Connecting communities through comedy
Parsai Immigration Services has partnered with two Toronto-based Latino comedians to help shape the future of cultural diversity through comedy.
Juan Cajiao and Stephan Dyer work to diminish differences by sharing cultural similarities in a comedic fashion through their company, MalPensando, a bilingual comedy club and school. The comedians encourage newcomers and immigrants to discuss the negative stigmas they face and show them how to turn these hardships into humour. As a result, people can open up, connect and laugh about these issues.
“We never thought that through humour we could change lives and impact communities, but we made it possible and this is growing every day,” Cajiao said.
Comedy at the core
Everything MalPensando does is rooted in comedy– whether they’re performing shows or running comedy workshops about cultural acceptance.
According to Cajiao, comedy comes from tragedy. It comes from what bothers people and makes them uncomfortable. The best jokes are created when people think deeply about their problems and find a tragedy. The next step is to share that tragedy in a funny way where others can relate.
“Most of the time people think they are the only ones going through certain tragedies but when you mention them out loud, they realize they can relate,” Cajiao said.
Being an immigrant or newcomer can come with a lot of tragedy. Leaving your home country, leaving family and sometimes even regretting your move can result in a sad situation. People immigrate to the country by themselves and have to hurdle through additional obstacles.
“Back home, they might have accomplishments, connections with people and a network of resources and when they come here, they have to start all over again from the bottom,” Cajiao said. “Think about how difficult that can be.”
Comedy is therapy
According to Cajiao, comedy is therapy.
MalPensando creates a safe zone for people by sharing the struggles behind being an immigrant during comedy shows and workshops. This encourages others to open up. People also start to overcome their struggles by learning how to laugh about them. Their workshops have been nicknamed “the cheapest therapy out there.”
“It’s very beautiful when people open up in our workshops and put their feelings on the table and we learn to build humour from there,” Cajiao said. “Tragedy brings us together and we laugh it off.”
MalPensando has a diverse audience during their comedy shows. All kinds of Latino peoples attend their shows and workshops, an occurrence that rarely happens.
“We’re all here in Canada as immigrants which brings us together as one instead of being Guatemalan, Spanish or Mexican,” Cajiao said.
The perfect partner
Parsai Immigration Services is now a proud partner of MalPensando. According to Cajiao, this is the perfect partnership.
“We have the perfect combination. We talk about life in Canada and now, with all of the changes in Latino communities, people want to know how to get here as well. Parsai Immigration Services is the perfect partner to guide these people to a better quality of life,” Cajiao said.
According to Cajiao, Latino communities in the United States are becoming more violent and their quality of life is decreasing. As a result, people are searching for ways to get out of the country. Canada is one of the main countries that people are interested in immigrating to.
Al Parsai wanted to partner with MalPensando as a way to build communities using comedy.
“This partnership is one way to invest in something that builds communities by connecting them through art and culture,” Parsai said.
Doha Hanno Publicist, Parsai Immigration Services.
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