Hilarious and Fearless: Arab Female Comedians Reshaping The Global Comedy Scene

In the past couple of years, a wave of female Arab comedians have been cracking up audiences everywhere from the UK to Europe. This band of women are unlike your basic everyday comedians, as they spew out jokes, hilarious circumstances, and moments that can only be experienced by Arabs.

Stemming from Palestine, Iraq, Syria, Morocco, Lebanon, and the like are feisty, in-your-face comedians who know how to get the whole room into a fit of giggles. Let’s meet some of these inspirational women:

Janine Harouni

Interlacing heavy real-life moments with sharp and ingenious humor is Lebanese standup comedian Janine Harouni. Her unique take on humor began in 2019, the year she made her debut in stand-up comedy.

It was a time when she explored the complex relationship with her dad, who’s the Trump-supporting son of Lebanese immigrants. Along with that, she recounted one of the most difficult periods of her life when she was nursed back to health after a major car crash.

She didn’t stop there; she even had a miscarriage and made it a major topic of her critically acclaimed stand-up show called Man’oushe, which kicked off in early February.

In describing the show, she gave us a glimpse into what it’s about, “it became a show about the worst year of my life and trying to pull whatever meaning I could from that.” Despite the miscarriage, she’s now once again pregnant during her ongoing Man’oushe tour that’ll be running till May 3.

Nataly Aukar

Constantly blabbering and talking non-stop at home, Lebanese comedian Nataly Aukar has always ignored her parent’s plea for peace and quiet. To set free her comedic tongue of hilarious stories and mishaps, she took a major leap to pursue comedy in New York, a place where her family would no longer tell her to shut up.

Her content constantly takes a dip into her identity as a Lebanese woman, with her skits ranging from everything that includes being a ‘war refugee’ to her experience dating in Lebanon and America.

She’s the kind of comedian who holds nothing back, talking frankly about everything from sex to the female anatomy. She slayed her most recent skit at Munich’s Lucky Punch Comedy Club.

Nina Kharoufeh

Shattering stereotypes and bringing to life a unique persona is Nina Kharoufeh, who has been taking over the stand-up comedy scene.

Picture this, an Arab-Ameircan Palestinian Muslim hijabi who’s also an amateur boxer and comedian. Not only that, but she’s also a published author, with her first published book, “I’m a Princess Too,” being all about a young Muslim girl just trying to live a normal life.

Via donyc

When it comes to her stand-up, she doesn’t hold back, exploring race, whitewashing, as well as anti-Semitism through a hilarious comedic lens. Her comedy is really a punch to the gut, especially when she interacts with particular members of the audience.

Reem Edan

Bringing something fresh to the comedy scene is Iraqi-American Reem Edan, who is introducing her fresh, unique brand of “Muslim-ennial” humor. Leaving behind a career in film marketing, she ventured into the comedy world, going on international tours. She made major appearances on big platforms, including Netflix, Disney, NBC Late Night, and many more.

Her humor centers around hilarious and common mishaps of being a Muslim Arab living abroad, including the concept of ethnic ambiguity or what it’s like to be Iraqi.

Fatiha El Ghorri

Just as with the Arab female comedians that have been taking the stand-up scene by storm, Moroccan comedian Fatiha El Ghorri made a name for herself through her unique brand of unapologetic standup.

Being a Muslim hijabi, she knew it was a challenge and that her journey was going to be met with many obstacles. “I did have inhibitions because a lot of the places we perform in are bars, or alcohol is sold on the premises,” she explained. “Obviously, wearing a hijab and walking into a place like that is very difficult, even to this day.”

That didn’t stop her thought from taking the plunge. In all her shows, she was always in a juggling act depending on who her audience is. If they’re mainly Muslim, she’d have to cut out cruder material but at the same time, manage to say jokes that a non-Muslim audience might not respond to.

Despite the obstacles, it’s all worth it in the end. Why, you may ask? El Ghorri couldn’t have described it in simpler words than: “one of the best shows I ever had was in a comedy club. I walked in, and there were 12 hijabis there — I cried,” she said. “They would never come to a place like that if it wasn’t for me. They’re coming because I represent something they can relate to. I represent them.”

Annette Mullaney

With a unique cocktail of ethnicities, the Syrian-Irish stand-up comedian known as Annette Mullany has been generating quite the storm in the comedy field and was even named a “Comic to Catch” by the San Francisco Chronicle. The San Francisco-based comedian is known for her self-deprecating, existentialist, smart, and vulgar humor.

People flock to watch her perform hilarious skits about everything from extremely messy apartments to the struggles of dating a Gen Z. Along with that, knowing that her audience mainly resides in the US, she shares more serious conversations on Instagram, like the importance of cultural exchange and common Syrian sayings, all in helping to propel knowledge and awareness about the Arab world.

Seeing the way Arab female comedians have begun to pin themselves up on the leaderboard of success makes for an exciting new way for Arab life, mishaps, and stories to gain traction and an audience across the US, UK, and Europe.

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