28 Dec

Chicago’s Comic: Mina Liccione

Q: What inspired you to start stand-up comedy?

A: I went a different route. Comedy chose me. I started performing at age three as a dancer then choreographer and comedy performer on Broadway, TV, Cirque and got into stand-up accidentally. I was always cast as the comic relief or villain with a humorous edge. It made sense that after many years of playing strong character roles, I was alas on stage as myself telling my own stories.

Q: Describe your first performance.

A: I was emceeing a charity event in San Francisco and there were technical difficulties. The organizer pushed me on stage and shouted, “Do something funny!” So I did. I made fun of the situation, shared a few funny stories and improvised with the audience doing what I later learned was crowd work. Afterwards folks came up to me and said, “You really need to do stand-up!”

Q: Do you have “pre-show” rituals? If so, what are they?

A: YES! The 3 P’s. I pee. I pray. I do a physical warm-up.

Q: Where in the world is your favorite place to perform stand-up? Why is this your favorite place?

A: The Middle East! Stand-up comedy is still fairly new in the region so the audiences are really excited to be there. I also quickly realized that Italians and Arabs have a lot in common… it’s that Mediterranean flava! So my material was very relatable since day one. Now, between an Arab husband, half Arab sons and all the hummus, zataar and machboos I’ve been Arabized! We’re people now, it’s like we’re all related!

Q: What shows, podcasts, blogs do you produce or co-produce?

A: I co-founded Dubomedy in 2008 with my now husband and fellow comedian, Ali Al Sayed. It was the first comedy school in the MENA Region and pioneered the local comedy scene in the United Arab Emirates. We produce a slew of shows year-round. We also founded Clowns Who Care which brings joy to those in need. We tour refugee camps, visit special needs centers, children’s hospitals and orphanages.

Q: What are three of your favorite things?

A: My husband. My twin baby boys. Cannoli.

Q: What is your favorite sammich?

A: Old fashioned grilled cheese!

Q: What’s one thing people assume about you, that is or isn’t true?

A: People assume I smoke, drink alcohol, love prosciutto and meatball subs. When they find out I don’t they’re like, “Are you sure you’re Italian-American?” Yup, a straight edge vegetarian guidette right here!

Q: If you weren’t a comic, what other job would you love to do?

A: I want Oprah’s job. Interview awesome people, hang out with the Obamas and get to give away free cars!

Q: What are some comedy goals/dreams you have on your To Do List?

A: If you asked me this question two months ago the list would’ve included a Comedy Central Comedy Special but I’m so excited to say I just ticked that off my list! Whooohoo! Next in line is a sitcom and a comedy screenplay I’m writing that I want to cast Robert De Niro in and to create an ongoing comedy and performing arts program for refugees in Jordan.

Q: What quality, trait and/or body part do you really like about yourself?

A: I’m almost 6 feet tall and I love being able to see everything from afar while the rest of my short friends are stuck looking at crotches all the time.

Q: What’s one thing you wish more people knew about you? [or anything else you’d like mentioned, i.e. your education, personal life or mission statement]

A: Comedy isn’t just a hobby or passion. Comedy is my way of life and my higher purpose. Being able to make others laugh is something very special. You never know which audience member is going through a divorce, fighting cancer or just lost a loved one. Tragedy in time is comedy. When comedians speak their truth through jest, it helps others heal.

Q: How will you know you “Made It?”

A: I think that already happened on my wedding night.


COMING UP

  • March 2019 – New Special on Comedy Central Arabia

AROUND THE WEB

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