Haitian comedian tackles culture in new stand-up

Joachim’s comedy often tackles his personal experiences of being Haitian in New York, and recognizing the difference in cultures and problems.
Roberto C. Tobar

Comedian Tanael Joachim is hosting a one-hour comedy show at the Gotham Comedy Club on Aug. 1. In his new stand-up, the Haitian-born jokester is going to approach many subjects, from race, religion, and the Me Too Movement. Moving to New York from Haiti in 2008, the comic said he encountered a mild culture shock that shaped a lot of his comedy. And that unique outlook gave him a firm grasp to tackle hot-button issues such as race and his bewilderment of former President Obama’s election.

“I have a Haitian perspective, and being someone from the outside looking in — I don’t look at race the same because I was born in a black country and all of my presidents have been black,” he said.

He describes his brand of comedy as a mixture of his personal experiences, combined with a very relaxed conversational style that follows the line on racy topics.

“I like to talk about things that are true and honest, and the not-so polite things you wouldn’t talk about at a dinner party,” said Joachim. “My comedy varies and I joke about things that I feel that I’m compelled to joke about.”

One of those things is the phenomenon of first-world problems, which Joachim finds a laughable concept. He says it is one of the most glaring instances in ways minor issues become complicated in the face of privilege.

“I grew up in Haiti and I know what struggle and poverty looks like, so when I got here to see what some of these first world problems were — it was just mind boggling,” he said. “When I heard of emotional eating, I thought ‘What a luxurious problem to have — to have so much food accessible to you that you call it a problem.’”

And he also pokes at the gluten-free food craze, and jokes about places in the world where dietary concerns are not an option.

“Gluten allergy is definitely a first-world issue,” said Joachim. “In Haiti, we don’t have that luxury, we can have bread for dinner and feel lucky to have it.”

Another current and hot topic is the Me Too Movement. He said in the age of tackling sexism in the workplace, men have to reevaluate how they interact with women and in one of his segments, he hopes to playfully get this point across, whilst showing support to victims.

“That one is one of my favorite bits to do and it’s also tricky because I want to make sure I address the issue in a way where I don’t alienate anyone,” said Joachim. “I’m pro-Me Too Movement and I think it’s good that women are demanding men respect them at the workplace and I empathize with it.”

And he has a light-hearted approach on the topic, mostly aimed at men and how they can control their interactions with women.

“I have a funny part where I talk about how men are just naturally creepier than women and that’s why there’s so much men doing it,” he said.

Joachim said his show was for people who not only wanted to laugh, but also for those who wanted a little education with their comedy.

“I think people should come first and foremost because it’s going to be funny, smart, edgy, and honest and I’m proud of that,” he said. “The joy of comedy is you can come and listen and learn something too. I’ve been living in America for nine years and I see the world in ways that you don’t, so it’s going to be fun to hear a different perspective that aims to bring people to find common ground.”

“Tanael Joachim” at Gotham Comedy Club [208 W. 23rd St. between Seventh and Eighth avenues in Chelsea, (212) 367-9000, www.gothamcomedyclub.com]. Aug. 1 at 7 pm. $12.

Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260–8310 or e-mail her at asimo[email protected]local.com. Follow her on Twitter @AS1mon.
Haitian comedian Tanael Joachim is hosting a one-hour comedy show at the Gotham Comedy Club on Aug. 1.
Mindy Tucker

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