Nour Hadidi is a Toronto-based comedian and writer. She is a writer on This Hour has 22 Minutes on the CBC, and has written for the political satire show The Beaverton on the Comedy Network. She was invited to perform at the prestigious Just for Laughs festival in Montreal in 2017 and 2018, as part of the Tiffany Haddish Gala on Kevin Hart’s LOL Network. You can catch her hosting the hit monthly show So Fresh N’ So Clean at Comedy Bar on the first Friday of the month.
In honour of International Women's Day, we are celebrating five Torontonians who inspire us and who are each making a lasting impact in their own unique way.
Elle: What’s been your biggest adventure to date?
Nour: Comedy life is an adventure. I literally don’t know where I will be in 3 months. In one week, I am going to Halifax, Kingston then showcasing for Just for Laughs. Comedy itself is an adventure as you don’t know where you will be and when you turn up to the show you don’t know what it’s going to be like.
Elle: Who or what inspires you?
Nour: I love a comedian named Gary Gulman. He shares a different writing tip on Twitter every day. He has been a comic for over 25 years and he is giving us these tips. His kindness and his generosity inspires me so much to be a better writer and to give like he does.
Also, it’s not easy to keep going. You just have to love the art of getting on stage, writing a new joke. A lesson I learnt from doing comedy was that accomplishments do not bring you happiness – what will bring you happiness is the work itself after the accomplishment. That is what you have to go back to and what should inspire you. When a joke works the first time that’s what really keeps me going.
Elle: What drives you?
Nour: When I was younger it was my dad. My dad always pushed me. He showed me with his actions. He is a doctor and he loves his job. He lives in Jordan and in Jordan when it snows it’s tough, people stay in and it’s dangerous to drive. My dad would walk to work in the snow just to get to work because he loved his job. I always looked up to him in that regard.
When I graduated from McGill I got a job in finance. I tried comedy for fun and never thought it would be a career but I applied that same drive to comedy and I would go out and write and do as many shows as I could. And then it slowly built up from that. When I first started, what drove me was just wanting to be better and wanting to have those skills that I saw comics above me had like talking to the audience. Then it evolved and I wanted to be good everywhere and not just in Montreal. One year I travelled to fifteen cities to do comedy.
It’s my seventh year doing comedy and it’s evolved to lots of different things. Since I quit my day job two years ago what drives me is making it. I’ve got to make it Elle!. I quit my job and put my eggs in this basket. I want to be a comic, I want to be a writer, I want to be a performer, I want to make a living and do it all. That’s what drives me now.
Elle: One person living or dead you’d like to have a conversation with.
Nour: I’d like to sit down with Steve Martin, I read his autobiography and it’s such an interesting story. I grew up watching Steve Martin movies like Father of The Bride and Cheaper by the Dozen.
Robin Williams is another person I’d love to have a conversation with because I love Mrs. Doubtfire and he is such a comedic genius.
Elle: First word that comes to your mind if I ask you to describe yourself.
Nour: I think I am a Ravenclaw (Harry Potter reference) and I know where I am in life.
Elle: What is your favorite word or phrase in Arabic?
Nour: 'Yalla' – its means let’s go, let’s get going, let’s do it – Yalla! It’s fun to say and rolls of the tip of my tongue and works in so many situations.
Elle: At Zvelle, we believe we are in the business of inspiring women to use their voice through fashion. What does using your voice mean to you?
Nour: Using my voice means creating a space in comedy for someone like me who is a woman, an immigrant, and a Harry Potter nerd to have a voice. There is someone in the audience who’s going to learn a perspective they haven’t heard before. When I first started comedy, I spoke about being an Arab and Muslim. Three years ago, I thought maybe people think I am a one trick pony.
I spoke to another comedian and she said if we are all talking about the TTC or breakfast we’d all be the same. Embracing my difference, my diversity was very hard for me to do but once you realize that you are doing it for yourself and the people in the audience, and not for anyone else, it was very liberating.
Photography: Mark Binks