Dubai’s Laughter Factory comedy club expects attendance to grow by 20 percent each year and plans to reach 20,000 attendees a year by the first quarter of 2020, according to co-founder Gail Clough.
Established in 1997, Laughter Factory, the Middle East’s longest-running comedy night, holds comedy events at a number of events in the UAE, including the Movenpick JBR, Grand Millennium Barsha Heights, TRYP by Windham Dubai and the Park Rotana in Abu Dhabi.
In an interview with Arabian Business, Clough said that each event averages approximately 175 guests, with a combined total of about 16,000 each year.
Among the challenges to the comedy business, Clough added, is that events need to be full for guests to have the best experience.
“It’s very tricky. For us, it is seasonal. We could move into bigger venues, but if I can’t fill it with that atmosphere, people aren’t laughing, and they don’t know why they aren’t laughing,” she said “They always blame the comic.”
Among the reasons for Laughter Factory’s growth, Clough said, is that the demographic of the comedy club’s audience has changed significantly, from 80 percent British nationals just a few years ago to 20 percent today.
“We’ve now got people from all around the world,” she said. “I’ve booked the show differently the last three years. Now, I want all the reference to British supermarkets and the Underground out. It’s a global comedy club.”
Clough added that she used to “be unapologetic that it was pretty much a British comedy club for British people.”
“We had to find a new audience,” she said, adding that she believes the Internet has created a situation in which “British people will now watch Americans, and Europeans will watch others. You’ve got a real cross-over now.”