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Ottawa funny man receives Juno nomination for comedy album

Hisham Kelati, who grew up in Barrhaven, is a 2022 Juno Award nominee.
Hisham Kelati
Hisham Kelati is a 2022 Juno Award nominee.

Much to his mother's chagrin, Hisham Kelati couldn't help himself from being the class clown while growing up in Ottawa's Barrhaven area. 

"I remember watching comedy specials when I was coming home from school," Kelati said on The Sam Laprade Show on Friday, April 29. "It just seemed like so much fun to tell jokes."

His first attempt at stand up comedy came in 2007, and said it didn't go as well as he wanted, and didn't touch a microphone in a very long time, until 10 years later, while studying in Toronto, he came across an open mic event and decided to give it one more try. 

"I had a good enough set, that it erased that shameful memory I had, and I couldn't stop," added Kelati. "I have managed to turn it into a career and disappointing immigrants mothers all across the country."

Kelati has become a household in Canada's comedy scene, but kept his comedic aspirations hidden from his mother for quite some time. It wasn't until his 2022 Juno nomination for his comedy album, Tigre King, that the secret he long kept from his mother, was finally revealed.

He said his mother has provided him with a wealth of material over the years as he establishes himself in Canada's comedy scene. 

"She only came around recently," said Kelati of his mother and his chosen career in comedy.  "She is the sweetest, kindest and has become the most accepting person in the world. It's exciting to see how things have come full circle."

Kelati was previously a Canadian Comedy Award nominee for Best Taped Live Performance at the 19th Canadian Comedy Awards in 2019  for his appearance on the web comedy series 10 Minute Talk Show.

Currently residing in Toronto, Kelati  has performed at Just for Laughs events as well as Toronto's Sketchfest and CBC’s Accent on Toronto. He writes for the pop-culture blog From Superheroes and wrote for season two of CBC’s hit sketch show TallBoyz. He has also opened for Mark Maron and Chris Redd.

The 2022 Juno Awards take place virtually on May 15. 

Listen to the full interview with Hisham Kelalti on The Sam Laprade Show below: 




About the Author: Anil Jhalli

Anil Jhalli is CityNews Ottawa's digital editor
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