Monday, November 29, 2010

EPIC Win or EPIC Fail?

Well, it has been quite some time now, a few weeks in I have started to lose track and the tour is going strong, EPIC, it is called, and EPIC it will be, but what is the result of it all?

Stand Up Comedy as an industry is full of hurdles, I have done much in my life, worked in many industries and achieved countless victories, but I can tell you nothing has ever come close to the difficulties we are dealing with in stand up comedy, not just myself but all the comics across the Middle East I know and am meeting, its cut throat and we are dwarfed with an uphill battle unlike any other.

This tour has been no different, the Middle East is not prepared for cultural events of this kind, promoters and producers are non-existent and venues are irrationally priced. Governments have a cow when you say I don't have a script, they constantly are in fear of an industry that is not regulated, controlled and conformed, and at its essence stand up comedy is an industry regulated not by governing bodies but by crowds of laughter echoing approval or disapproval.

That is what makes Stand Up Comedy incredible, unique and beautiful, but also tough to push, its not in the favor of a lot of parties. Its not dumb and easily stupidified like our current commercial music industry.

So truly making this more than a fad or a one act avenue is taking a monumental effort.

Here is what I have gathered, in my humble opinion, on what its all really about:
  1. Its NOT about just selling out shows: Although this is not an easy task, in fact selling out in the sea of alternatives is daunting, but persist long enough and prove quality and you will sell out shows, but its not enough to have sell out acts.
  2. Its NOT about media interest: Press coverage, TV interviews and/or TV shows do little more than simply provide some attention and possibly some credibility, with some much more than others, but the market is so over saturated and market data is in such denial of itself media interest is close to being something I wouldn't even factor in, and I have gathered this much from not just Lebanon, but Amman, UAE, Kuwait, Cairo, and Oman.
  3. Its NOT about getting an agent or representative: There is no industry for an agent or representative to take care of you in, and more importantly there are no real true to the meaning agents or representatives! (I also include managers in this description)
  4. It IS about Community: In the United States, for instance, stand up comedy thrives around a community of avid comic and entertainment fans, established clubs and venues catering to this community and talent agents managers and producers constantly looking for the next big thing to expand and capitalize on this community, and of course a plethora of comics.
We have yet to establish our community. The only way to do so is to begin with one central focal point where interest is compacted and ebbs forward reverberating throughout its surroundings.

Lebanon has the strongest form of community for Stand Up Comedy at the moment, the most comics and the closest thing to solid venues for comedy so it only logically follows that with all of that going for it, I believe Lebanon is the best candidate for our aforementioned focal point.

EPIC was much more than just a string of shows, it was a project of discovery, a test of theory and an attempt to turn that theory into practice. I was incorrect in assuming it was too soon for our next step, and I am glad my travels thus far have proven as such.

I therefore will be making an enormous announcement in the coming days. I have decided to change my original plan for EPIC in Lebanon, maintaining the date, but creating a much different kind of animal.

I am beyond excited to share the news with you, to tell you of what I believe will be the greatest single thing to happen for the artistic community in years, but at the moment I can only tell you in the next few days I shall bear news that will capture your imagination!

EPIC Fail or EPIC Win, I vote WIN! But I shall leave you to be the judge of that :D

For now I can update you with the following, this Friday we hit Dubai and the atmosphere is super charged! I have been posting videos like crazy if you missed them checkout they are on the top right, latest uploaded videos :)

Oh! And we launched a website for the tour! check it out! Click on like to spread it on facebook and help get the word out! :D

I will be uploading some footage from the show in Amman today hopefully.

For now I bid you goodbye, but I'll see you again in a couple of days for one mother of an announcement!

One Love,

Nemr Abou Nassar - Unicorn Tamer

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


It feels good to be able to put aside the time to write you all again! It has been so long, and for this, I apologize.

I am getting ready to leave on tour, this is, mind you, not only my first full on tour across the Middle East but the first time a stand up comedian takes a feature show across the Middle East ever.

This has proved to be both fantastic and a nightmare. Fantastic in that it's historical, a challenge like no other, and simply a chance to change the face of entertainment forever, again.

A nightmare when it comes to putting this together. As I am sure you can all imagine, the Middle East can prove to be somewhat difficult to traverse especially when dealing with promoters and producers who all claim to know exactly what they're doing yet prove to have but the slightest clue, if even that!

I am so thankful that I was put on the path of working with K + D entertainment, a Jordanian company without whom I could not have imagined putting on something of this scale. They have proven to be some of the most honest, straight-forward, hard working group of people I have come to know, and may I add that they have left no stone unturned and exhausted every possible resource to end up finding what I believe to be the finest people in the business to work with throughout the Middle East.

And bless them for that! I can assure you finding the right people to work with is THE nightmare!

But it has now turned into nothing but a dream! My production company, Vanguard Productions, has also been hard at work into turning this whole tour into a historic success, and with us working side by side with K + D I can only imagine what the outcome will be production wise.

We leave this Saturday for Jordan, where only five days later I am to stand up in front of a crowd of some 2,000 Jordanians (what a beautiful people), put on the best show of my life, go to sleep, and then wake up the next day and do it again!

From there it just keeps building momentum. From Jordan, to Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Cairo and then finally Beirut.

In each city we are going to create history, with enormous shows and enormous standards to set. Just thinking about the venues I will be performing in puts a huge smile on my face and sets my heart on fire!

To think that just a few years ago I would struggle to convince a pub in Beirut to let me try out something called "Stand Up Comedy" to now, well, this.

It feels like a dream, one you would never wish to arise from. And despite the insurmountable challenges, the unending obstacles, and the fact that we are attempting what none have attempted before all of this does little more than act as a catalyst to an adrenaline rush so powerful I feel like we are going to move mountains from the very earth that bore them.

I can't even begin to imagine how things will be when this is over!

Right now though all I am focusing on is putting on the most EPIC show of my life, I cannot wait to laugh with my brothers and sisters all across the Middle East, nor can I wait for that stage romance I feel every time I step in front of a crowd as if part of a forbidden affair I am only able to experience but for an hour and a half but deems worthy of a lover I remember for a lifetime.

Coming up with the name for my new show was obviously inspired by what we had our sights on, because I did not have a doubt in my mind that we would achieve it.

But living up to the promise of the show is an endeavor I have spent every moment of the past year preparing for. Even when I was in the Improv in Los Angeles on a stage in front of a crowd of Americans who were watching a stand up comedian from the Middle East for the first time in their lives tell them about farting and airplanes in his own perspective, even then I had this tour in my mind.

I must go to sleep now but this Saturday I make my way to Jordan, and along with me are the finest people I know, they work with me in Vanguard Productions and they work for my success and I have the most love and respect for them in the world. And K + D will meet us in Jordan where we will spend the next two months working side by side to change the Middle East forever.

Now that all is prepared I am very pleased to announce the following:

A website for the tour is in its final stages and will be launched this coming week.

A video blog will document all of my travels and the shows throughout the tour and will be posted on YouTube for you to be with us every step of the way!

And I will be updating this blog on a VERY frequent basis, this shall become more or less my diary as I document a life changing experience.

For now I am left overwhelmed and speechless at the feeling of love and support you have all given me. As always I promise to give you the best night of comedy of your lives, it is the least I could do in return for the love you have shown me.

I only ask that you help spread the word, help me make a reality out of what we have dreamed of for so long. A Middle East united through its youth through love and laughter, without pathetic boundaries of politics and religion.

EPIC marks the next stage in the triumph of our collective will over the sins of our past wars and baseless disputes.

Let us invite the world to our stage, our theater, our venue, let us make the walls tremble and the ground tremor for this is our show, our time, our victory.

This is No Politics, No Religion, ONE LOVE.


One Love,

Nemr Abou Nassar