Akmal Saleh will be performing his stand-up show 'Transparent' at the Sydney Comedy Festival.
“Every year I’m under pressure to come up with new material so this is basically just a lot of material… Finding out what works, what doesn’t work…With comedy unlike music, you’re constantly under pressure to come up with new material, new hits, new jokes,” Akmal says.
For him, when he gets up on stage, he always seems to be at ease, which is quite a talent to have when most of your material has only been written that day. “Most comedians don’t work like that. So for me I have to get up, I would have half an idea or half a routine and after you do it several times if it’s not working out for you, you can just drop it,” Akmal says. “It’s not funny.”
Don't worry, he’s already organised his material for the Sydney Comedy Festival. Just kidding.
“People say ‘oh what are you doing’ and I say ‘this is what I’m planning to do’, but then I get up and end up doing something completely different,” Akmal says. “It just depends on how confident I am at the time.”
He’s done stand-up shows numerous times at the Sydney Comedy Festival, but he still gets a little bit of stage fright every now and then. “Every time I go on, every night is different, some nights you’re more anxious than others, some nights you’re freaking out, others you’re just relaxed…Then, it depends on the chemistry of the night,” Akmal says. “Once you’re on stage… Nerves can sometimes be a good thing… If you’re nervous about a show it means you want to do really well and you use that adrenaline to get you going and convert it into your performance, if you’re too relaxed your mind is not as sharp.”
Akmal has had a very public career over the last two decades, featuring on 'Rove Live', 'The Footy Show', 'Spicks and Specks', 'Tracey McBean' and was a regular panel member in 'Good News Week'. Despite having worked with numerous comedians in his career, he says that often times it’s difficult to collaborate.
“It’s very difficult because comedy is a very individual thing and it’s a very self-centred thing… Comedians are very self-centred, self-absorbed, they don’t work well with other people,” Akmal says. “Before, when I was young, I worked with a couple of guys and we went to school together and we kind of gelled together… We didn’t care so much about making money or maintaining a reputation and when you’re at that stage of your career you probably take the most risks and it’s probably the best time because you’re at your most creative.”