The always popular and welcome Ethnic Show: Ethnical Difficulties premiered last night at Club Soda, as part of the Just For Laughs Festival. I grew up in Montreal and raised by my Pakistani parents. Needless to say, a show hosted by Shaun Majumder would probably bring back some memories from growing up. Thus, upon entering this jam-packed venue, seeing the velvety red curtains and hearing the female DJ (represent!) drop some great beats, I knew that I was in for a great spectacle before the show even began. Although this was my first JFL show (I know right), it was already apparent to me that the Ethnic Show has something to offer for everyone. I mean, let’s face the truth: we all have certain ideas about different ethnic groups and try to say things in a “politically correct” manner. For one night, however, we were all allowed and encouraged by Majumder, to laugh at great many stereotypes about Latino, Black, Jewish, Middle Eastern and even Caucasian “habits”. It was time to put all the politically correct statements aside, drink up, and enjoy our ethnical difficulties.
Shaun Majumder couldn’t have been a better host, as he got the crowd warmed up for one of the festival’s most anticipated shows. I almost squealed like a little girl when he noticed me waving all the way at the back of the venue when he asked if their were any Brownies in the crowd. His act was almost therapeutic as he reassured everyone that it’s OK to embrace your inner racist, while diligently reminding us that lazy racists, aka ignorant racists, were not welcome.
The first act of the night was Ugandan born Arthur Simeon, who got the elephant out of the room with the following statement “I have a bit of an accent, get used to it”, immediately generating laughs from a crowd that died of them throughout his entire act. It’s hard to pick which joke was the best, but I have to give him credit for identifying the excitement one experiences when Tim Horton’s releases a new bagel flavour as the single most revealing sign that makes you Canadian. CIC, take some notes.
Fahim Anwar, son of a disappointed father, former engineer and fellow Middle Eastern neighbour from Afghanistan (that was my attempt at a dramatic introduction, Game of Thrones style…but not really), kept the show rolling. Aside from Majumder, he was the one I related to the most: his jokes about overly-protective parents who don’t allow their kids to go on sleepovers were nothing but truth to me. His ridiculous interpretations of sperm being flushed down the toilet bowl definitely caught the audience a bit off guard… but his different style was warmly welcomed.
Gary Gulman didn’t even need to say his ethnic background, as he cleverly showed us his side profiles, pointing to the stereotypical “Jewish nose”. He offered a potential answer to Jewish struggles, pointing the finger away from God and to the Jews: Maybe he’s just not that into you. As playful as he was, he truly spoke about the little things in life that make us happy…and made us think that Bill Gates wasn’t all that lucky after all.
After Majumder’s kegel exercises and a brief intermission, the crowd was treated to the first female comedian of the night, Latina Cristela Alonzo. She raised important issues about the lack of bleaching salons (although, from where I come from, bleaching creams are abundant!) and had the crowd rapped around her finger with her contagious “white girl” laugh. Finally, even Ryan Hamilton found his place in this show, putting it this way: it’s like the Obama pressure…but in reverse! All in all, this show was a hit and clustered all our differences into one giant ball of light-hearted fun.
The Ethnic Show: Ethnical Problems runs from July 10th to July 27th.
For more information, visit http://www.hahaha.com/en/show/ethnic-show