The Scotsman Sessions #230: Sezar Alkassab

Welcome to the award-winning Scotsman Sessions. With performing arts activity curtailed for the foreseeable future, we are commissioning a series of short video performances from artists all around the country and releasing them on scotsman.com, with introductions from our critics. Here, comedian Sezar Alkassab reflects on some of the differences between wedding etiquette and funeral etiquette

Scottish podcaster, filmmaker and stand-up comic Sezar Alkassab was all set for a big 2020 on live stages when the plug was well and truly pulled in March. Dates across the UK and in Sweden, the Czech Republic and France were cancelled, and his focus shifted temporarily away from comedy to filmmaking.

“At that point, I was very motivated and driven with my comedy," he says. “I had a solo show which was getting good reviews and positive feedback, and my plans were to do as many shows as I could, and try to film them so I could create some clips. However, looking back, I'm actually happy with where I am now and the perspective I now have. I'm still as motivated and driven as I was back then, but not as narrow-minded.”

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As the live circuit prepares to slowly crawl back up onto its feet, Alkassab, like everyone else, is excited but unsure what a “new normal” comedy world will look and feel like. “In general I’m optimistic, though my gut feeling is that it will take a while before people get comfortable sitting so close to each other again. However, over time it will return to the way it was before, and people will want to watch live comedy, particular those who enjoy an evening out but in a structured event like a comedy night.”

Sezar Alkassab

For Alkassab, the content of all those future shows will be just as important as simply getting ourselves back into comedy rooms, but he’s keen to avoid the c-word if possible. “In the open-mic circuit I think top comedians will be able to create lots of material on various topics. Personally, I hope it won't be Covid-related jokes, as I think the general public is tired of hearing about lockdown and want to hear something original. For myself, I do often talk about a personal experience or opinion, and have no intention of being a voice of the people. I want to joke and not discuss serious topics.”

For more on Sezar Alkassab, visit http://www.sezaralkassab.com/

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