A few days ago I had the absolute pleasure of sitting down for a quick chat with Akmal Saleh: comedian, celebrity and an all round nice guy. He’s as funny in real life as he is on the stage but a little quieter. My initial thought was that he’s quite a reserved person but once we started chatting, I realised how genuine, honest and naturally funny he really is. It was a privilege to do the interview.
Akmal is here for the Fringe – appearing at the Royalty Theatre -11, 17 & 18 March.
Sarah: What is it about the Adelaide Fringe that makes you want to come back – year after year?
Akmal: There is so much energy in Adelaide during the Fringe. The Fringe breeds energy – it’s like one big party. Other festivals are so business orientated – whereas the Adelaide Fringe just has this vibrancy and look and feel to it – there is nothing like it elsewhere in the world. It’s one of my favourite festivals.
Sarah: The title of your show is ‘Transparent’ – where did this come from?
Akmal: (laughing) My Manager said I needed a title for my show….really, it’s me. I like to think that I’m a transparent person – I’m not that much different in person to the guy on the stage.
Sarah: I watched you religiously on ‘I’m a celebrity’ and you were the same person on the show as you are on a stage and even here, today – I can understand why now you chose that title.
Akmal: It is who I am. You can’t ‘hide’ on that show (I’m a Celebrity..) You are with strangers, in the jungle with lights blaring at you – what you don’t see from your lounge rooms are all the crew, the cameras and the glaring lights which don’t go off until 2am. You are eating so little, are tired and you can’t hide behind that. If you are – it isn’t sustainable. It’s raw and eventually you just have to be yourself.
Sarah: Is there any topic that is ‘taboo’ for you?
Akmal: No. If it’s funny – I will say it. It’s about the delivery and context. If it’s funny people will laugh, if they are offended they won’t. It’s that simple.
Sarah: What is a typical day for you here in Adelaide during the Fringe?
Akmal: I waste my days. I’m only here on the weekends – I get up, wander around daydreaming….look at things. I go to sleep and then I go back out at night and look at the same things….
I also exercise – it helps clear my head so I spend time doing that. I only work for an hour and ten minutes every night I’m here..
Just before a show I empty my pockets – I don’t like anything in my pockets. I lose a lot of phones this way…I just put them down…gone.
Sarah: Is there anyone at the Adelaide Fringe 2017 that you want to see?
Akmal: I try and see my friends that are good but mostly shows that are not comedy. I like to see shows that are different and things that I can’t do. If I see a comedy show and it’s really good – It doesn’t make me feel good about my show.