Enissa Amani: Ehrenwort (2018) Full Transcript

Live from Hamburg, Iranian-German comedian Enissa Amani shares her take on German engineering, tax deductions and online fan-mail etiquette.


Hey, what’s up? What’s up? You’re all standing, that’s so sweet! Camera, did you get a shot of them standing? They’re standing! Thank you. But sit down, sit down! Sit down, sit down. Alaikum salaam. Hamburg, I’m so proud, you can’t even imagine. Of course I’m extremely nervous, but I’m just so proud. I chose Hamburg for this special, this beautiful… Isn’t this a beautiful theater? We have really beautiful theaters in Germany. So classy with the chandelier… in this street full of brothels. That’s very… Seriously. That’s kind of my life. An elegant street surrounded by brothels. No, I like it. I’m proud to be here. I have… No, it was a little difficult. We had to pay protection money to some random guys. We wanted to play in this theater, and these guys were like, “Yeah… why?” We were like, “It’s for Netflix.” They were like, “Who’s that?” Allah, I don’t even know. I’m so happy, I’m so… Hey, I’m… That’s probably already been mentioned. I’m very, very proud. I’m the first woman in Germany, and the third person in general… After two gentlemen, I’m the first woman with a Netflix Original in Germany. I’m so proud… Thank you! Hey, listen! Hey, wait. Hang on. That doesn’t count. Stop the shenanigans. You either clap right away, sincerely… But not after a second’s hesitation, like… A lot of people don’t know what that is. A Netflix Original is… Also these… Hang on. Original means there is this, you know, Netflix logo at the beginning. That means people who are watching this saw it, too. The Netflix logo comes first, and then there’s this “duh-dun.” That’s it, really. That’s the whole difference, you know? Really, there’s this “duh-dun.” Netflix reached out to me. At first I was like, “No, I don’t know… I’m, like, artsy and stuff. Really, I don’t want anything to do with TV. I only want to do live shows, art and stuff.” Then Netflix made an offer, and all I heard was “duh-dun,” Allah. I was like, “Okay, I’m on my way. Hang on.”

But this is Germany, you know? If you think, “Damn, Enissa is rich now,” think again. Right away, the taxman was like, “Duh-dun!” I swear. I haven’t paid yet. The day after tomorrow, the debt collector will be like, “Duh-dun!” Freelancers… Do we have any freelancers here tonight? You know how that is. Since I’ve… Do you try to deduct everything, too? Everything. I try to deduct everything. I even try to deduct thoughts. I called the taxman, I was like, “I had a thought.” I want to handle that correctly, I believe in the system. You know? I want to… I do little extra things. Like I’m trying to get sick so I can go to the doctor. Then I can deduct that. I’m really very proud, I mean… Forget Netflix, I mean in general. No, I love them, I swear. More than anything. They’re paying so much! So… I love them. Do you all watch Stranger Things? Please watch it. What are you watching right now? Watch everything! Watch Stranger Things and this Dark… That new show. Dark… It’s a German Netflix Original, the first. Watch that. The Netflix people are here tonight, too. They’re sitting somewhere, Illuminati-style… like, “Okay…” What else is there to watch? Is there porn on Netflix? Is there news on Netflix? News would be cool. I’d watch a whole season in advance. That’d be a spoiler. In Germany, you have to be careful. We are not that relaxed.

I’m so proud, I’ve been performing in English for a year now. I’m extremely proud. It’s intense to perform abroad. But it’s also a little different, you know? In Germany, people know me, they get excited. People ask me in the street to have their picture taken with me. Bless you. They ask… Seriously, someone was like… It’s really cool. People know me by now, I’m very proud. People are so kind, they approach me in the street. “Hey, I like what you do, I like your work,” and so on. But then you go abroad, and you are just… nobody. Just… You’re abroad, so of course you start over. I’m nobody. I’m a total loser. I’m like this guy. You know? I’m just… Seriously! Abroad, I’m just like him. He is… Sorry. Him. Just kidding. He is really cute. He is… You’re sitting front row. Front row is always fucked, you know? Front row, man… Who has never been to a comedy show before? Never? Ever? You’ve been to one before? And you make the same mistake again. Front row, dear? Just kidding. What’s your name? Yannis. I’m such a Yannis when I’m abroad. A proper… Abroad, seriously, I’m just Yannis. I’m him. Give it up for Yannis, please. He did so well. Yannis has…

I want to tell you something about being abroad. Germans complain that American or British stand-up comedians are the best. Right? Our idols are mostly American or British comedians. That’s true. Those from the UK, from London, are phenomenal, true. But listen, guys, seriously, the audience is different, too. The audience… It’s a reciprocal thing. We have to deliver, you have to enjoy yourselves. Here in Germany, we’re all a little reserved. You know? Abroad, I perform with a mixed lineup, with different colleagues. In the audience there are people… Absolutely nobody knows who I am, they don’t know whether I’m good or funny, or what I look like. Nothing. And then you get announced, and before they even see you, the Americans go nuts. You know what they’re like. They stand up and yell, applaud and stuff… In Germany, it’s… Hang on. In Germany, there are people who buy their tickets seven months in advance. Seven months in advance. They’re so excited to see the show, they might even honor you by saying they’re a fan or something. Right? Then you come out on stage, and they are sitting there like that. Really. Like that! I just busted some people. Yeah! I swear. They have this mindset, this inner mindset, they are like, “Well, it might be nice.” It’s confusing for us here on stage. I mean, I can see you. I don’t know if he’s fine or miserable, if he’s a Nazi… I don’t know! I don’t know what… But I love… We have to… The ease… That’s what’s missing a little. The ease. We’ve got people like… Up here is Yannis, for example. Then we have… Yannis, where are you from? Originally? Are you German? Where are my Germans at? Wait, no. Guys… She’s only yelling… Normally, Germans would never yell. You just… All other nationalities yell. No matter whom you ask. Poles, Russians, Iranians, Turks, everyone. And Germans… Even though they are a majority, even in my audience. When I ask, “Where are the Germans?” They’re like, “Mm-hm, yes… We are present, yes. I have also purchased a ticket. Tim, raise your hand, too!” Germans… Germans love their understatement. See, us migrants… Even if it’s just one person, you know? I ask, “Where are the Turkish people?” Why this unnecessary pride? Why? It’s… Same thing with Iranians, even if it’s only one person. Where are the Iranians? Why? I always think they do the same thing at the UN, like when they have a vote. Everyone is against it, and the Iranians go… “Not us, we are all for it. As a matter of principle.” I thank the Turks for coming, and the Iranians.

Where are the Kurds? Very nice. Did you see that? And he did right by sitting very far from the Turks. Well done. Honey, stay there for safety reasons. Do we have more Turks, Kurds, who are…? Who are sitting together? Turks and Kurds? Wow! Is the press here tonight? Please write, “Enissa Amani is bringing peace to the world.” Please write that. It’s so good. Really? Turks and… Turks, Kurds. I’m proud. That makes me really proud. Let me tell you, here in this beautiful theater… Wherever I’ve performed, I’m not kidding, no matter how big the location was, even in an arena, no matter how many people were there, if you ask, “Are there any Turks here?” one side screams. If you ask for Kurds, the other side screams. I always ask myself, how do they separate… How? 6000 guests. Is there anyone at the entrance who’s like, “Good evening. You are Turkish? Please sit on the right. You are Kurdish? Please sit on the left.” How do they do that? I love this world-peace stuff.

We actually do have the press here. The newspaper Bild accredited themselves. Jerks, all of them. Yeah. Really, that’s how they get in touch. Bild writes an e-mail to the agency, like, “We would like to accredit ourselves for this evening.” What they’re saying is, they want to come. You know? Why do they even use words like that when their readers don’t even get them? Why “accredit”? Those sons of bitches. It’s true, you shouldn’t fuck with them. I love the Bild newspaper. To be honest, they treat me very nicely. I talk shit about them, they write nice stuff about me. No idea why. They are really… No, please, subscribe to Bild. They’re great. Please do. Seriously, they have a lot of power. Check it out. There is always a whore on the first page. Check it out. -Who is this guy in the front? -Fatih. -Fatih? Where’s this name from? -Turkey. From Turkey. Fatih here… I’ll give you a good example. You know? Listen. One, two, three… In the fourth row, there is a classy lady with a groomed haircut and a scarf. She is from the intellectual camp, you know? You can see it. This lady has already seen a theater from the inside, you know? It’s not her first time in the St. Pauli theater. What’s your name, my dear? -Monika. -Monika. All right. Listen. See, I’m very proud of this mixed audience, but it makes it very hard for me to write stand-up. Because I have to write a set that Monika likes… but which also amuses Fatih. That is a little bit… It’s not easy. With a mixed audience, it’s not easy. But it’s cool. Normally, if the show is going well, Monika will meet Fatih by accident in St. Pauli tomorrow, and then Monika will say to Fatih, “Hey, bro, what’s up?”

You know? It’s like… It’s important to me that you’re relaxed. You’re here to have fun, aren’t you? Doing stand-up, I’ve realized, is the coolest job ever, because I really believe in karma, and for one evening it’s my job to make people laugh. The thing is, this has been proven, the live audience in Germany… Every other person attending a live comedy show is someone who is having a hard time. Look, someone’s nodding already. Seriously, the girl in the fifth row… “I was about to kill myself, but I thought I want to see Enissa one last time.” I’ve already done one side. No, really. I do it myself. If I feel bad, I go watch a comedy show. And I don’t mean stupid everyday worries that we all have, like financial problems. I don’t have those anymore, I’m doing really well. No, I mean it. We all have our everyday problems, I’m not talking about those. I mean people who are having a hard time because of a sickness, accident, disability. We often have… And I’m really proud of that. We have people here who come to the signing session afterwards and say, “Hey, comedy means a lot to me. It gives me strength, makes me laugh.” I’m so proud of my job because… I get to make people happy for one evening. They should laugh and forget their worries. But you need to be relaxed for that. There’s no need to overthink things.

Listen, I ask people about their nationalities. In the beginning, I ask if there are Germans, Russians, Poles… I ask around. And at night, one person posts on my Facebook page: “Yeah, but you didn’t ask about Macedonians.” Because nobody cares, dumbass. I should ask about Macedo… What is this? I’m just kidding. I love Macedonians. Are there any Macedonians here? There really is one! I love Macedonians, really. She is really pretty, she doesn’t even look like a whore. Welcome! Wow, Hamburg, Allah… I swear, honey… I really do, sweetie. Did the camera get the pretty girl? I just wanted to check how horrible they are. I love Mace… In my opinion, Macedonians are the smartest, most intellectual, beautiful, amazing women and men on the planet. Just great. They are never whores. Czechs are whores. Macedonians… Seriously. Are there any Czechs here? Really? I swear, I love Czechs. Honestly, I love Czechs. They are the best. They are the smartest, greatest…

Relax, people. Listen, sometimes I perform… I’ll give you two examples on how to be relaxed. Sometimes I’m invited to do a cabaret. I’m very proud of it. And when I’m invited to do a cabaret, there are older, renowned colleagues, whom I’m a huge fan of myself. It’s a great honor to share a stage with them. But of course, it’s a different audience. You go out on stage, the audience isn’t as diverse as mine. Yannis is here, Fatih is here, Monika is here. No, you get on stage, the entire audience is 80 years or older. Everyone, seriously. So much white hair you think you’re standing in a field of cotton. Really. I would… Yeah. And then… It’s good… But still, I’m proud to perform there. But a different generation means a different use of language, a different jargon. They don’t get everything. If you, you know… If you come from a different generation, you speak a little differently. But it’s good. I perform in a cabaret, they’re laughing, I’m proud. I think, “Cool, this is going down well.” I tell them about my childhood… But I’ve also had cabaret shows when I suddenly said something like “son of a bitch,” and the whole audience was startled. The whole… You could sense it, they were all, like, frozen, you know? And you think, “Oh, no, what happened? Did they die?” You can’t know for sure, can you? It’s my job to entertain them, right? I had a cabaret show close to Münster, and I… Everyone was laughing. I was talking about my childhood, and at some point I said “son of a bitch,” and everyone was shocked. I thought, “Oh, no, I have to explain it.” So I told them, first of all, I’d never say such a thing in private. Never. Yeah, okay, if I say Nazis are sons of bitches, well… Or ISIS, okay. But I’d never say it to a person, really. Never. If there are younger people are here, I’ve done my bit for their upbringing. I would never… I wouldn’t do that. That’s just not done. But on stage, well, that’s different. I tried to explain it, but it was in vain.

There was an elderly gentleman in the first row. Very elegant, groomed. He was a lot older. He wore a suit jacket and was listening intently. I thought, I’m gonna talk to him, that’s how I’ll save the situation. I wanted him to understand that it was just fun. So I asked him, I went, “Excuse me, how did you insult your peers in your youth? When you were young, what was the ultimate expletive? When you were a teenager, what was the worst thing you said when you got really, really angry?” And he said… He tilted his head back and looked at me sternly. He said, “When I was young, Miss Amani… we were not cussing at all.” I said, “Well, you weren’t allowed to in the Hitler Youth.” I’m glad you’re laughing. They didn’t laugh at all. Wait, hang on, speaking of examples of how to be relaxed… Before anybody can say, “Oh, she called the old guy a Nazi!” No, I didn’t. Well, yes, I did, but… I swear to you, this guy was so cool. He was so relaxed and had such a great understanding of comedy. He understood right off that I was joking. How would I know whether he was a Nazi? He probably was, but I wouldn’t know. I can’t… No, he was really… After that, he really loosened up, laughed along, and understood that it’s my job to be quick-witted, that it’s not… And then he really got involved. My next bit was something about bitches from Berlin. So I asked the same gentleman, “Sorry, do you know the word ‘bitch’?” And he said, “No, but I know where Berlin is.” He was… Like I said, such a cool guy. He even gave me a fist bump. And I thought, it’s so cool he had such an understanding for comedy. Much more than most 18-year-olds. That he just grasped… I went backstage very proudly, and I gave that gentleman some tickets. I was at a cabaret show with four older colleagues, we each had 15-minute sets. And I said to that gentleman, “You know what? When I’m in the city with my solo show, my live show, I’d like to give you tickets. Bring your wife, be my guests.” He’s still one of my biggest fans, comes to a lot of shows. So I’m going backstage, and I want to tell my colleagues about the guy in the front row. I’m so proud, I want to tell them how cool he was… And again, my generation’s slang, I said, “Did you see that bastard in the front row?” And my colleague was like, “Yeah, that was my father.”

After that… After that, cabaret was like “ciao.” Monika, “cabaret ciao” means… Kids nowadays use the word “ciao” for something that is over, you know? They say, like, “Blah, blah, ciao.” For instance… You are Yannis’ girlfriend, right, hun? Oh, wife even? So if in two years’ time… you don’t want him anymore, you say, “Yannis, ciao.” Did you get that, Monika? Yeah. Kids create a lot of new words nowadays. I can’t even keep up. A new use of language has developed in the urban area, in pop culture. They don’t use articles anymore. They say stuff like, “Listen, I’m going shop.” This doesn’t mean they don’t know how it’s supposed to be. It’s just cool not to use them anymore. There’s no need to correct them and say, “Sorry, it’s ‘to the shop.'” They do it on purpose. Seriously, I have a younger cousin, he is about 18. When he speaks, you’d think he had one single brain cell. But he is really smart, I mean it. He’s studying economics, he’s tutoring students, getting the best grades. But when he talks to me, he uses new expressions all the time. Just recently… Sometimes I like to ask him about music, about what kids are listening to nowadays, about rappers… I ask him, “Hey…” His name is Taymas. I go, “Taymas, can you tell me what’s so great about this Kendrick Lamar?” Monika, Kendrick Lamar… Let Fatih explain it to you after the show. He is… Anyway, doesn’t matter. He’s some rapper who is hyped in the US. So I’m asking my cousin, “Why is Kendrick Lamar so famous? What is so different about him? Why is he better than other rappers? Explain it to me.” And he says to me, “Enissa, he’s just a Pisko, dude.” I go, “Excuse me, what is he?” He says, “He’s a Pisko!” I go, “What is a Pisko? What… Is it something good or bad? Is he sick? What is it?” And he says, “No, man, he’s a Pisko, like a psycho, like extreme!” I go, “What? Is he good extreme or bad extreme? Should we collect donations or…” Seriously, how would I know? The way young people talk today… “He’s a Pisko, Enissa.” Then I go, “Come on, Taymas, please. Just explain it to me. I’d like to know, because everyone says… Explain it.” He goes, “I can’t, he’s a Pisko!” Then I get upset, I say, “Taymas, listen, there are authors… Hemingway for instance. He was known for describing things with such detail and so beautifully that even without ever having seen or heard of it, you could somehow visualize it. I don’t know, the taste of a fruit, for instance. Beautifully described. Something like, ‘a pear is sandy on your tongue,’ or something similar. Explain it to me like that.” He’s like, “I can’t, I’m not Hemingway.” I go, “I’m aware of that, but… But it would be nice if you tried.” So he started to… And this is the truth. I didn’t write this, it really happened. My cousin said to me, “Enissa, listen. Lyrically, he is on a level like no rapper ever before him, and at the same time he manages to convey socio-critical topics in his raps, while also being completely self-reflective, and…” I swear, he performed a monologue. I was… Seriously, I was so flabbergasted that he could express himself like that. I stood before him, I was like, “Oh, why didn’t you say so? He’s a Pisko! He is…” I didn’t even know.

You just don’t know. Another thing the youths use nowadays… Fatih, too, I’m sure of it. They always say… When they admire someone, like a person, a personality, they say, “He is an ‘honor man.’” Do you know this, Fatih? It’s all over my Instagram account. I’m quoting some statement from Goethe, and someone writes, “Goethe was an honor man.” Really. Check my Instagram, I’m not lying. I posted a video of Pocahontas, a Disney movie, and someone commented, “Pocahontas was an honor woman.” What is this “honor man”? I don’t even know… They describe everything with it. “He was an honor man.” I arrived in Hamburg today, we stood at the beautiful river, Alster. I went, “Damn, a total honor river.” This theater is a total honor theater. I think it sucks that guys are not fighting over girls anymore. Right? Be honest. I know, the new political correctness and stuff, but sometimes I miss that. Right? When was the last time…? Honey, when was the last…? Has Yannis ever fought with someone over you? Never, am I right? You’d think he is a total pussy. You’d think… You’d think he is politically correct, but… Listen, he is well-built. Yannis is really well-built. Fatih, you don’t even have to look at him like that. Follow his example. He’s eating gluten-free stuff. Just fight over a woman! That’s nice. The first and last time guys were fighting over me was in fourth grade. It was in fourth grade, I swear. Welcome to the show. It was… I had… It was in fourth grade. Two guys, Daniel and Francisco. It was total nonsense. We were just kids, it wasn’t even… They said, “We are fighting over Enissa.” I was so happy. I walked around the whole school and told everyone, “Daniel and Francisco are fighting over me… after sixth period, in the park.” I told everyone. “Daniel and Francisco are fighting over me. Oh, no, I don’t want them to…” So I gathered the whole school in the park after sixth period. You know what they did? They were there, standing face to face, and then they made up. Seriously, one of them said, “Whatever… I’m in love with Julia anyway.” It’s the same thing today. Guys have become so politically correct. They would say, “No, brother, you love her more. I want Julia anyway.” Are there any gays here tonight? I have a big gay fan community. Of course, yes. What’s your name, honey? -Michael. -Mi… What? -Gian. -Gian. That’s a very gay name. Welcome to the show, Gian. Gian is here. I’m so happy! It’s nice, I have gay fans. Anyone else? Anyone else gay? Only Gian? -What? -In the back. In the back, of course. In the… I swear… Guys… Hey! This is supposed to be a PG evening. Calm down, Hamburg. No one is going to believe me that this really happened. Hamburg, you’re my witnesses. This really happened. I swear, he is a total honor gay. -What’s the gay in the back called? -Michael. Michael. Come sit with Gian. Michael and Gian. I’m very happy about my gay fans. They’re very… Do I have les…? I always have… Where are the lesbian fans? Really? Wow! So many! Not bad. Here, over there. I’m very proud of the lesbians, too. Up front, two lesbians, third row. What’s your name? It’s an outing. You know this special will be shown internationally, yes? So if your grandmother in Gummersbach… didn’t know, well, she knows now. What are your names? May I out you internationally? Is that okay? What’s your name? No, I’m not… Am I cross-eyed, dude? There are so many lesbians here. Second row is answering, third row… Yannis is thinking, “Not bad,” because… I’m… Yannis is… Fatih is thinking… Fatih… Fatih looked over there, too. He’s like, “Just you wait. One night with me and she won’t be a lesbian anymore.” Fatih… No. Fatih has a very pretty woman beside him. She’s very cute. Are you together? Weird, because she is really pretty, and he’s, like, okay. No, he is good-looking, too. Like I said, the front row is screwed. So, what are these two lesbians called? -Come again? -Sunny. -Sunny? -That’s right. -Naddl. -Naddl? Sunny and Naddl. Yes, those are very strong lesbian names. Sunny and Naddl. I’m happy, I’m so proud. A very cool community supporting me here. I like it when… I really like it when… I get asked this a lot, I don’t know why. If you’re a woman in the public eye, people ask you, for instance, “What’s important to you in a relationship?” I was raised by a feminist woman. A lot of people known that… Know that. “Known that.” So much for correct language. A lot of people known that an honor woman raised me. A feminist, my mother. Since I was raised that way, women’s rights are very important to me. But listen, I like it when a guy is slightly dominant. Slightly. If he says stuff like, “If you do that…” “…you’ll be whipped?” Yeah, it has to be subtle, that’s important. It shouldn’t be, like… For example, “I’ll break your legs.” That’s good, right? It could be even more subtle. He calls you up, he’s like, “Go get life insurance.” Seriously. “Go Allianz. Get life insurance.” I like that. We are still in the intro. I haven’t even started the set yet. This is supposed to be a 60-minute special. That’s really… In case you didn’t get it, what I wanted to tell you with all this… is that right now, there is a special offer at Rewe… If you buy two large bottles of Head & Shoulders shampoo, you get a small one for free. What’s going on with Rewe, dude? I don’t know if I’m even allowed to say that. I love them. I go shopping there, all right? I stand there in the line, reading my Bild newspaper. But… There’s a new Rewe store opening up every ten feet. As I was raised by revolutionary parents, this is still a big part of me. I have a little revolutionary in me. I want to change the world. I want to have more justice, I’m trying… I do a lot of charity work. But again, typically German, you’re not supposed to talk about it. You know? Germans love understatement. You’re supposed to do good, but don’t… Why? I want to brag about it. Let me… I want to write on my Facebook page, “I did a good deed today.” But it’s really like that. When you travel a little… I help charity organizations, and I realize that a lot of people help. The world has become so small. It’s not just famous people. Everyone, whether rich or poor, doesn’t matter. People are helping, but nevertheless, unfortunately, every eight minutes, a child dies because of a lack of water supply. It’s bullshit! And on this side of the Earth, a Rewe opens up every ten feet. Every ten feet! You walk along, boom, another Rewe. What’s going on here? How many more…? Boom, Rewe. When I get back home to Cologne today, a Rewe will be in my living room. Somebody will be placing yogurt on my bookshelves. What’s wrong with them? But I admit, we’re all like this. Even the best of us. Even people I consider idols in terms of how dedicated they are, what they do for this world. But in the end… Listen, here’s an example. I’d been driving an ancient, rusty Audi for a long time. I had it from my student days. Then everything went so fast. Four years ago, I’m not kidding, I was still a law student, but I only enrolled because of the student metro ticket. I was the kind of person who went shopping and paid with eight different cards. “Excuse me, could you charge three euros on this card and two on this one? And I still have 800 reward points, could you cash them…?” Like that. “Can I buy a yogurt with these reward points?” Anyway… An honor yogurt. Anyway… No, but… That’s the kind of person I was. And then it all happened so fast, and I’m so happy. I’m glad that I can pass this on to young girls. I’m so happy because… I wanted to… There are brilliant female comedians in Germany, but there weren’t any whom I could identify with. Where I could say that she’s my type of woman, that she’s like me in terms of style and the type of woman I am. Since I do this, I’m happy to get messages from young girls who say, “Hey, Enissa, I want to do the same.” It makes me really proud. But I noticed that it kind of changed my view of the world. These past four years… I try to stay the same Enissa, and I’m happy to say that I still am. People write me, “It’s cool that you’ve stayed the same. That you still comment on and update your site yourself.” That’s me. I like answering people. But… I was driving this ancient, rusty Audi, and everyone asked, “Why do you still drive that? It’s got 10,000 miles on it, dents in the front and in the back.” And I’m like, “No, that’s the last piece of the old me.” But then I also have this other side. So I got myself the biggest pimp car that Mercedes had to offer. Seriously. An AMG GT S. Yeah, man. Complete with the whole pimp package. It’s got everything. Yeah. Seriously. I know it’s bad for the environment, but I always rub the outside with olive oil, right? It all happened so fast, in the blink of an eye. I had three gigs on open stages in cafés. They have open stages in every major city. Hamburg, too, it’s great. You just go there and sign up, like, “Hey, I wrote a text I’d like to perform.” I did that in the summer of 2013, not so long ago. I was still a student. There were 18 people eating their salads. Nobody was paying attention. I think this guy was there on that day, am I right? What’s your name, dear? -Daniel. -Daniel. Stalker. Anyway, Daniel… Shit. Daniel was there, I’m sure. Daniel is an honor fan. Daniel was there. So I performed there and sent it to comedy shows that I knew from TV. I sent it to a bunch of them. A few actually answered and said, “Hey, we like your performance. Do you have more?” I said, “No.” But they still invited me, and it went so fast. Before my first performance on TV, I created a Facebook page on the fly. I had no idea how this would work, being on TV and everything, millions of people watching me. My site immediately had 500 followers, all my cousins from Iran. So I performed there… It was taped in the afternoon and broadcast in the evening. After the show, I went home, sat on the couch and watched it myself. And I was so… After the show, all of a sudden I had 3000 followers. That was so surreal for me. I had 800 messages in my Facebook inbox. It was so much. I was just so overwhelmed that I couldn’t sleep for two nights, I was so nervous. I answered each and every message. People were writing, for instance, “Nice performance.” And I sent them back texts this long. Seriously. I was like, “You know, I came here with my family from Iran, then this happened and that happened…” I wrote so much, people started to block me, you know? They were like, “All right, all right! We just wanted to say it was nice.” I went, “No, why can’t we be friends?” Nowadays… Nowadays, people think a lot of things… To be honest, I thought that as well. From a certain point on, you imagine that famous people… You think that they live very glamorous lives. I was kind of looking forward to that, to be honest. I thought… I thought it would be… Germans in general… Listen, I have to clarify this, because there are always people going “huh?” right away. First of all, I myself am German. I definitely consider myself German. I’m German and Iranian, sure. I love both countries, they are both close to my heart. But Germany is clearly my home. I mean, I’ve seen Iran three times for two weeks at a time, you know? Yannis has been to Iran more often than me. So it’s a little… But I love Iran. I’m fluent in both languages. But the thing is… It’s so sweet, when I’m abroad performing my stand-up in English… I think it’s sweet. When people ask what I am, I say, “I’m German.” Immediately, it’s a reflex. I don’t say, “I’m from Germany,” I say, “I’m German.” I found it so cool that my comedy peers abroad just said, “The German girl.” When performing at the Laugh Factory in Hollywood, I was introduced as “the German girl.” Nobody questioned it. Nobody said, “She doesn’t really look German.” I was just “the German.” And I’m very proud of that, but on stage, of course I sometimes say things that are a little problematic with my Iranian background. Like when I say “the Germans.” By that I mean, which should be obvious, my German friends who don’t have an immigrant background. They are still out there somewhere, nobody is perfect. Wait, stop! Guys… That’s so sweet. I love it. Thank you. The Germans applaud self-ironically, thank you, while the immigrants are like, “Are we allowed to laugh about that?” “No idea. Let’s ask Fatih.” You should be self-ironic.

Anyway, on stage, I often say words like Kanake. Difficult terms. I have friends with immigrant backgrounds who would be totally offended if someone called them Kanake, regardless of who said it. I think it’s a term that has become more common in urban areas, kind of. It’s become part of popular culture. You can use the term Kanake, but it’s a little bit like the N-word in the US. So if you’re gonna use it, you can only do so if you’re part of that particular group. If I used the N-word in the US, everyone would freak out. And rightly so. They’d say, “What are you thinking? It’s offensive.” In Germany, it’s… Like I said, I have a very diverse audience. When I do a live show in Germany, I say “Kanake” a lot, casually. And after one show, an older, very pretty German lady approached me and said, “Miss Amani, that was a great show. You are a very sweet Kanake.” And I thought, “Fuck, dude!” And I get a little scared, because I think it’s my fault. I’ve said it so often that this woman thinks it’s totally cool to say that. She might approach someone tomorrow, like, “Dear Mr. Kanake…” You have to be a little careful with these terms. You just have to relax. And of course there is… Listen, when you are between two cultures, we “ethno-comedians,” or whatever the hell they call us… Honor comedian. I don’t know, but of course it’s in you, so it’s a big topic for me. I, for one, am very German in a few ways. For example, I love German engineering. Now that I can afford it, I only drive German cars. Used to be Vietnamese bikes… now it’s German cars. I like ’em. But honestly, no kidding, I only trust German engineering. Solely and exclusively. I’m a little scared of elevators, I don’t like to ride them. America, France, England, I don’t give a shit where I am, I only use elevators that are German TÜV approved. Only then. I would never… I don’t care which… It’s the only TÜV that I trust. I know that a German had to fill out 17 forms for it, right? Before he even decided on which screwdriver to use, you know? I love that correctness. This German… Not the Iranians! I would never, ever… I love Iranians for other things. I love Iranians. Very intellectual people, very… blah, blah, Macedonians… Anyway, I love them, for sure. But I would never set foot in an Iranian elevator. Never! Because I know that Iranians… My own family, my father was like, “We’ll just take some tape and… This tape is no problem.” Someone goes, “But it’s dangerous, it could crash.” “That’s no problem. We have a population crisis anyway. A few can die…” I called my dad, proudly, I said, “Dad, I’m the first woman to get a Netflix Original special.” My dad went, “Who is this Ned Felix? I don’t want you to talk to this Ned Felix. What is his ideology?” You think I’m shitting you, right? My dad wouldn’t care at all if I told him I had a boyfriend… I’d like to… I don’t know, if it’s about a man and I ask my dad, he’d never… He wouldn’t care how much he makes or what his profession was. My father, with his ideology as a socialist, he’d only ask, “What are his political views?” Seriously. Dad would go, “Does he believe in justice in our world? What is he doing…?” I mean it. He wouldn’t give a damn. For him, it would be a negative thing if I said, “He is very successful.” He’d go, “Why? He must be taking advantage of people.” When I told him about Netflix, he said, “An American company? No. I don’t want it. I don’t care who this Felix is. I don’t want it.” Really. I went, “Dad, they offered so much money.” He was like, “Okay, I want it. I want it. Gladly. Invite him to dinner. Felix… Felix should come to dinner tomorrow.” He’s still waiting. Yannis, do you want to come to our house and play Felix? My dad still thinks it’s a guy. My life has… Listen, this… A few things have changed, and I think… I hate arrogance. It’s the most revolting thing in the world when a person is arrogant. Or a company, a label… Brands can also be arrogant. They think they’re better than you. But I like a healthy bit of swank. You know wha…? Especially if you used to have nothing. You know? Anyone who had… Understatement is for people who were raised with a silver spoon, old money and stuff. But people like me, with new money, who didn’t have anything, I want a little swank. You know, I want… But you have to be cool about it. But still, as a comedian, it’s not always easy. Look, I fly… I fly a lot. Sometimes I fly four, five times a week, domestic flights in Germany. I know, it’s not good for the environment, but I always order olive oil onboard. Anyway, I imagined this to be… You’d expect it to be really glamorous. Right? You’d think, “Wow, I’m sure it’s totally…” That’s what I thought, too. That I would only be booked on Lufthansa flights, and that I’d be sitting in that Senator Lounge. When you’re a comedian… Honestly, I fly with the shittiest budget airlines. The worst imaginable! I fly with airlines that are… And I don’t mean, like… I don’t know what you’re thinking of, like Air Berlin or Germanwings. That would be great. No. I fly with airlines that… were founded, like, yesterday. That kind. Like Fatih decided to found an airline after watching a YouTube tutorial. The Constitutional Protection Agency is after him! But still good enough for Enissa, you know? I sit in airlines with names like “WOW air.” What is this “WOW”? Who comes up with a name like that? What does “WOW” stand for? Maybe, “Wow, we might land” airlines. Do you know…? Recently I flew with “Wizz Air.” “Wizz” like “wizard,” right? You don’t want to fly with an airline that’s got anything to do with magic. What is this? I looked out of the window, the thing didn’t even have jet engines. It only had two of these rickety things, you know? Nothing! With those airlines, the stewardesses don’t even say, “Please fasten your seat belts,” or “Switch your phones to airplane mode.” They say, “Write a WhatsApp message, it’s gonna be your last.” I’m serious, I fly with those kinds of airlines. And I love flying. I don’t know why, but I love it. One day when I can afford it, I want to get my pilot’s license, a PPL. I would love to fly. I know, the Constitutional Protection Agency is after me, too, now. But I’d really like to fly. But the thing is… Look. I always take a window seat, no matter if it’s day or night. I love it when you’re over the clouds. Here in Germany, it’s often drab. And then you get over the clouds, and you see the sun, and I have… Seriously. On these domestic flights in Germany, you often have businessmen who read their papers, or work on their laptops. I’m the only one… I always have a window seat, and my nose is always pressed against the window like this. Really. And sometimes, I know it sounds cheesy, but sometimes I cry because I find it so beautiful. And the people think I’m… And behind me is a… You know that little space between the seat and the window? Sometimes a businessman behind me looks at me like that, then looks out the window, then back at me, and goes, “Is she retarded? Dude, what’s wrong with her?” Speaking of this word, be relaxed, people. I had a gig once, and these terms… Some people go, “Yeah, that’s not…” I did a show in Cologne… I don’t like it when people are mindlessly provocative. I think it’s important… You have a responsibility as a comedian. You can’t tell people, “Say what you like! Call people that, people of a certain skin color…” You can’t do that, that’s just… But still, a certain relaxed manner… So I had a gig in Cologne, and I really dished it out that night. To Germans, Iranians, to myself, to gays. There was a table full of gays, and they yelled, “Another gay joke, Enissa, another one!” On the other side, a table full of Muslim guys, they were like… God, I love this moment. Look, all the Kanakes laughed, and all the Germans are confused. It’s so cute. The Germans are like, “Astarfurghillah?” Look how sweet they look. “Tim, do you know what that means? Is that a gorilla? What does she mean?” “You better ask Fatih.” It’s irrelevant to the story. It encourages communication. After the show, you can all ask Fatih what it means. It’s irrelevant to this story. I was just saying, I did a gig and dished it out in every direction. There was a lady on the right… I mentioned earlier that we often have people with disabilities. There was a lady in a wheelchair on the right, on her own. I didn’t want to make disability jokes. I thought it was moronic. Why would I make wheelchair jokes, because the poor lady was sitting there alone… Why are you even laughing? “Ha-ha, she’s disabled.” Anyway… One lady in a wheelchair. She was laughing, but as the show went on, she grew more and more serious. And I was watching her, I thought, “Okay, what’s wrong? I want her to have fun. What’s going on?” She came to the signing session after the show, and I asked her, “Hi, what’s your name?” She went, “Sandra.” I said, “Dear Sandra, what happened? I saw you getting more and more serious. Did you not enjoy the show? What was it?” She’s sitting in a wheelchair before me, she goes, “To be honest, I found your show a little retarded.” You’re laughing, but I was really shocked. But I thought it was really cool. I was like, “Wow, she used that word so casually!” That was great, but I didn’t know how to react. So I went, “What exactly do you mean? What…? I mean, what…? You, as an honor handicapped, what was…? What do you mean?” I’m telling you, this is true. It was so cute. She said, “You know, I liked it that you had a message, and that you dished it out in every direction, to blah, gays, Germans, Iranians… To everyone. But I was the only woman in a wheelchair, and you didn’t make a single disability joke, so I felt left out.” Really, that happened. She said to me, “I felt left out.” I was like, “All right! No disability jokes… Okay, stand up, I’ll tell you one. Okay?” Because she… A relaxed manner. So these airlines… I told you I love flying, and in those airlines… Everything I love about flying is not present in those airlines. For instance, I like that stewardesses, or stewards, for the gay audience… That stewardesses speak so many languages. I find that really impressive. At Lufthansa, I think they have to speak two or three languages. Emirates is even more badass, they have to be at least quadrilingual. Fatih, that means “speaking four languages.” Look how I’m playing to clichés and everyone’s loving it. You have no idea! You don’t know… That was a dumb cliché joke. Fatih, dear, what did you study? Please say… What did you study? Nothing, bro? Lie! Why don’t you lie? I dropped out, too! Just say anything! No? What do you do for a living? But look, that’s also a Kana… It’s so cute. Listen. There’s no way he isn’t doing anything, right? Listen, don’t get mixed up, it’s a mentality thing. If you ask a German… That’s what I like about them. Germans give you a correct, straightforward answer, no matter… An honest answer in more detail than you asked for. Ask them about their profession. So cute, they’re gonna say, “Well, I’m an apprentice, going on to be a gas station attendant for the Shell company, and I’m in my third year of training.” Sweet, right? Typically German. A Kanake, never, ever. You ask a Kanake, “What do you do?” he says, “What do you need?” You recognize that? “I just asked what you do…” “Yeah, what do you need? I can get you anything.” You know someone like that? “I know someone who knows someone who knows someone who can get it.” When I started making money, the first thing I wanted to buy was a horse. Some girls at elementary school had a horse, and I had this complex, like, “Man, I want a horse, too, so I can groom it and stuff.” I don’t know, I knew you could comb… Whatever. An honor horse. Anyway, I wanted to buy an honor horse, so I googled it and saw that they are really expensive. It starts at 5000 euros. So I asked a Kanake friend of mine, “Hey, I’d like to buy a horse…” He’s like, “I can get it.” I went, “Are you sure? The cheapest is like 5000 euros.” “I’ll get it for 500.” I was like, “Really?”, he said yeah, so I gave him 500. The next day, he came back with a donkey. “Here, a little horse.” Germans… I’ve said many things I like about them, but they also piss me off, I swear. Right? It’s both. There are things I love and things I hate about Iranians. There are things… Except Macedonians, I love everything about them. But there are things that… Look, Germans with their… That’s just how it is, Yannis. You know? They are so… I think it’s cute, actually, but they love their rules. Wow, yeah, Germans love rules. They love them! Listen, try this. Germans are a little like German bus schedules. You think I’m talking nonsense. In the whole wide world, it’s only on German bus schedules where there are times like… The bus arrives at 2:08 p.m. 2:08 p.m.? Hang on, I talked about that in Iran… and my cousins laughed so hard… They laughed so hard, they… I get why. In Iran, the bus arrives when it feels like it. It’s like, “Maybe I come today, or maybe not. I’m against bus driving, anyway. It doesn’t fit my ideology.” Germans… No, really, my cousins laughed so hard, that at some point, I was offended. The German in me was offended. I was like, “Why are they even laughing? It’s a good thing that…” But I have to say, the funny thing isn’t that the bus schedule says 2:08 p.m. The funny thing is that at 2:07 p.m., it comes around the corner… and at 2:08 p.m., it really is there. And we all get mad if it arrives at 2:09 p.m. Because… Because we’ll… Because then we’ll miss our train… which arrives at 2:23 p.m. We need to adapt to the system. This straightfor… This is also something that’s just very typical of Germany. I know some people are sitting here and are smiling at me pleasantly, but they feel kind of busted. Only in Germany can you stand next to a completely empty street… Completely empty, nothing. For example, a farm lane. Doesn’t matter. Someplace where there’s nothing and nobody for miles and miles. Look miles ahead in both directions… You can look light-years into the future and light-years into the past. No cars, nothing. But one red light… Hang on. Not even a child. That I would understand. A child stands there, it’s supposed to learn, you cross, they follow… No, that’s not cool. But let’s say you’re alone, or only with a couple of grown-ups. And you can see for miles. What happens? I swear, it happened to me. I was alone. I crossed against the red light. What happened? Out of nowhere, a German pops up! Out of nowhere! He came out of the ground like a carrot. You know? Suddenly, like… Boom! There’s a German. And what does he do? He screams, “It’s a red light!” I’ll tell you what I honestly think. I want to openly admit it. I’m in the street, and no matter who screamed, German or not, I don’t care. I’m in the street, and I’m thinking, “Please die. Please croak. Dear God, please let him be struck by lightning right now!” An honor lightning bolt. Because… Look, I don’t get it. I’m a grown woman. There are no cars, nothing. Even if there was one, it’s not a highway. I can assess its speed, I’m not a Macedonian. I can see if… Not Germans. Seriously. Not Germans. One of my best friends, Julia… We’ve been friends since I was little. If Julia has to break a rule, she can’t do it. She gets diarrhea. You know? She can’t… She just can’t. I say, “Julia, come on, let’s go.” She’s like, “But it’s a red light, Enissa!” I go, “But there are no cars!” “But it’s a red light!” She’s adorable. “You can’t assess their speed.” I’m like, “There’s nothing to assess.” It drives me crazy. Anyway, those budget airlines… I hate those. I love it when stewardesses speak several languages. That’s what I call a clean segue. I’m so good! I love it when stewardesses… I see a weird camera too close for comfort. Did you put a filter on it? Is there a filter on it? Thank you. I’ve… Those budget airlines… I love it when stewardesses switch between languages. When they speak different languages and switch easily between them. I love it. You’re just staring. She speaks one language, then another. Not with… The airlines I travel with, there’s usually a gorgeous Ukrainian stewardess… who can barely speak Ukrainian. And the funny thing is, she tries to sell me stuff in English. You know how those airlines are. You get no water, no food. You don’t get anything. You can starve or die of thirst. Nothing. But they are trying to sell you stuff. Perfume, for instance. You know those perfumes that not even perfume shops can get rid of? Like Davidoff Cool Water. Which smells nice, right? I liked it, too. When I was 24… Or Jil Sander Sun. She knows it, she’s wearing it. Anyway, it’s… It smells nice, too! But they’ve been around for a million years. And that’s what the stewardess tries to sell me on this plane where I’m about to die of thirst. The stewardess says stuff on the intercom like… And I’m sitting there thinking, “What kind of spee-cial offer? What’s her spee-cial offer?” You know what her spee-cial…? I get really curious and I want to know. Her spee-cial offer is something like, “Paco by Paco Rabanne… And I’m thinking, “What 29.99? I’m sitting on a flight for 4.99 euros from Cologne to Berlin, and if I had 29.99, I’d be flying with Lufthansa. What 29.99 do you want?” But everything… Wait, hang on! Wait. Everything… Everything is a spee-cial offer, everything. Like I said, you don’t get food or drinks, but you can buy them. She comes to your seat and asks, “Are you hungry?” And then, “We have a spee-cial offer…” And then she says, “Our chhhef…” Meaning “our chef.” She wants to tell me there’s a chef de cuisine. She’s trying to convince me they have an actual chef back there. Seriously. She says, “Our chef is making chicken marsala.” I go, “What chef are you talking about?” There’s some guy called Dmitri back there… who’s pulling the foil off some thingies… and that’s what she’s trying to sell me as “our chef.” There’s a Dmitri in the audience who’s really offended now. “I hate this bitch!” All right, I’ll skip that bit. Anyway… Everything is a spee-cial offer. But still, on those flights there are… This is the ridiculous part. Because, actually, it’s great that it’s so cheap. You can fly for cheap. Okay, it’s bad for the environment, but who gives a shit? And then you’re on this flight, and there are arrogant people there. You know? There’s a guy on this flight who asks that poor, swamped stewardess something like, What kind of vodkas…? Are you serious, man? You think that woman has different kinds of vodka, that she can give you some expensive…? I don’t know, Crystal, Grey Goose or whatever they’re called. The poor stewardess is totally overwhelmed and goes, “Moskovskaya? And spee-cial offer Gorbatschow?” And these… I told you before, not only are people arrogant, brands are, too. What’s the saying? “Small dogs bark the loudest?” These airlines are often so arrogant in their demeanor and in terms of what they offer. They offer their passengers various “classes” and “upgrades.” You can have different memberships and stuff. You know what I mean, like Gold member… That’s how they call their passengers to the gate. You’re at the gate, and she’s like, “Now our Premium Platinum Golden members…” What is that? Nobody stands up. No one! Nobody wants that! Because I have to fly with them so often, I am a Premium Platinum fucking Golden member by now. I’d never stand up! I don’t want to be the first one on that plane and die from a gas leak in there. I don’t want that! I’m hoping, and I remain seated until the very end. But nobody stands up. She goes, “Now our Silver members, now our this or that members…” And then she says, “Now our disabled members…” Their handicapped passengers! And I was thinking… Handicapped. And I was like… I was so shocked. “What’s that supposed to mean? What ‘disabled members’?” I thought, “Maybe she just means that passengers with a disability should board first so they can be seated and can put away their luggage easily.” Makes sense, right? But then she says, “Now our Premium disabled members…” I thought, “What is ‘Premium handicapped,’ dude? What on earth is that?” But then a woman rolled past me in a wheelchair, a lowered wheelchair, chrome rims… Not kidding. Like, all over. Louis Vuitton all over. And, looking at me condescendingly, she went, “I’m Premium disabled.” I went, “Yeah, I can tell.” You know how these airlines make money? It doesn’t do any good to fly with them. Why? You paid a small amount for the flight, but you land at some random airport that has nothing to do with the city that’s actually your destination! You know those airports specifically built for such budget airlines? They’re located, like, 5000 km away from the city they were named after. It makes absolutely no sense. Take Frankfurt, for example. For Frankfurt am Main, there is Frankfurt-Hahn. Frankfurt-Hahn feels like it’s located 7000 km outside of Frankfurt. It’s closer to Vietnam than it is to Frankfurt. How could I possibly benefit from landing there? Same thing in Düsseldorf. They have an airport called Weeze. Düsseldorf Weeze is in the middle of nowhere, there is nothing. It’s in the middle of a forest. There are, like, three pedophiles and me. That’s where I land. How am I supposed to get home from there? No one is picking you up, there are no buses, no trains, nothing. I asked this Premium disabled lady if I could “roll with her.” I want to get home, man! Everything is a spee-cial offer on that flight. These flights… I told you I like flying. You know what else I like? Gateways. Gateways are these things, these… I like them. These tubes… They have their own little cart, and sometimes you see them rolling up like some cartoon. They dock onto the plane, and you can walk straight from the plane to the concourse. I like it, it’s so elegant. You know? You have your headphones on and walk from the plane to the concourse. Not on the airlines I fly with! No, there you have to change buses three times, change trains four times, then you have to canoe, dude… Then you end up on a runway. You don’t know where you’re supposed to walk. Though, in Germany, it’s organized. There’s always a German who shows you exactly where on the runway… You shouldn’t wander around on the runway, especially if you’re Iranian. It’s like, “Please walk that way.” This whole Germans and Kanakes thing, I’d like to say something in conclusion. I explained it earlier, like, with an immigration background or… Complete bullshit. It depends on your attitude. What are you more of? Are you a little bit of a Kanake, of a German, a bit of both? I have both in me. You see it in the things that people do. Would you cross against a red light if there are no cars around or not? Both things are all right, okay? But… I have a great example. My manager is Iranian. He’s my tour manager. He drives me from one place to another. He’s a proper Iranian, with a complicated Iranian first and last name. But I’m telling you, he is the most German German on this planet. Why? Because he goes fishing, dude. Who goes fishing?! He loves fishing, seriously. There are things… A Kanake would never do that! And he’s so cute, he gets so proud. You have to imagine, he drives me from place to place, and then he tells me, “Enissa, yesterday, I caught a zander.” And I’m like, “Why, man? You can buy one that’s already dead at Rewe.” He’s so cute, so I tease him, I go, “Surely you do other typical stuff as well, right? Like, you strap…” He has an adorable family. “You guys strap your bikes to the roof of your car, and then you drive somewhere to go biking.” And he’s like, “Sure we do.” Another typically German thing: hiking. To drive somewhere in your car to go hiking. Who does that? All right. Ciao, Hamburg. Thank you. See you! Thanks, Hamburg! You were great! Thank you very much, everyone!


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