Expect the unexpected

23 April 2012 | 4:58 pm | Aleksia Barron

Akmal never plans his shows, so you'll never be disappointed

Akmal can't tell people what his show is about, because he doesn't know himself. “It varies every night,” he explains. In fact, he loathes to offer any details about what people might hear on the night – he's done it in the past, then forgotten to talk about the topic on stage, leading to disappointed audience members.

Akmal has a refreshingly on-the-toes approach to comedy, and he enjoys the thrill of working out his material under tough conditions. “When the adrenalin's pumping and the brain is functioning at a higher rate… I just don't get inspired unless there's an audience there.” He's fascinated by people who work differently, such as Steven Wright. “I worked with him!” he exclaims. “He's almost like a machine. The moment he goes to pick up his glass and take a drink is exactly the same every night. He even puts it down in a particular way. He's worked it out like a military-precision kind of thing. I don't think I could possibly do that.”

The ability to think on his feet explains why Saleh did so well in radio, and why he'd made a lousy actor – “I couldn't stick to scripts. I'd have to do it in my own voice,” he muses. Nothing for him, however, beats playing his own show in a good venue. “When I'm doing my own show, I don't really get nervous, but I get focused. You've got to put yourself in that particular frame of mind."