The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - FRONT PAGE - AM­BER MACPHER­SON Akmal Saleh’s Trans­par­ent, July 29 at Live at Drac­ula’s. Tick­ets are $50 and avail­able from drac­u­

Akmal Saleh has never met a vam­pire be­fore, but he’s will­ing to give them a chance when he per­forms at Drac­ula’s next week.

“I grew up in a re­li­gious fam­ily – (I was told) vam­pires were evil, and Je­sus will de­feat the vam­pires one day,” Akmal says.

“You al­ways hear bad things about peo­ple but then you meet them and you go ‘oh they’re re­ally nice’, so I’ll give ev­ery­thing a try once.

“If I get bit­ten on the neck once, and get my blood sucked, well that’s the end of that. That’s the deal-breaker.”

The Egyp­tian-born co­me­dian is the first act on the bill as part of the Broad­beach para­nor­mal cabaret’s plan to rein­vent it­self with Live at Drac­ula’s, of­fer­ing its theatre as a part- time en­ter­tain­ment venue. “What I’m do­ing in Drac­ula’s is a mix of new stuff and old stuff,” Akmal says.

“My style is fairly loose. If I keep it loose enough I find those ex­tra laughs.”

In Akmal’s show Trans­par­ent, he puts a hi­lar­i­ous twist on his per­sonal life ex­pe­ri­ences, in­clud­ing his up­bring­ing in a con­ser­va­tive house­hold and start­ing out his ca­reer as Aus­tralia’s only im­mi­grant co­me­dian.

“When I started I was the first eth­nic co­me­dian, as far as I knew,” Akmal says.

“When I started it was very dif­fer­ent to what it is now. It was a lot rougher, a lot more blokey, drunks and bucks’ nights.

“I thought ‘they’re not go­ing to like me’. I changed my name to Pe­ter. I thought ‘ev­ery­one likes a Pe­ter’.

“I only used Pe­ter for less than a year. Af­ter that I de­cided to use my own name.

“I don’t know any other Ak­mals. I know there’s crick­eters called the Akmal broth­ers.

“I must meet them one day. We could be the Akmal triplets, Akmal, Akmal and Akmal. We could start a law firm.”

Akmal also talks about his time be­ing a con­tes­tant on I’m A Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here!, a show he says he only signed up for be­cause he was in a moun­tain of debt and on the verge of im­pris­on­ment.

“It was a dif­fi­cult show,” Akmal says.

“I had thou­sands of dol­lars worth of debt just piled up over the years … it wasn’t a choice.

“I should have gone to jail. But I haven’t heard from Chan­nel 10 for a while. Maybe I’ve been black-listed.”

Akmal says ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the pres­sure of pro­duc­ers only fu­elled his dis­taste for modern-world con­sumerism.

“Broadly speak­ing, tabloid, all that stuff, TV Week, Kar­dashi­ans, it’s all a con­scious ef­fort to keep peo­ple numb – like a form of hyp­no­sis,” Akmal says.

“In­stead of chal­leng­ing the gov­ern­ment, we’re watch­ing My Kitchen Rules or Mar­ried At First Sight.”

Laugh along with Akmal at his show next week and you’ll be do­ing your part in the rev­o­lu­tion to change the world for the bet­ter – do you need more rea­son than that?

Catch co­me­dian Akmal Saleh’s zany show Trans­par­ent at Drac­ula’s in Broad­beach.

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