It all started with a diarrhea joke.
After hearing the all too familiar JFL warning telling the audience to put their phones on silent-mode and berating people who might not have seen a show in the past ten years, we were expecting Rachid Badouri to jump on the stage and immediately start pulling faces and telling stories about his father embarrassing him.
Instead, we heard his voice over the speakers as he declared to the audience that he would be replaced by his good friend Ronnie Chieng (with whom they’ve played the Ethnic Show), because he was preoccupied with diarrhea. That got quite a bit of laughs.
I saw Chieng earlier at the Ethnic Show and he was pretty funny there. Luckily, he used a completely different set – except for the bit where he tells the audience that anyone at anytime could convince him that he left his iron on. Nowadays, he apparently carries his iron around with him.
One of his jokes got me thinking though. Apparently, he was going through his old photos from the 90s one day, and realized that he looked shit. He was surprised, “I was there in the 90s, and I didn’t think I looked shit!” His conclusion is that, we might not know it now, but right now all of us look completely shit, with our skinny jeans and whatnot.
After Chieng, however, Rachid “Rat-shit” Badouri took the stage with all his shiny glory. The Francosphere probably knows who he is, but as far as the Anglosphere is concerned, Badouri has existed only for the past six months. He warned us: “My English is not good, but do not forget, your French sucks.”
A French Canadian, born to Moroccan parents, and hailing from Laval; Badouri has a lot to say – mostly about his father. Growing up in Quebec as an Arab is difficult he says, and sadly, his father did not make his life any easier for him.
For instance, his father had a tendency to use words whose meanings he didn’t really know. So, often he would tell Badouri, “Shut up your face, you cameltoe.”
At the middle of his routine, he stopped for a second. Turns out, he forgot what his next line was supposed to be, and ran off the stage to go get his cheatsheet. He did it so candidly, however, that the audience could do nothing but to applaud.
Badouri’s strong suit is his face. Not quite on the same level as Jim Carrey, but boy can he twist and contort his face and eyes. His demented chicken impression is pretty remarkable.
His last joke was about the customs form that you need to fill as you enter Canada. Unlike other countries, Canada asks you whether or not you have ever been to a farm recently. As a former flight attendant, Badouri has always wondered what would happen to someone who said “yes” to that question. So one day, he decides to say yes. The officer at the customs looks at him and says “Come with me.” They take him to an abandoned runway, with a tree growing in the middle.
And then the officer says: “You see that tractor over there? It’s been there for 20 years, could you please move it?”
After that joke, and after the entire performance, Badouri got a standing ovation; and you could tell that he was so darn happy with it. It was his first time doing an hour-long set in English, he fills up every single seat at L’Astral, and gets a standing ovation. Honestly, he did deserve it.
Rachid Badouri was part of the Ethnic Show and did his hour-long English set on July 23 at L’Astral. While he has no more shows at Just for Laughs, he’s going to be on tour with his French set in the upcoming months. Check out his website for more information.
Photos are from Badouri’s performance at The Ethnic Show, courtesy of Matthew Cope and Just for Laughs.