We might be used to eccentric behaviour on the road – but we’ve never had a comedian pose for a bikini shoot before.
After more than 20 years leading notoriously extraverted personalities on the road in the Middle East, here at The Laughter Factory, we thought we’d seen it all. From sparking offstage controversy to attracting psychopathic stalkers, our A-list comics have a rare talent of making an impression.
But in recent years few have taken the GCC by storm quite as remarkably as Sofie Hagen – the over-sharing Danish stand-up sensation who shook our January tour to its core.
In just two short weeks she started a Twitter war with Piers Morgan, brazenly posed for a bikini shoot with a UAE glossy magazine, shared her darkest secrets and greatest neurosis onstage with hundreds of people every night, and kept thousands more fans up to date on her regional antics in a series of hilarious social media posts (let’s just say “Dubai Tinder men and their pets”).
And for all these reasons, Sofie enjoyed an unprecedentedly warm and fuzzy embrace in Dubai, Doha and Abu Dhabi, melting the hearts of hardened regulars and cynical press types alike.
After winning audiences over – and giving a full and frank interview with The National – monthly women’s glossy Aquarius reached out and asked Hagen if she had time to pose for some portraits between gigs in Dubai.
Hagen was happy with the idea – on one small condition. She would only do the nine-hour shoot at the pool, in swimwear. Surprisingly, the forward-thinking editors agreed – and another victory for Hagen’s positive body image campaign was won. Oh, and there was a falcon involved, too.
“I did it for the terrified teenage me who would never go swimming because she felt gross,” Sofie later posted in Facebook.
“And she was scared people were going to shout at her. And besides, she couldn’t find a swimsuit in her size anyways. So what’s the point? I only did it to make a point to her. Hey me, look at this! WE ARE BEAUTIFUL”.
Because, as we quickly learned, Sofie isn’t someone afraid of a fight.
Which is why when, towards the end of the tour, notorious muck-raker Piers Morgan posted an ill-conceived tweet, she wasn’t going to let it pass.
The Tweet in question? @piersmorgan: “I’m planning a ‘Men’s March’ to protest at the creeping global emasculation of my gender by rabid feminists. Who’s with me?”
Sofie’s reply? @sofiehagen: “Oh, it’s not a creeping emasculation. It’s a full frontal attack on your masculinity. Because it kills. Masculinity kills.”
The result was an online eruption of earnest support, patronising ridicule and sexist vitriol from dozens of Twitter users, with Hagen embroiled in a disgusting tornado of ignorance and hatred. We won’t reprint them all here – this is a family show, after all – but you get the picture from the following exchange…
@CJMendes: bring it on you hateful woman….
@SofieHagen: Hi CJ. I hope you are well. You don’t seem well. It sounds like you are a bit sad. I am sorry. Let me know if I can help.
@CJMendes: women have rights my dear. Wake up and take responsibility for your failures. It’s not mans fault, it’s yours.
@SofieHagen: Don’t be sad, CJ. Just because women get rights, it doesn’t mean yours are taken away. We just want ours.
Say what you want about Hagen – but say it privately. In the wicked world of social media, against this ferocious Tweeter, you just can’t win.
We just really, really, really can’t wait to have Hagen back on The Laughter Factory soon. If you enjoyed her show, share the love by reviewing it on TripAdvisor here. Please?