Comedy catch-up

Political incorrectness, Lebanese stereotypes and cooking with Nemr Abou Nassar

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Nemr Abou Nassar, a Lebanese-American comedian who performs on the global stage, is coming to our humble shores in Doha for a rib-tickling night at The Great Room in W Doha Hotel. We quickly caught up with him before his event to find out how many Lebanese jokes he will belt out and what else we can expect from the show. We strongly advise avoiding the front rows.

How many people had to laugh at your jokes before you realised this could be your career?
You have to realise this can be your career long before people laugh at your jokes, otherwise they never will because you’ll give up too easily.

Would you consider yourself a politically correct comedian (at least in the States)?
I’m the furthest thing away from a politically correct comedian, everywhere I go. I have an ability to finesse political incorrectness to still be digestible to those hell-bent on political correctness, so I have yet to run into any substantial problems. But if I ever do, it would not deter me.

So you’re obsessed with the truth.
The ability to accept truth swings like a pendulum from generation to generation, but the truth stays constant, that’s what I’m obsessed with.

Let’s talk Lebanese stereotypes? Do you wear pointy shoes?
The Lebanese have stereotypes everywhere I go that vary, and they’re all hilarious! And honestly, a lot are even true. I don’t wear pointy shoes myself, but what’s wonderful about being Lebanese is that for such a small country, we have so many different types of people that you can find almost anything anywhere. A real blessing for my comedy career, let me tell you.

Your favourite comedians?
There are too many to name here, but I would recommend to anyone who wants to watch an absolute masterpiece of comedy in the current day and age to watch Bill Burr’s special I’m Sorry You Feel that Way. It’s timeless.

At what age did you realise that you could turn serious things your dad said into comedy?
Ever since he said them! I would be making bits out of it the next day on the playground in high school.

Are you ever worried that people won’t laugh at your jokes?
I’m never worried about that because if they don’t laugh I’ll just say something else. You can’t operate out of fear in this business, only fearlessness.

The craziest thing someone in the audience has ever done?
I did a show once where a Russian man tried to grab my privates during a show. I was out of his reach being on a stage and he was inebriated, but bless him, he still tried. The security just stood there and watched, as did the crowd, but we all laughed hysterically. I later found out the security were Lebanese and they were having a blast letting this go on. They said, “Do you think you’re the only comedian?” Good times!

Tell us about your recent most favourite moment on stage?
Every time I’m on stage is my favourite moment on stage, honestly. I’m so blessed to be able to do this, so every time I get on a stage and there is a crowd of people waiting to hear me, it is my favourite moment.

Are you just as funny in Arabic?
In stand-up? Hell no, I’m horrible. I think in English. But if we’re sitting around telling jokes, then I can kill in Arabic.

You unlocked your true potential by figuring out how to make the perfect rice. What’s next?
Yes I did. I actually did another video where I teach how to make Spinach with meat to put on the rice, so I’m basically an Arab mother now, otherwise known as the highest level of excellence of humanity!

What can the audience in Doha look forward to at your upcoming performance at the W Doha Hotel?
They can look forward to the greatest singular experience of their entire lives. Bold words indeed, I know, but I spent my life preparing to do just that.
QR150 (starting). Nov 1 8pm-onwards. The Great Room, W Doha, West Bay (4453 5135).

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