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Comedy, like Music, Is Universal

Stand Up Comedy Night with photos of four different comedians.

Comedy, like Music, Is Universal

We enjoyed attending Failing in Love, a comedy show in Porto that was equal parts stand-up and improv. Jackie’s been using Facebook here the same way she does in Reno, finding events and professionals and getting pressing questions answered, like, “Are smoke alarms a thing here?” They aren’t.

Our prior European live performance adventures included attending Lyon Rouge for Valentine’s Day in France and catching Beauty and the Beast in Milan. Due to our limited French language skills, we resorted to taking our laughing cues from the audience during Lyon Rouge, a variety show punctuated with burlesque (Oui, oui, anyone?). Because we knew the story, our limited Italian didn’t impact our experience at Beauty and the Beast.

The decision to attend the comedy show was a no-brainer, especially when we discovered that the entire show was in English. The lineup, featuring comedians from China, Germany, Switzerland, and Romania, was a delightful surprise. Our expectations were low as we entered the Auditório CCOP a half an hour before showtime, only to find a handful of people in the lobby, one of whom turned out to be our evening’s host. We realized we had become “those” people, as the majority of the crowd arrived about ten minutes before the show started, filling nearly every seat in the vast auditorium, which is at least 200 years old, judging from the facade and the uneven stairs with a precarious slant from right to left.

There are two halves of the show. The first consisted of host Victor Pãtrãşcan, who asked a couple from England to share parts of their love story, which turned hilarious a few seconds into the discussion. The young couple shared they met on a dating app and then met in real life at a music festival, prompting the man to give his now girlfriend a “weird hug” because he felt bad for not recognizing her sooner. After making their relationship even funnier, Victor moved on to making potential love connections for the single women in attendance. An attractive woman in the front row, a mechanical engineer who loves dancing, was brave enough to play along. When asked for volunteers, the single men in the crowd displayed their fear of a smart woman. They were deserving of the two minutes of ridicule that followed.  

During their separate sets, the Chinese comedian and her German boyfriend shared their perspectives on their adopted country, Portuguese culture, and their unique experiences living in Porto. They were followed by Georges Degoumois, a young Swiss comedian who had the crowd in stitches with his wit, delivery, and quirky laugh. At one point, Georges quipped, “Where you’re born is like a lottery. I won.” You had to be there.

Victor delivered a memorable line that had us doubled over in laughter. He told the crowd that English is the future of language. “If Americans can learn it, there’s hope for all of us!”  

The show’s second half was reminiscent of Neal Brennan and Mile Burbiglia’s storytelling styles. Victor took the crowd on a philosophical journey, touching on gender, civil rights, and social justice while weaving in jokes and one-liners that kept smiles on our faces during his nearly 45-minute set. When wondering why gender is such a powerful descriptor, Victor remarked, “Taylor Swift has more in common with Harry Styles than Angela Merkle.” He’s not wrong. At another point, he likened gender to birds by comparing ostriches and penguins, neither of which can fly, but both of which are considered birds. Victor shared that he thinks the ostriches are creatures who’ve stolen feathers from burlesque costumes and described a penguin as being about the same size as an ostrich egg. 

While we always enjoy live performance, there was something magical about experiencing the world through the eyes (and jokes) of four very different comedians who came from such different backgrounds. 

Up next? A Portuguese Elvis impersonator in May!

Clay has worked with advertisers and marketers to find unique solutions to their business challenges. His insight informs clients’ choices across several mediums, including direct mail, print, branded merchandise and digital advertising.

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