Netflix to Screen Its First Ever Middle East Production in March

Stand-up show ‘Adel Karam: Live from Beirut’ promises to tackle such subjects as what makes Arabs laugh

Stand-up comedian-actor Adel Karam, performing in Beirut, Lebanon. The recording of his show is the first Netflix production from the Middle East.
Netflix

Netflix breaks new ground next month when it airs its first-ever Middle East production – a recording of a stand-up show by Lebanese comedian Adel Karam.

“Adel Karam: Live from Beirut” will be available to view from March 1. Netflix says the show, filmed at the “renowned Casino du Libyan,” will “tackle everything from relationships to social issues that most Arabs face every day.”

If you’ve ever wondered what kind of things make the Lebanese laugh (and we’re guessing it’s not Jewish humor), tune in to hear Karam discuss such topics as why the Lebanese love kissing each other and their passion for food. Then there's the matter of colonoscopies and the story of a porn star named Rocco.

Karam is also a well-known actor in the Arab world. His latest movie, “The Insult,” is one of five nominees in the Best Foreign Film category at this year’s Academy Awards on March 4. Trade magazine Variety called the film “a politically charged story of a Lebanese Christian and a Palestinian refugee dueling in court over a verbal slur that spirals into a larger grievance.” The film has reportedly been boycotted by some parts of the Lebanese population, so let’s hope Karam’s comedy proves less divisive.

Netflix has been available in most Middle Eastern countries since 2016, with Syria being the only exception (you’ll know the civil war is over when Netflix starts streaming there). The move to start producing local shows for the Arab market follows similar initiatives in Europe, including stand-up shows by British and German comedians.

The streaming giant also invested in its first Israeli production last year. Based on a true story, thriller “The Angel” is about top Egyptian official Ashraf Marwan, who spied for Israel despite being the son-in-law of former Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser.