Jungle jaunt ‘biggest mistake’ of Akmal’s life

Akmal Saleh says comedy has changed a lot since the 1990s when he first joined the circuit.

Akmal Saleh says comedy has changed a lot since the 1990s when he first joined the circuit.

Comedy has progressed and changed an awful lot since the 1990s when Akmal Saleh first joined the circuit. 

Akmal spoke with Fairfax Media last year and gave a detailed description into his comedy beginnings and his career. 

"When I started out, I was doing pubs and RSLs and the audience was very blokey," he said. 

"It was rough, dumb, you had to yell and do things that were obvious."

Akmal entered the comedy scene under the alias, Peter Salah. 

I used that name so people would think I was white," he said. "I stood out in a lot of ways, for better or for worse. 

‘‘I changed my name from Akmal to Peter because I was so insecure. 

‘‘I was the only ethnic comedian, but it seemed to work in my favour." 

Akmal said comedy changed in Australia when Jimeoin came down under in the late 90s.

‘‘He didn’t swear, he was gentle. You could take your grandma to watch him. He opened the scene,” Akmal said. 

“Jim was the first to take comedy into theatres. From that point it [comedy] became legitimate.” 

Since then he’s performed in movies, television and radio. 

In 2010 he published his book, The Life Of Akmal which detailed moving to Australia from Egypt at the age of 11 and the differences between his Arab heritage and the Australian way of life. 

Akmal will bring his newest comedy show to the Cronulla RSL on Saturday, February 9.

He draws on the darker moments in life to entertain his audience.

One of those dark times featured is the "biggest mistake" of his life - agreeing to appear on the reality television show, I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here

"I talk about being a hypocrite and a sell-out. It makes me feel good. Doing stand-up is a form of therapy. I get people to pay to come and see me and I dump my problems on them. It’s almost like a scam. I’m waiting for A Current Affair to show up on my doorstep one day asking me if I think I’m funny and why am I scamming people." 

Akmal will perform at Soldiers,Level 1 Cronulla RSL, the Esplanade, from 8pm.

  • cronullarsl.com.au