Seriously Funny

Published in Helsinki Times 15.5.2014

Arctic Laughs is all about show time, laughter, and great talent. It is a unique festival in Finland and, in fact, in the world.

”This is the first-ever English stand up comedy festival in Finland, as well as the first-ever English stand up comedy festival in that world where English is not a native language,” says Ali Jahangiri, one of the comedians and organisers of the event.

There are 30 comedians performing, with 12 different nationalities. Some of them live in Finland, and some have been invited to join in from different countries.

”Our aim is to break into the international market,” Jahangiri continues. The top stand up crew here in Finland is super talented. For example Ismo Leikola, who’s in the verge of a breakthrough, has been invited to perform in Just for Laughs festival in Canada, which is a huge deal. André Wickström, on the other hand, gigs regularly around the Nordic countries. The thing is, in Finland people don’t seem to realise how good stand up comedians we have here, and with the help of this festival we would like change that.”

Organiser Ali Jahangiri is one of 30 international comedians on the bill.

Organiser Ali Jahangiri is one of 30 international comedians on the bill. (Robert Lindström)

As well as making the Finns appreciate their professionals of fun, Arctic Laughs provides a platform for the comedians to make a name for themselves.

”We have producers coming over from England to check out the talent, who will be then promoting the biggest names in the British market.”

On the bill, there are also some world-class comedians who are way past the making a name for themselves stage. Greg Proops from the US, whose podcast takes place at On the Rocks 16 May, is one of them.

”Rolling Stone magazine ranked his podcast as 8th best comedy podcast in the world. It is a unique opportunity to see stand up comedy where the audience can participate in the show.”

Even though nowadays there is a lot of English stand up comedy on offer in various towns of Finland, it is still a relatively new scene.

”I, together with Nickolay Antonov, established the first English language stand up comedy club in Finland in 2005. Now I would like to wish everyone welcome to come and witness how developed and competent that scene is today,” Jahangiri concludes.



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