On the surface level, the immigration experience is anything but funny. However, if you happen to be a comedian who has to undertake the immigration process, then you might feel differently. Expert comedians are able to harvest all kinds of material and transform them into something hilarious. Immigration requires the candidates to integrate into a new society, and that can prove to be a real struggle at times.
Trying to make one’s way through a culture that is vastly different from the culture of one’s home country can make life difficult, but also funny at times. Communicating in a new language puts people in a vulnerable spot. These experiences are relatable to all immigrants, and sharing a laugh about it often puts things in perspective.
Carol Zoccoli, when hosting her immigrant comedy show named Comedy as a Second Language in Toronto, said that storytelling allowed them to establish better connections and also gain self-knowledge. Zoccoli, who immigrated to Toronto from Brazil, introduced an immigrant-specific show to help newcomers integrate into the society and culture of the country. She created the show, Comedy as a Second Language, back in 2017 and it features many immigrant comedians who want to shine a light on their adventures and misadventures.
One of the biggest headliners of the show is Martha Chaves, who thinks that it is important to provide a platform for comedians who can share a unique perspective. Chaves began stand-up comedy in order to improve her fluency in English. Like Zoccoli, Chaves discovered that her accent served her well on stage.
Salma Hindy has appeared on Comedy as a Second Language multiple times. She is popular for narrating hilarious anecdotes from her personal life. Her jokes are aimed to showcase the absurdity of stereotypes and challenge them.