Albawaba has the last laugh with Anger Management's comedy therapists Maz Jobrani & Wonho Chung!
The official poster for the Anger Management Comedy Session event. (Image: Sajilni.com)
Excuse me if I make any typos while writing this story; my fingers might miss a button or two as I'm still laughing my socks off at jokes from Wednesday’s (Oct 29) hilarious #AngerManagement Comedy Session.
Therapeutic laughter was just what the doctor ordered, and “laughter therapists” International Iranian-American comedian Maz Jobrani, Korean-Jordanian comedian Wonho Chung and Bath Bayakha certainly delivered! Ammanis, myself included, were injected with large doses of laughter throughout the entire three-hour session!
First up: Bath Bayakha
One giggle-filled welcoming note, by the show’s very entertaining host Salah, and a group selfie later, the evening kicked off with a hilarious musical act courtesy of Bath Bayakha. Not only were they funny, but both Wissam and Rami played the violin and guitar fluently. Their refreshing sketch, which consisted of “throwing” musical notes at each other, singing, fake-muting the singing, more singing, then travelling back to the Stone Age, left us all in hysterics!
Meanwhile, the show’s “Musical Healer,” AKA super talented Jordanian-American drummer Ala'a Abu Ragheb, kept the short intervals between performances rock & roll instead of dull!
And then came the Korean
Up next was South Korean stand up Wonho. “Yep, that’s really my name,” Chung amusingly announced. He really knows how to make fun of himself, without making fun of himself! The atmosphere was buzzing as he quickly delivered one joke after the other - each funnier than the one that followed.
The best part of Wonho’s act was his spot on racial cocktail of Chinese, Korean, Indian and Filipino accents. Man, those were funny! Eventually, the Chinese-eyed comedian broke out in dance to Gangnam Style. No wonder he was mistaken for Psy by two Dubai fans; his choreography was right on the money!
Wonho truly outdid himself with this performance! Although his material was quite diverse, when I asked where his red line in comedy lies, Wonho told me that talking politics, religion and sex is out of the question.
“Maz works in the US, so it’s easier for him to kind of cross the line a little bit. For me I work in the Middle East region; I can’t talk sex, religion, politics... I cannot cuss. My audience is quite varied, I have young kids, I have older people, so I need to keep it clean most of the time,” Chung explained.
While Wonho’s work takes him all over the world, he’s still wary of what to joke about, “Now with social media and everything, even if you did a set in New York, someone will still film it and put it on YouTube, and they can see you, so you don’t want to be blasphemous or offensive or anything because people can watch you and you don’t know who’s watching,” Wonho said, “so you just have to keep it clean and that’s my audience, that’s my kind of niche and I stick to it and I try to honor it.”
My first impression of Wonho was that he’s obviously funny, but after speaking to him on a personal level, I’ve found him to be friendly, highly-educated and attentive to his fans’ needs.
Man of the Hour
And now, we swiftly move on to the final act and main man of the hour - drum roll please - the leading Comedic Therapist Maz Jobrani! As soon as this funnyman set foot on stage, the crowd went wild. Maz’s singy-songy voice and energetic delivery of jokes quickly captivated the audience and left them roaring with laughter.
Jobrani heavily interacted with his audience - that’s when I wished I was sitting in front row - whom he found to be the perfect material for a more personal interaction, upon discovering an unsuspecting Mexican, Iranian and American “hiding out” amongst the Jordanian attendees! The conversation between them that followed can only be described as hysterical. Ps: The American was none other than local comedian and actor Brett Weer!
While cracking jokes about Iranian, Arab and world cultural habits was the main theme of Maz’s routine, he also made fun of what life becomes like soon after having children. “Once you have kids, you’ll spend every day trying to find ways to make them tired so they would just go to sleep,” Maz wittily, if not hopelessly, joked.
But away from the stage and its madness “Maz the man” is quite different to “Maz the comedian.” I got up close and personal with the comic, who had a sincere smile and a twinkle in his eyes and asked him, “If you were a female celeb, who would you be?”
Unexpectedly, Maz said, “Oh, wooww, that’s an interesting new question… ummm, who would I be? A lot of women are coming into my head right now… Barbra Streisand, because I just get to like sing, and like once in a while I get paid a million buck to sing, not a bad gig, and I got the right nose, I’ve got the same nose as her.” I can definitely see him with a blonde wig on singing “I am a woman in love” down the streets of Amman!
Maz also told me that although he makes fun of a lot of things in his line of work, the handicapped and underdogs are where he draws the line. I salute you, Maz!
By Arwad Khalifeh
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