COMEDIAN AKMAL SALEH BREATHES NEW LIFE INTO DRACULA’S CABARET RESTAURANT
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.