By Nara Farrell – Port Dover, ON
A Jew and a Palestinian walk into a bar…oh the jokes!
Who is Eman el-Husseini? You could ask her wife and best friend. Together they make a very funny and mighty cultural team. El-Husseini is Palestinian and her wife Jewish-A perfect example of being one’s own template. Hers is a beautiful story of coming out, with comedy. “I have, truly, the best love story out there,” she states of her relationship with her comedian wife, Jess Soloman. When deciding to tell her parents of her inspirational new partner, their thinking was that it would be lovely if the two friends married brothers, so they could “stay close”.
She had a lively, feisty upbringing in a household full of powerful personalities. When asked, “who had the most impact?”, she answers frankly, “It was me against the world. Just kidding, but I’m not impressionable. My mom always said, from day one, I looked at them suspiciously when they gave me information, like ‘Thanks, but I’ll look into this to be sure.’
El-Husseini put together comedy material with observations from her home and school life and took her show on the road, 10 years ago. “There’s an addictive element to both golf and comedy. You have a good show or a good shot and you want it to happen all over, again and again. But it really doesn’t until you are a pro.” She isn’t a fan of golf…she doesn’t believe her Middle Eastern temperament goes well with it. See? Crossing the lines of definition. The best comedy crosses it.
There is an extraordinary sense of authenticity when you see el-Husseini standing there on stage. She is someone we can all identify with because we come from that place that is evolving into another routine. Her life story is mapped out in her stand-up, reflecting her observations and experiences. She has a knack for finding humour in conflict and hardship. An absolutely interactive performer, el-Husseini gets to know her crowd through questioning and eye contact with confidence; two very important elements. The only way to know and gauge mood, is to look one in the eyes.
She has been welcomed through her travels across Canada and the U.S., appearing in numerous festivals and on CTV’s Comedy Now! and CBC’s Strombo Show. Hailing from the Montreal comedy scene and living in New York at the time of this interview, she enjoys the changing scenery. Her future endeavor is to travel the comedy scene in Australia. And of course, she will do this.
Still, who is Eman el-Husseini? Well, she’s a very funny, authentic human being. Or as her wife calls her…The Gentle Giant.
Keep up with Eman at emantertainment.com