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Immigrant Stories

Date(s) - 07/07/2020
7:30 pm

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Improbable Comedy

Join us for Immigrant Stories with Carol Zoccoli, Maher Matta, Jennifer Amo and Leonard Chan.

Immigrant performers and comedians take the mic to share stories from their own life experience. What it’s like to uproot your life, learn a new language (or two, or three), how your loved ones adjust to the culture shock. These hilarious and humbling stories will enlighten and endear. The show spotlights people and their complex journeys, reminding us that even with immigrants’ adaptability and strength, humor can be a saving grace on this rough road of being human.

Tuesday July 7 at 8:30pm

Show will be presented on Zoom. You must have a free registered account on Zoom to see the show. Link will be sent out 30 minutes before showtime.

Immigrant Stories is presented by Comedy as a Second Language in partnership with Improbable Comedy.

Meet The Performers

Carol Zoccoli is a comedian and writer from Brazil who made her name in the Brazilian comedy scene and now is living and working Toronto. In Brazil, Carol just had her Netflix special out and she’s also in a Comedy Central Brazil’s panel show called “A Culpa é da Carlota”. Carol has been living in North America for six years, during which time she’s graduated from Second City’s Conservatory Program and has been performing stand-up regularly in Canada and the United States. She was recipient of the 2015 Tim Sims Encouragement Award in Toronto and was part of CBC’s Accent on Toronto in 2016. In 2017 she taped her first TV set in English for CBC at the Halifax Comedy Festival. Also in 2017 she performed in big festivals like JFL42 in Toronto and Atlanta’s Laughing Skull Comedy Festival. She also performed with Second City’s Education Company as an improviser and actor. In 2018, she taped her second stand-up set in English for CBC at the Winnipeg Comedy Festival. She also taped a debate for the CBC Radio show The Debaters and she was on the NBC Breakout Festival in Chicago. Earlier this year she taped another debate with the CBC’s The Debaters and she also performed with Second City and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra in the show Play it by Ear in Toronto. As a writer, Carol has written for a number of TV shows in Brazil, including Saturday Night Live Brazil, where she was also a cast member and Weekend Update’s host. Carol has also been a contributing writer for CBC Comedy. Carol performs in English and Portuguese.

Maher Matta has been performing standup comedy for nearly fifteen years. He has appeared on FOX’s “Laughs TV” (Season 2). He has performed at comedy clubs across the country, hired for private events, and placed in comedy festivals and competitions. Maher is also a regular at the annual Arab American Comedy Festival at Gotham Comedy Club in New York City. He was also a writer and comedy sketch actor for “Tonight In San Diego.” His comedy revolves around storytelling and observational humor. Maher can also do multiple accents which he often incorporates into his comedy.

Yumi Nagashima‘s accent is indeed real.  For a while, the Tokyo born and raised comedian was told she needed to make herself sound more North American and less Japanese. This was before the 2019 release of her debut comedy album, My Name Is Yumi.  And before her stand-up career took her places she’d never dreamed of: Vancouver, New York, Los Angeles, Jakarta, London and, um, Regina. To appreciate how things have taken off for her, it helps to back up a bit. After moving from Japan to Vancouver on Canada’s West Coast, and then teaching Japanese to English-speaking locals, Nagashima took some acting classes. That was when she first learned of a small stumbling block to stardom: her unmistakable Japanese accent when she speaks English.  Cue the endless auditions for not-exactly-coveted movie and TV roles as Japanese scientist and Japanese waitress. When it was suggested that she should see a dialect coach, Nagashima thought about it for a second or two, and then declined.  Her reasoning was simple. To speak perfect English would make it seem like she was trying to hide something she’s proud of: being Japanese.  Still, she’s happy that North America is now home, mostly because moving across the Pacific gave her the chance to reinvent herself.  Nagashima made her standup debut in October of 2016 and suddenly she knew what she’d been born to do.  As her standup career has blossomed, Nagashima is the first to admit her life has become charmed. When you love traveling, few things are better than boarding a plane, with getting paid to make people laugh an added bonus. Nagashima has done plenty of that in 2019, taking her act around the globe, thanks to invitations from Montreal’s Just for Laughs showcase, the Jakarta International Comedy Festival, and Comedy Central Asia in Singapore. And she’s got ambitions beyond owning stages across the world. Those include landing her own sitcom, branching out into film, and creating shorts for her YouTube channel which has 167,000 subscribers and counting.

Jennifer Amo is an emerging standup comic in the Washington, DC scene. As a child of immigrants and a former member of the military, her colorful experiences have influenced her unique brand of comedy. She has been able to perform all over from the D.C. Improv, D.C. Drafthouse, the Bier Baron Tavern to many other places including local bars while honing her craft. She sees comedy as a way to bridge people and enjoys the sound of laughter, whether intentional or accidental. Buy her a non-alcoholic drink (she doesn’t drink and when you meet her you will understand) and she will regale you with tales about her youthful escapades, even though she is still in her youth.

Leonard Chan am a comedian and writer. He won the Absolute Comedy Prove You’re a Comic contest in 2016 and the Comedy Brawl in 2018. You may have heard him on Sirius/XM or CBC radio, or seen him at the Halifax Comedy Festival, Winnipeg Comedy Festival, or Just For Laughs in Montreal. You might be able to catch some of his writing on the web (CBC Comedy and The Beaverton) or on stage (“You Want It What Way: A Boy Band Tale”). His original pilot Forever Home was one of the finalists at the 2018 CBC Comedy Originals Pitch Program at Just For Laughs in Montreal and he has also spent a little bit of time in the writer’s room for the international hit Kim’s Convenience.

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