There’s a reason the Moroccan city Fez is associated with those red felt cylindrical peakless hats replete with tassel. The fez is of course the hat of choice for comedians the world over.
Most famous of course is Tommy Cooper whose one liners included “I’m on a whiskey diet…Last week I lost three days.”
And guess what? The world’s first comedy club was located in Fez and performers all wore the red hat of the same name.
A case of nominative determinism.
There were no microphones in 1925 Fez, which only gained electricity a century later. Today, the comedy club is still there. True it’s name has changed – from Ali’s Place to the Nike SuperCom – but the furniture is original, and the jokes certainly seemed pretty dated too the night we visited the SuperCom.
Booze is also limited – you have to prove you are non-Muslim in order to get a whiff.
Anyway, back to the humor.
First on stage was Fatima Worstead from Finsbury Park in London. (We visited on English night which is always a Friday. If you speak Arabic, French or Swahili, the rest of the week is for you.)
His routine began with a series of mother-in-law jokes. As he pointed out, he has a series of mothers in law – one for each of his four wives.
The he sang the Lionel Richie classic: Halal. Is it meat you’re looking for?
Some went over my head: Even vegetables know the importance of salat (Muslim prayer – as someone told me later).
My how they laughed.
Next up was a gay comedian. He was stoned. No really. He was stoned.
The third and final act was just brilliant. A husband and wife team from Fez – the great grandchildren of Ali – and we know how important the descendants of Ali are – tho their routine was anything but Shi’ite.
They just talked about everyday married life including a great routine surrounding the potty. Hamid, the husband, complained that his wife had bought one of those frilly, wooly things to place over the toilet seat cover. He said the problem is that their toilet is a very small room so they got the most upright toilet they could find. As a result, now the wooly thing is attached, the toilet cover will never stay upright. If left unattended, gravity comes to bear and that makes peeing standing up particularly challenging.
Asma on the other hand, chastised Hamid and his mother: “Don’t Teach me how to handle my children,” she told her mother in law by phone. “I’m living with one of yours and he needs a lot of improvement.”
Then she confided the only time Hamid is trustworthy is when he’s handcuffed.
Entry is cheap and the food is good. No. Only joking.