Esther Manito to be First Woman comedian to Perform Dubai Opera House!

Kate Stone

Kate Stone

2017 Funny Women Awards Regional Finalist and 2017 So You Think You’re Funny finalist Esther Manito has another honour to add to her growing list of accolades, in July the Anglo-Lebanese comedian will be the first woman comedian to perform at the Dubai Opera House as part of Arts Canteen’s Arabs Are Not Funny night. We caught up with Esther before she jetted off to carve a path for women comedians in the United Arab Emirates…

Funny Women: How does it feel to be the first woman to perform comedy at Dubai Opera House?

Esther Manito: I feel excited. I always adapt my material according to my audience, but I love playing to an audience that I know will get my [Arabic] cultural references. I do feel honoured that in the future my kids will be able to say “Mum was the first female comic to perform at Dubai opera house…she is so mortifying.”

FW: Why do you think it’s taken so long (two years) for a female comedian to be booked? 

EM: Dubai opera house has only just begun to book these types of events. I am lucky to be working with Arts Canteen. They are so progressive for the Arab community. Aser El Saqqa (the founder) is determined to promote Arab women in comedy. He never hosts a line-up without at least one woman on the bill. He even hosted the first Arab female stand-up night at rich mix cinema, which sold out. Just saying.

I hope after my performance that more women are booked… if I’m hated then I may be responsible for setting women back in the comedy world!

FW:  Is Dubai your first gig abroad?

EM: Yes. I used to live in Dubai and if you told me then that I would be coming back as a stand-up comedian I would have told you to jog on.

FW: How would you describe your comedy style?

EM: Angry. I’m taking my frustrations out on stage. I love my family, my kids my husband… but on stage, I get to rant about all the things that drive me crazy. I’m in the centre of my family, but the cultural clashes and gender clashes are something I manage daily, so comedy is an outlet.

FW: How did you get into comedy?

EM: I did a course with a friend when I was on maternity leave with my, at the time seven month old son. I had no intention of doing stand up. It just happened.

FW: Who are your favourite funny women?

EM: Tiff Stevenson- see her show, it really articulates a lot of what’s happening at the moment and Zoe Lyons, love her!

FW: If we don’t happen to be in Dubai next month, where else can we see you perform?

EM: Grow comedy preview of my show But I’ve Got One 14th June
Glee Birmingham 15th June
Hastings palace 16th June

Check these out

From the Funny Women Team

Channel 4 acquires Spreadsheet

Channel 4 has acquired eight-part comedy series Spreadsheet, starring Katherine Parkinson. Spreadsheet poses the age-old question: can women really have it all – if by ‘all’ we mean sexual freedom, a career, a family and their sanity?

Read More »

Best in Class Lineup Announced

Best in Class is back with a bang at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe. The crowdfunded, profit-sharing initiative, founded by 2019 Funny Women Awards runner-up Sian Davies, champions the talent of working-class comedians.

Read More »

Rachel Parris takes the helm of Late Night Mash

Rachel Parris has been announced as the new host of Late Night Mash! Parris has been a show regular since its beginnings on BBC 2 in 2017 with Nish Kumar as host. The comedian will be joined by a different guest host for each episode when the series returns to Dave this autumn.

Read More »
Get notified when registration opens

Comedy Shorts Award Entry Requirements

The deadline for registration for the Comedy Shorts Award has passed.

Funny Women NextUp…Comedy Shorts Award

Are you a budding Director? Producer? Screenwriter? Are you collaborating with friends to make a funny video? Then we are looking for YOU!

If you have a short film or sketch that you think is hilarious, then enter your work for our Comedy Shorts Award to be in with a chance of winning some life-changing support and mentoring from comedy professionals.


A 1- 6 minute film that can take the form of anything comical. It’s a great opportunity to show us your creative flair and have fun!


This award is open to all women filmmakers and content developers. The film must be an original narrative created, produced and devised by a woman, or women, although male cast and crew members are allowed.


Yes – we require all films to be 6 minutes or under, to be entirely original dialogue, to not feature brand logos and most importantly, to only use music with the written consent of the performer and/or publisher either personally or via the PRS system .


We will broadcast selected entries on our Funny Women YouTube channel and social media (so keep an eye out) and the top 10 finalists’ films will also hosted on a dedicated Funny Women Comedy Shorts Awards page on our website. We will also broadcast the final 3 entries as part of the grand final night.


Films are judged for production, concept, delivery/performance, creativity, writing and overall funniness. The top 10 films are then viewed by an independent judging panel of top television and film industry professionals who will choose one overall winner and two runners up. The final three will be invited to attend the grand final in London on the 23rd September.


2021 Funny Women Awards Prizes

The deadline for registration for the Comedy Shorts Award has passed.

If you need further information please contact us here