Liliana Velasquez, photo: Caspar David Schaede
There’s a lot to be said about Berlin’s creative scene, its open-mindedness and extraordinary cultural heritage. But like in any other artistic community, the risk of falling into the trap of taking oneself too seriously is pretty high. Luckily, among the innumerable performers in our city, there’s a particular group that prompts us all to look at things with a more relaxed attitude. Read on to get to know Berlin’s favorite stand-up comedians and find out where to catch their shows!
Lena hails all the way from Moscow, and delivers some hilarious material musing upon her family’s KGB past. She hosts two weekly shows: Another Comedy Show in Prenzlauer Berg and The Last Stand in Friedrichshain. You can also see her at various mikes all over town, and throughout summer and early autumn, you might even be lucky enough to catch her giving out free cookies at Mauerpark! Watch out for her Facebook announcements like this last one from March.
Daniel Gutierrez, originally from Venezuela, has honed his skills on stages all over the world. After playing music professionally in many bands touring all over the U.S. and Europe through his 20s, Daniel started doing standup because, evidently, he wanted a financially secure option in case the music thing didn’t pan out anymore. Since 2010, he was one of the pioneers of the English stand up comedy scene in Barcelona, running weekly shows and featuring for many international headliners. In Berlin, he’s the co-host of Neukölln’s coziest English comedy show, Chuckleheads.
photo: Andrea Coccaro Castillo
Liliana is a fearless female with an extraordinarily eventful biography, and stand-up is just one of her many artistic callings. Her other pursuits include dancing, choreography, performance art and more. Before she came to conquer Neukölln’s comedy stage, Liliana was raised in Miami, Medellin and New Jersey, and then had a ball exploring all the different aspects of the NYC life. As you can imagine, her stand-up stories are all brimming with groovy details!
Liliana Velasquez as her alter ego Natasha BikiniOff from KGB SHOW, NYC photo: Christoph Wilhelm
Having grown up in Syracuse, NY, Paul Salamone has always been drawn to various forms of artistic expression. He started doing comedy in 2002, and moved to Berlin in 2007 – he was one of the pioneers who brought about the emergence of the authentic Berlin stand-up comedy scene in English. 2012 saw him kicking off We Are Not Gemüsed in Neukölln – probably the city’s most popular weekly open stage, which he’s now co-hosting with Caroline Clifford.
photo: Heather Schmaedeke
Another household name on the Berlin stand-up comedy scene, Carmen Chraim is an energetic comedian with Middle Eastern roots and plenty of quite ironic experiences with corporate Germans. Besides performing regularly at regular open mics and shows, she also has experience producing comedy shows.
Boing Comedy Club in Köln, photo: Lisa Spielmann
Kinan Al is a Syrian born in Dubai, living in Berlin since 1999. He’s unafraid to tackle topics like the Arab identity. He continues to perform in a variety of venues all over town in both English and German. Some of his work is even featured in the Stand-Up Shorts Series on German Comedy Central. Check out his upcoming performance at Du Beast (in German).
photo: Kinan Al
Freddi originally came to Berlin to study at a film school. Little did she know that the memories of a very religious evangelical Christian household would prove to be a real blessing as she embarked on the path of being a judgmental comic. Soon enough, she’s traded the vicinity of an altar for a stand-up comedy stage in hedonistic Berlin. You can see the results of this surprising transition as Freddi performs together with Liliana Velasquez during Sex, gods & hysteria at The Floating Lounge.
photo: Freddi Gralle
Another comic on our list comes from Glasgow and has been in Berlin since 2008. His approach to a comedy performance is indeed quite special and surely appealing to many in a city that’s not particularly famous for its sobriety. Chris Davis combines his bartender know-how, comedy skills, and mixes that up with a lot of his inherent Scottish charm to bring the audience The Wandering Barman: an interactive show where the spirits are literally always high.
photo: Mark Hunt
When Caroline Clifford left the London stand-up comedy scene in 2006 to get a taste of the expat life in Berlin, she didn’t expect she’d fall into her old habits. But as time went by, it turned out that getting involved with the then fledgling Berlin comedy scene served her well. Now she co-hosts the acclaimed We Are Not Gemüsed and does improve at Comedy Cafe Berlin. Should this article encourage you to enter the stage yourself, reach out to Caroline – she also teaches stand-up comedy.
photo: Grześ Czaplicki
Ben MacLean is a stand-up comic from Canada, who’s been in Berlin for over 8 years now actively recovering from his previous bureaucratic life. His comedy already took him to stages as diverse as London, Edinburgh, Barcelona and Los Angeles. A proud representative of the LGBTQ scene, he has been featured in Männer, one of Germany’s most popular gay magazines. In Berlin, he is the co-host and creator of Go West Comedy.
photo: Ben MacLean