A Night at the Cultures Comedy Club

By Joy Osiagwu, Editorial Associate

November 19, 2023

Great Saturday nights await Ottawa residents at the NUVO luxurious lounge on Dalhousie Street downtown. Thanks to the Cultures Comedy Club, a comedy house where the rich cross-cultural talents of the capital region showcase their stand-up skills even as they engage the multicultural Ottawa community. The weekly affair runs from 8 pm every Saturday. I was on location on November 18 for a special edition that featured Dr. Habib Siam and Serge Nkusi.

Given the ratio (more students), it was no surprise that the unique tones and perspectives employed by the acts were more tailored for Gen Z in particular.

 Boi Serge Nkusi was the opening act. Young, vibrant, and engaging, he told stories of his childhood and the influence of immigrant parents as they navigated the harsh realities of raising African children in a Canadian society. Nkusi’s personal life stories resonated with the audience as they laughed out loud in choruses as if to echo, ‘That was my story’. 

Serge Nkusi on stage at the show

Reggie Cash, Co-owner of the clubhad an intro that was a pointer to what the audience should expect as he shared hilarious stories of his immigrant mother and her code of conduct for children. And then came the headliner, Dr Habib Siam, a veteran in the game.

Reggies Cash welcomed guests.

Dr. Habib drew the audience in by engaging their emotions between plots and twists. His surprise element was adding the audience to the conversation through engaging question-and-answer sessions focused on personal life stories. He teased couples occasionally, which made people more attentive because they could not tell who the next target was. The technique was a common feature between the three performers. 

Dr. Habib Siam was in his element

Habib, an international performer, told stories of how he was sent to Canada from Beirut for a PhD in Education only to divert to his passion after his program. You can imagine the reaction of his parents. A- cross-section of the audience could relate to that reality, as many immigrant parents tend to tilt toward a career rather than a child’s passion for apparent reasons.

However, Habib’s short stories defined him as a successful stand comedian. A globetrotter, his act took him from Beirut to Paris and across Canada. A major attraction is his ability to reach his audiences in multiple languages (English, French, and Arabic), which made him a listener’s delight. The crowd had a great time. However, the jokes and language may not appeal to some conservative audiences, especially those within the bracket of Generation X.

The Cultures Comedy Club was created earlier in 2023 to celebrate the rich talents of Ottawa’s multicultural comedians. Visit the club on a Saturday evening to see the best of Ottawa locals and some international acts once in a while.

The audience was a mixture of millennials and Gen Zs, with a handful of Gen X