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April 14, 2015

Lebanon's King of Comedy conquers crowds at CSU

On Friday April 3, a sizeable crowd came to watch Lebanon’s “King of Comedy” Nemr Abou Nassar who paid a visit to Cleveland State University.

The 31-year-old native of Beirut, Lebanon joked about Potbelly’s Sandwich Shop and Cleveland traffic (or lack thereof). Nassar seemed to make a really strong connection with the Middle Eastern fans in the audience. He spent most of the two hour set telling humorous stories of growing up in an Arabic household, as well as jokes about his own college days.

Before the show was over, he went through the crowd asking some of the Arab students for their names. Once he got them, he gave the translations, which led to more jokes and laughter.

Along with poking fun at Arab stereotypes, a lot of Nassar’s comedy stemmed from the current state of Middle Eastern society. He mentioned during the show that one of his motivations for pursuing a career in comedy was to bring people together in the face of unrest and adversity.

Throughout the show, he offered insight into the political events in his home country. After describing Lebanon as “the party capital of the Middle East,” he noted that since the nation has been without a leader, times have never been more peaceful.

Outside of his personal life and current events, the cliché battle of the sexes jokes were possibly the biggest hit with the audience. His jokes about how the two define bonding went over resoundingly well with both parties.

The most impressive aspect of his performance was the fact that he spoke in three different languages during the show. Nassar spent a portion of the show comparing and making fun of the two languages he’s mastered in his lifetime, Arabic and English.

Student’s gave rousing applause at the end, and while leaving, students kept mentioning how impressed they were with the performance.

Nassar was born in 1983, two years before his family immigrated to the United States to seek refuge from civil war. He was granted American citizenship before his family returned to Lebanon in 1993. He’s been featured on numerous television programs throughout the Middle East.

During his rise to popularity, he performed a string of shows at seven Lebanese universities, where each show saw record-level attendance for each venue.