Comedian Dominic Holland on coming back to Abu Dhabi and Dubai

The stand-up (and Tom Holland's dad) will be at the Laughter Factory in March

Comedian Dominic Holland on coming back to Abu Dhabi and Dubai

Dominic Holland has had a long and distinguished career as a comedy writer, stand-up and novelist, but we still want to know about his son, Tom.

It’s no secret that the comedian’s eldest son is the man who gets to wear Spiderman’s red suit (and actually get paid for it), but having discussed it in stand-up routines over the years and in his book Eclipsed, we wondered whether Holland would have much more to say on the matter.

And, let’s face it, no matter how proud you are of your childrens’ successes (his other three sons have also acted), it must be nice to focus on your own work for a change.

So, when we tentatively ask what his latest show will focus on when he returns to the UAE for March’s Laughter Factory tour (after all, Holland Jr has been in a few more blockbusters since his dad was last in the country), Holland replies magnanimously: “My stand-up has always been about my life and what’s happening in it.

“I’m still doing that, I’m just a bit thinner up top and a bit thicker round the middle.”

Indeed, Holland has been appearing on stages for the best part of 30 years, gaining Perrier Award recognition at the world-famous Edinburgh Festival Fringe in his early days.

It’s a festival that still means a lot to comedians from around the world (though the awards sponsor has changed now) and one that Holland continues to perform at, though not this year.

“I will go again but it’s very different to when I first started going”, he says. “There are so many more comedians for a start, and now you end up doing free gigs just to try and get people through the doors.

“If you’d told me that in 1993, I’d never have believed you, but while it’s nice to have people giving donations at the end if they think it’s good, and crowds are very appreciative, it still is a bit odd that essentially you’re giving away your work for nothing.”
One other difference is the type of acts on the comedy circuit.

“When I started, all that mattered was if you were funny. Now you have to have something that makes you stand out. It’s about being diverse as well. So, if I was starting now I might not get much attention, because I’m just an ordinary bloke. It doesn’t seem to be just about if you’re funny now.”

Funny is what Holland does best, though, and when he was here last (in 2017), his Laughter Factory set had people in stitches and he’s happy to be returning to the 23-year-old comedy club, which is run by Gail Clough and Duncan Jones.

“They’re genuinely lovely people who really care about what they do and they’re very generous to the comedians that come over,” he says. “I’m not talking about in terms of pay, but in terms of looking after us and making sure we have a great time.

“You won’t hear anyone say a bad word about them back in England, that’s why so many of us come back time and again. And when you are working for people who put so much into it, you want to give them the same back – it means we’ll always work to make the shows as good as they can be.

“I love coming over and I’m really looking forward to seeing the people in the audiences again. So please come out and support the Laughter Factory. You’ll have a great night.”

We have to agree with him. We’ll see you at the gig, but maybe not in the front row.
From Dhs160. Mar 11, 8pm. Park Rotana Abu Dhabi, Khalifa Park area, thelaughterfactory.com.

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