Hollywood Pop-Up Comedy Club in Beirut: Two nights of a thousand laughs

Upon leaving, comedians become ambassadors for Lebanon and fall in love with the warmth it carries, even if it was just their first time here.
by Chiri Choukeir

11 June 2019 | 16:24

Source: by Annahar

  • by Chiri Choukeir
  • Source: Annahar
  • Last update: 11 June 2019 | 16:24

This photo shows, from left to right, Rene Vaca, Kate Quigly, Tehran Von Ghasri, and the hostess during the show. (Annahar Photo)

BEIRUT: Laughter is often described as the best medicine, with that, Beirut received the best treatment from the LA/Sunset Blvd comedians who took over the stage at Teatro Verdun.

In its fourth edition, the Hollywood Pop-Up Comedy Club was back last Thursday and Friday, to offer the Lebanese crowd four shows featuring comedians Kate Quigly, Rene Vaca, and Tehran Von Ghasri from LA along with two of their Lebanese counterparts.

The show was produced by Beirut-based Samira Kawas and LA-based Ron Senkowski, who told Annahar that their choice of comedians was not random or by chance. “The comedians have to be funny more so than famous. And, of course, they have to be open to coming to the Middle East.”

“In LA, I spend a lot of evenings in comedy clubs and I wanted to recreate the experience here in Beirut. So I thought, why not bring a show here?” Senkowski added.

Senkowski further explained that upon leaving, comedians become ambassadors for Lebanon after falling in love with the warmth it carries, even after such a short visit. 

Starting the night was the master host, Sara Gharzeddine, that rallied the audience and got them excited for the extreme laughs that await.

“Knowing that a lot of people have the same sense of humor that you do and actually confirming is what I was I was expecting tonight, and I’m so happy I got it,” Gharzeddine told Annahar.

The first performances of the night were by local comics Nour Hajjar and Mazen Abdallah, who got the crowd laughing at relateable Lebanese problems and issues. Next up was San Fernando Valley comedian Vaca.

Vaca shared with the audience his struggle with the typical mainstream male standards, which he doen't live up to.

“It’s my first time performing out of the country, I’ve never left LA. That’s what I was most excited about, just meeting different people, and performing in Beirut! How many comedians in LA can tell you they’ve performed in Beirut? Very little, not even one percent,” Vaca told Annahar.

Next was the outrageously hilarious, Quigly, who broke many taboos with her discussion of otherwise hushed subjects.

“Performing here was so much fun, the crowd isn’t easily offended as is the case with US audiences. I was a little nervous about what subjects I could touch upon, but the crowd was into everything I talked or joked about.”

Last, but certainly one of the funniest, was half Iranian, half African-American comedian, Tehran. “I've been to Beirut before, and I absolutely love it, one of the best cities in the world," he told Annahar.

Tehran went on to explain that in Lebanon, he doesn’t feel the need to censor any of his content, and he feels free to make the jokes and create the content that he wants. 

After the show was over, and the laughing stopped, the comedians invited random audience members to come up on to the stage to meet, chat, and take photographs.

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