Yesterday was the first death anniversary of the Kuwaiti comedian Abdulhussain Abdulredha, or Abu Adnan, as he was popularly known. Several activists on social media revived the anniversary of this legendary artiste’s departure on Aug 11, 2017 on Twitter with the hashtag #anniversary of the death of Abdulhussain Abdulredha, where Kuwaitis recalled the memory of the late actor and his art, from which many benefited for generations.
For those of you who do not know who he is, let me tell you. Abdulhussain Abdulredha was a Kuwaiti actor who gave us a history of high-end comedy and beautiful art over the years. He was one of the most prominent Arab artistes and one of the pioneers of acting in the Gulf region. He passed away at the age of 78 on Aug 11, 2017 after falling into a coma following surgery in London.
Actors who leave a mark after their absence are few, because they presented a distinctive art and lived for art as a message and for the passion of comedy, and not only to make money. This is the thin line of what make me and many others recall Abu Adnan today. This is what characterized the march of Abu Adnan and made him great in the hearts of people in his life and after he died. People are still recalling all the moments of laughter and happiness which he offered to people.
I believe art is an important means to deliver targeted messages and address the problems facing society. It is a science and industry that achieves the goal indirectly, but unfortunately, some have a misperception over this. I watch comedy shows and hear offensive jokes or bad comments, whether on others’ skin color or accents or race or jobs, especially against women, teachers and non-Gulf people, which are common in many Arab and local shows and drama series, for example. These are presented as comedy shows, so I feel sad about what we are offering our kids and youth to watch. This is my personal opinion.
In Ramadan, I saw a few scenes of an Egyptian series with a sarcastic portrayal of a Gulf woman who seemed ignorant. I was sorry for this stupid show, which presented women in a sarcastic and wrong way. Not every woman from the Gulf is stupid or ignorant, and vice versa. The seriousness of this matter is that such stories, which are presented as comedies, provide a message that, for example, the teacher is not worthy of respect. This is a mistake and it is dangerous because it spoils the image of the teacher in the society. I say not all that is presented is comedy. This is not the way to entertain, by making fun of others!
I think the difference in comedy between the past and today, whether in the Arab world or the Gulf region, is that representatives believed in the role of comedy in educating people and introduced a pleasurable show for all family members. I still remember the films of many celebrities in Egypt and Kuwait, in addition to Abu Adnan, which we grew up with. These gathered us as family into many moments of laughter, even after many years of their absence. Abu Adnan and a number of those who lived in that beautiful era of art have left this world, but their memory will always remain present. Their message for which they lived will never vanish.
By Muna Al-Fuzai