a benefit realized by the comics who wrote new ones.”

So where do we go from here? It seems like the temptation to steal jokes has been around for a long time and many will continue to do so. If you are a budding comedian who wishes to turn professional and wants to perform on television and move forward, the best piece of advice is to keep writing! Even if it doesn’t seem funny at the beginning it’s better to perform jokes in progress that are yours rather than performing stolen jokes. If you still feel you just can’t write jokes but enjoy the performance side you may want to try comedy acting as a script is provided. I’ve seen many comedians decide to go into acting and have been quite successful and happy.

Any great comedian will tell you that it took them about 10 years to really find their comedic voice. If you don’t write your own material and choose to steal jokes you won’t get to that point. Comedy, whether it be writing or performing, is like any other craft. The more you practice, the better you will get. Cheating will just keep you at the same place.

The joke, ultimately, will be on you!

Dubomedy turned 4!