Eman is one of Montréal’s best-known and busiest comedians. Since her comedy debut, Eman has racked up an impressive list of credits. Traveling across Canada, the U.S., and the Middle East, she covers a wide range of topics, from how lesbians are the new gentlemen to her parents’ wedding anniversary landing on, you guessed it, September 11th. She has also just launched the podcast Unheard Of: Sex, Religion and Politics at the Dinner Table.
fourthmic: How are your preparations going for your upcoming taping in Montreal?
Eman El-Husseini: Tweaking and perfecting my jokes and starting a detox on Oct 4th for a month to look like a decent human being for the camera.
fm: Your podcast, Unheard Of: Sex, Religion, and Politics at the Dinner Table, has just recently launched. What do you like most about doing a podcast? How do you find podcasting and stand-up relate to each other?
Eman: I’m genuinely curious and interested in my guests so finding out about them is a real treat and it happens over a delicious meal makes it that much pleasurable. Podcasting and standup are different but the ability to listen helps in both avenues. A comedian or a podcaster benefits tremendously from listening and observing.
fm: You talk about your family and cultural background a lot in your comedy. Was comedy important to you growing up? Did you always want to get into comedy?
Eman: I’m Palestinian, Muslim, Female, Gay, married to a Jew, grew up an immigrant in Montreal with Separatist teachers (they weren’t shy to tell us). My life is a walking comedy special. We laughed a lot at home, we fought like crazy but we laughed a lot. My parents made light of issues like not having a lot of money or going through a war and they always mentioned to me how my maternal grandmother had the best sense of humour after losing literally everything back when she and her family got kicked out of her home in Yaffa, literally only the clothes on her back and a contagious laugh and sharp sense of humour as though her life wasn’t affected by anything. Overnight she went from wealth to destitution and managed to keep everyone around her in stitches. Comedy was always important but I didn’t know how to pursue it as a career. I became familiar with standup a lot later in life and it took me even longer to build the courage to start doing it.
fm: Who are your biggest comedy influences?
Eman: I don’t know if I am directly influenced by any one comedian specifically because standup needs to be authentic and unique but I do enjoy plenty of comics like Wanda Sykes, Bill Burr, Chris Rock, Gary Gullman, Louis CK, Pete Holmes, Natasha Leggero, Chelsea Peretti, honestly the list is endless.
fm: What can audiences expect out of your shows in Ottawa?
Eman: My standup is a bio of my life so I’ll let them into everything from my parents driving me crazy to my endless struggle in getting into shape to how pathetically head over heels in love I am I’ve lost respect for myself to my not so discreet views about religion and politics. Remember I’m a walking breathing comedy special.
fm: Is there anything else you’d want our readers to know about you?
Eman: I’m a Leo. I really love being a Leo.
Eman El-Husseini is headlining five shows at Yuk Yuk’s Ottawa this week from October 1st through 4th. Tickets are available at yukyuks.com/ottawa.
Eman’s live taping in Montreal is taking place at 8pm on November 4th in Montreal. Tickets are $33.50 plus taxes and service charge. Tickets are available at clubsoda.com.
For more information about Eman and her dates check out her website, emantainment.com.