Netflix's First Middle East Original to Be Comedy Special

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The one-off show will feature Lebanese stand-up comedian and actor Adel Karam.

Over 18 months after it first landed in the Middle East, Netflix has announced its first local production. 

The as-yet-untitled show will be a stand-up comedy special featuring Lebanese comedian and actor Adel Karam, who has appeared in several late-night shows, TV series and films, including Nadile Labaki's Caramel and The Insult, the latest feature from The Attack director Ziad Doueri (The Insult is Lebanon's entry for the 2018 Oscars as best foreign language film).

Produced by Creative Arab Talent, the comedy show will be recorded at Beirut's renowned Casino du Liban venue and, according to Netflix, will see Karam "tackle everything from relationships to social issues that most Arabs face every day with his distinctly Arab blend of smart, sarcastic humor."

"I am very happy and excited to be a part of Netflix's first original production to be produced in Middle East," said Karam. "It is a great honor and privilege, and I can't wait to embark on this new adventure."

Added Erik Barmack, Netflix vp international originals: "Adel Karam is a very strong voice in comedy. We are extremely excited to collaborate with him and can’t wait for the local audience, who have a deep appreciation of comedy, to watch the show, as well as to introduce him to our global audience."

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter at the Dubai Film Festival in 2015, Netflix's chief content officer Ted Sarandos spoke of the need for localized content from the Middle East but suggested that drama would be the first thing the SVOD giant would look to. 

"What’s missing on the global stage is a really great scripted series about contemporary life in the Middle East," he said. "Most depictions outside of the Middle East are either historical or portray caricatures of what life in the Middle East would be."

The Adel Karam comedy special will premiere in all Netflix territories around the world in 2018.