Khaled Khalafalla’s latest show, Fresh, is certainly an aptly named one. After being the runner-up in the 2011 RAW Comedy competition, the young comic is already looking to move away from his previous comedic styling.
“I’m trying something very different this year. I’m trying to shy away from the race thing and trying to talk a little bit more about myself and be a bit more transparent with my self examination … I’m just diving straight in and telling people exactly what I’m thinking.”
Khalafalla is also taking the audience into consideration more in Fresh and professes the importance of “finding the point of divergence between your thought and theirs. That happens when you create the thought and you let them write it with you. That’s been a very different tactic, as opposed to me trying to write script-formulated jokes and counting the seconds between the comic timing spot that I’ve given myself.”
Despite the success of his previous work, Khalafalla felt the need to present himself with new challenges and to alter the way he approached his act. “I wasn’t happy. I’m so aware that the comedy festival is a factory of comedians, and that I’ve come into a theatre. A show is two parts; one part comedian, one part theatre. The space that you’re in is really important because you have to be able to own it…but so many layers are taken away from the comedian, and that’s no-one’s fault, that’s just the circumstances of the industry. So I come in and the audience is a little bit nervous because they’ve never been in the room before and I’m a little bit nervous because I’ve never been in the room before. So by the time I really nail it and get to the 22nd show, I know the room a bit better, but it’s too late.”
The comic describes himself as an “absurd visionary” and believes that having more involvement in all aspects of the show will have a positive impact on his performances. “I felt like I reached the threshold of what I could possibly do with my words. I wanted more things. I wanted music, I wanted sound, I wanted lights…That’s what makes me take big leaps and go ‘I want to learn rap, I want to do sound, I want to do colours.’ It’s the need for a change. An insatiable need not to stagnate.”