His brothers may be doctors and all, but Akmal is a household name. It’s a bonus that the Egyptian-born comedian describes his childhood background for the audience because it makes his stage persona of being a loveable badass all the more genuine. He provokes hearty laughter when recalling the good old days of harassing the police (it seemed the only entertaining past-time for the non-social networking generation). Equally hilarious was his tale of being in a gang termed “the Lebs”. Akmal Saleh is that one guy who’s capable of bringing up religion or race at a Sunday arvo barbeque without it mutating into a fist-hurling kerfuffle.
Akmal’s energy is invigorating. Akmal’s detailed recollection of insane experiences in Rockhampton leaves audience members clutching their sides, and he successfully invites the audience into a surprisingly good session of light-hearted psychology by addressing the peculiarities of our mental processes (or more simply, the way in which “our brain messes with us”). He’s most hilarious, relatable and likeable when he opens up about his own troubles and those grudges that we hold against people who offended us roughly 20 years ago.
The most appealing element to Akmal, though, is his contagious enthusiasm and sharp observations. Akmal possesses the tact and humility to unearth the hilarity in each situation whilst applying that boisterous and exhilarating delivery of his.
Akmal performs at the Athenaeum Theatre at 9.45pm (Tue-Sat) and 8.45pm on Sundays until April 22.