Said Durrah didn’t dream of being in front of an audience as a boy.
Comic Said Durrah performs three shows in the county this week.
In fact, he fought the idea of going on stage for a bit. But once Durrah decided to give comedy a try, he went big. After sending many notes to a producer at a New York City club, Durrah showed up and gave the guy an offer he couldn’t refuse. Put Durrah on stage. If the neophyte comic, who is now 30, wasn’t good, Durrah would never call again. The man bit.
Durrah didn’t know what to do when he entered the club. He was instructed to write 10 minutes of material, which Durrah did on a napkin. Once at the club, before the show, Durrah was often mistaken for the bus boy. A group of girls actually walked in and asked him to clean a table at which they wanted to sit. Durrah threw a towel over his shoulder and obliged. After the show, the same girls wanted his picture.
"Who wants to take a picture with the bus boy?” he laughed and said when sharing the story.
Durrah’s goofy sense of humor, and willingness to work at his craft, paid off. After the show, the producer welcomed Durrah’s call. Durrah has been on the stage since. He’s coming to San Mateo County this week for three shows — his first visit to the Bay Area. While it kicks off in Redwood City with Arab Comedy by the Bay, Durrah promises there are no cultural "inside” jokes.
"Funny is funny,” he said, adding he particularly enjoys when people come to the show with low expectations. It’s those people, he said, who often have the best time.
Durrah is traveling west from the Washington, D.C. area, where he calls home. Since he was a teen, friends encouraged him to be funny. It wasn’t due to a simple impression or one liner. Instead, Durrah’s tendency to go on long, funny rants that took over conversations led to the conclusion that stand-up comedy might be the right path.
Until giving in to working in comedy, Durrah had many jobs he said helped train him — travel agent, marketing, banking. Jobs, as he said, that required people skills. You need to be able to deal with negative feedback, he said, which now comes in the form of hecklers, but ultimately jobs in which you need people to like you.
Durrah decided to throw himself into the craft, now producing shows and bringing together comics who, while often also Arab, are also funny.
Durrah will be performing 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23 at Club Fox, 2209 Broadway, Redwood City; 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 24 at the Jordanian American Association Center, 305 Linden Ave., South San Francisco; and 9 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25 at Tannourine Restaurant, 120 W. 25th Ave., San Mateo. The event at Tannourine includes dinner. Tickets for the events range from $25 to $50. For ticket information visit www.saidsworld.com.
Heather Murtagh can be reached by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone: (650) 344-5200 ext. 105.