It took us ten years to talk Ian Stone into returning to The Laughter Factory – but anyone who caught our December tour will tell you it was more than worth the wait.
The fearless British comic tore up the stage at gigs in Dubai and Doha, recklessly riffing the room into one controlled explosion after another.
A star of hit UK comedy shows such as Mock the Week and Never Mind the Buzzcocks, it was the first time we’ve managed to bag Stone since his Laughter Factory debut, ten years ago on an all-star tour alongside Reginald D Hunter and Mike Gunn.
“I remember staying in some rather nice hotels – and the buffets were pretty spectacular,” says Stone of those gigs a decade ago, when we caught up with him backstage.
“To see Dubai ten years later, it’s unrecognisable. Someone’s been splashing the cash. Amazing looking place – and the buffets are even more spectacular.”
And what about the gigs? Has the Middle East’s audience gotten any smarter, louder or more discerning in the past ten years?
“The gigs have been great,” adds Stone. “They’re well set up, the audiences are comedy literate and they seem very happy to see us. I guess they don’t have a lot of entertainment to choose from.”
Which is why it’s important audiences don’t take live comedy for granted, says Stone, imploring stand-up fans to show their support as often as possible.
“People should support live comedy because it’s a great night out,” he added.
“A good laugh gets us through the day – I can’t think what else would. We comedians provide a social service, really.”
And right now we need a laugh more than ever, he adds, making a gloomy forecast for the world in 2017.
“Donald Trump is the most powerful man in the world,” says Stone. “It could get messy.”
Just remember – at least The Laughter Factory will be there all year to give you a giggle.
Our January tour, starring Rob Deering, Sofie Hagen and Sean Meo, kicks off on January 12.