Akmal checks in from his home near Byron to give Bryget Chrisfield his take on 15 topical topics – from Oodies to Oodles, 5G conspiracies to oat milk.

“I’ve been everywhere in Australia now, every single little town,” he claims, “and I feel that I live in the best place because it’s not bogan, it’s not hippy, it’s not anything; people accept you for who you are.”

Having found himself “sort of trapped” in Queanbeyan (near Canberra), with his wife’s family, when COVID hit, Akmal reveals he spent the majority of 2020 tackling DIY projects that involved “a lot of drilling and sanding”.

“I inherited this shed of tools that I’ve never used before,” Akmal explains. “I did a lot of destruction in that year: a lot of things that didn’t need drilling into were drilled into, a lot of things that didn’t need sanding were sanded…”

Akmal is clearly itching to get back out there and serve the much-needed in-person LOLs. “It’s a one-man show where what I do is standup,” Akmal tells of what audiences can expect, “so it’s in a constant state of change – dropping off old bits and finding new bits. On a good night, you can improvise and work off stuff that’s happening, or that happened that day – that’s really satisfying when that happens.”

Because he lives in “a really bad area for reception”, Akmal didn’t actually receive these topics in advance:

Cancel culture

“I think it’s time we cancelled that culture. I think that people should be free to say whatever they want and the audience decides what’s offensive and what’s not. And sometimes you think something is going to be offensive and people go, ‘Oh, no, that’s fine!’ – it’s all about the attitude and the spirit you bring to it.

“I think censorship is the enemy of free expression and free expression is creativity, and it’s okay! People can be offended. When someone’s offended they can at least reflect on why they’re offended and have the conversation, and then people can potentially change their minds and go, ‘I never thought about it that way,’ you know?”

Budgie smugglers

“When I wear them, I don’t call them budgie smugglers, I call them pterodactyl smugglers. Not because it’s big, but because it’s extinct; no one’s seen it for a few million years.”


“When I was a teenager, if you wanted to chat someone up you had to physically go see them face-to-face and be humiliated when you got rejected. I don’t use Snapchat, I’ve never used it.”

People abandoning Melbourne

“If you leave Melbourne for Queensland, chances are you’re gonna do a U-turn once you see Queensland. If you’re a Melbourne person, you’re probably not gonna enjoy living in Queensland and vice versa; just stay where you are.”


“When a person of Middle Eastern appearance wears any type of hood, their automatically arrested because, well, they look like they’re up to no good straight away. And I have that look anyway, so to add a hoody I might as well be wearing a balaclava. That’s not a good look for me, especially when I’m just lining up at the ATM wearing a hoody and a balaclava [laughs].”


“We’ve got three dogs ourselves: a Shih Tzu/toy poodle mix, a Shih Poo, and we’ve got a Maltese terrier and Pomeranian. I wonder whether purebred poodles look down on Shih Poos? Friends of mine own these standard poodles and they look majestic, and if you can compare our dogs, they’ve got, like, the George Clooney of dogs and we’ve got Danny DeVito! But we love dogs.”

People treating dogs like kids

“We don’t have any children, but my wife treats the dogs like children. She doesn’t breastfeed them, but if I ever saw her doing that it wouldn’t surprise me. I mean, they’re great and every day I look at these dogs and think, ‘God, you’re so much easier than children!’ Dogs are so much nicer than people and so much cheaper than children, so I think it’s a much easier option with dogs. And if you don’t like the dog, you can swap it for another one and just say, ‘Can I have it in blonde?’”


Oat milk drinkers

“Oat milk? I like almond milk, and soy milk with coffee is excellent. Look, I’m vegan – well, I’m actually not. I’ve been eating a bit of cheese recently so I can’t say I’m vegan, I’m a vegetarian; I have been for most of my life. I don’t eat meat or dairy or eggs or anything like that. It’s just worked out that way; I just don’t like those things. Sometimes you go to these country towns when you’re touring and you have to ask for things like, ‘Do you have almond milk?’ And they get really upset. I don’t know what they think I’m saying, they go, ‘Nah, mate, we don’t,’ and then they become a smartarse, ‘We couldn’t find anyone to milk the almonds.’ It’s like I’m being pretentious or something! There’s lots of these different milks: oat, coconut, almond. We don’t need to sacrifice a cow!”


“What’s that? [Laughs] I’ve never tried one of those. I have tried a deep-fried Mars Bar – in batter! – in Edinburgh, and the Scottish are so surprised that they have the highest rate of heart attacks of anyone in the world, per capita! [Laughs] I wonder why? I mean, a Mars Bar’s already 100% fat and sugar, and they add flour to it and then they dip it in oil and then people eat that. I think it’s called ‘a heart attack on a stick’. Yeah, I took a bite – this was maybe eight years ago – I took a bite of that deep fried Mars Bar and I’m pretty sure I can still taste it today. It just had this long-lasting – and I guess that’s value for money, but it’s not a good thing.”

Heart attack on a stick.

Puffy vests

“Well see I’m a short person, so if I wear those I look like a truck tyre or something, you know. So I tend not to wear anything puffy. And my friend Greg, he’s a big boy – he’s, like, 6 foot 4 and obese – and he always looks like he’s wearing those puffy jackets, but when he takes it off you just realise that’s just his flesh. There’s no difference! And you can’t say, ‘Are you wearing one of those puffy jackets?’ Because it could be embarrassing. It’s like asking a woman if she’s pregnant. I’ve done that a few times and been embarrassed. Now even if she’s giving birth in front of me, I’d be checking, ‘Are you pregnant?’ I would not ask a woman if she were pregnant, ever.”

5G conspiracy theories

“Look, I live in the capital of conspiracy theories here, I live in the Northern Rivers of New South Wales, near Byron Bay, and all my friends – all of them! – they don’t believe it, they go, ‘Ay, don’t get the jab; it’s a government conspiracy, they’re gonna out a chip in you’ – that’s what they believe, right? And I say, ‘What does that mean?’ And they say, ‘Well, they’re gonna find out exactly where you are at all times.’ But people know where I am anyway, because I advertise: I tell them where I’m gonna be every night, you know, so I wouldn’t worry about it.”

The end of Kimye

“I can honestly say that I haven’t thought about it at all, which is good; I sort of praise myself for that. I’ve never watched [Keeping Up With The Kardashians]. I didn’t know [Kimye] broke up, because I have no interest at all. Is that bad? There’s a line in The Simpsons where Marge picks up a magazine and you know Better Homes And Gardens? This is called Better Homes Than Yours [laughs]. So all these shows are basically rubbing your face in it. I mean, what could be worse? Like, you’ve just had the hardest day and you come home and watch these people just waste money, and they’re almost looking at you through the screen going, ‘You are a loser’.”

In happier times…

Anti-lockdown protesters

“To anti-lockdown protestors, I’d say, ‘Well, you’re up against it, I’m afraid, because you’re in the minority. Unless you’re willing to start a revolution slowly and grow it…’ But these people are just like lounge-chair revolutionaries: they wanna change the world, but they don’t wanna get up too early. ‘Yeah, I’ll attempt to change the world, but not before midday, because I like to sleep in…’ So protesters: there’s nothing you can do now, unless you increase your numbers dramatically then take over the establishment … We could never have a civil war in Australia, could we? People would go, ‘Oh, mate, I’d love to join your civil war, but My Kitchen Rules is on tonight and then there’s the State of Origin, yeah, I just couldn’t be bothered.’ I love that apathy in Australia, you know, we just don’t care.”


“Well, I come from Egypt. We have the same show, but it’s called ‘Married’. That’s it: all the marriages are from first sight. A lot of my cousins married just because their parents said, ‘This is the girl for you,’ and they go, ‘Oh, okay’ – that blows my mind! [Laughs] How someone could take a chance with their lives like that and just leave it up to chance.”

The word ‘bespoke’

“Bespoke? I’m not even sure what that means … My favourite word in the English language, in the Australian vernacular, is f**k-knuckle. I love it. I use it all the time, because if you say, ‘Oh, ya f**k-knuckle!’ they’re not gonna get upset. They just smile and go, ‘Yeah, I probably am a f**k-knuckle’.”

Akmal Tour Dates

Lonestar Tavern, QLD – Thursday, 2 September (tickets here)

Hamilton Hotel, QLD – Friday, 3 September (tickets here)

Racehorse Hotel, QLD – Saturday, 4 September (tickets here)

Morwell Hotel, VIC – Thursday, 30 September (tickets here)

Hallam Hotel, VIC – Friday, 1 October (tickets here)

Plaza Tavern, VIC – Saturday, 2 October (tickets here)

Stamford Inn – Thursday, 7 October (tickets here)

York On Lilydale, VIC – Friday, 8 October (tickets here)

Shoppingtown Hotel, VIC – Saturday, 9 October (tickets here)

Kirwan Tavern, QLD – Friday, 29 October (tickets here)

Edge Hill Tavern, QLD – Saturday, 30 October (tickets here)