Canada-based comedian and Academy award-nominated actress Aliya Kanani makes her debut with her show Where You From, From? 30 countries, 10 schools, and six languages, so where is Aliya from? Good question! Aliya Kanani’s show asks how does one find a place of belonging in a place they don’t fit in? Aliya learned to adapt and take up space in her ever-changing surroundings. Constantly moving meant she was always the new kid and an easy target… until she learned the best way to handle a bully is to beat them to the punch! We spoke to Aliya about her show, identity and why making people laugh is magic.
Funny Women: Tell us about your show.
Aliya Kanani: I’m so proud to share this show with people. You can expect to come in for a good laugh and leave feeling good about yourself and others. The theme of my show centres around identity, and while I speak about it from my various experiences that make me who I am, I feel like the experiences are relatable to everyone. I take people on a journey through my life with tales of fitting in, sticking out and standing up. By the end of the show, there’s always this magical connection in the room that feels like we all just had a nice day at camp!
FW: You’ve had quite an itinerant childhood, did you find yourself turning to comedy as a way to connect with new people?
AK: Yes absolutely! Making people laugh was the easiest icebreaker and when you move schools
every year, on average, as I did, you need to learn to make friends quickly! I also soon learned that making people laugh had so many magical powers. Not only could it make people want to hang out with you, it could diffuse a tense situation, make people feel better when they were angry or sad, and even get you out of trouble! Although making people laugh was something I did very naturally, I certainly turned to humour in situations where there was any need to release pressure, and it almost always worked!
FW: Are you excited to debut at Edinburgh Fringe?
AK: I am beyond excited to debut. Like many of the artists coming this year, I have been waiting for two years for this! But it’s all good, that just gave me time to get even better! I’ve really been looking forward to being part of this festival after all the amazing things I have been told from other performers. I have heard the city turns into a circus, with an explosion of art, artists, and art lovers all over the place, and I absolutely needed to see what that looks like! I have no doubt it will be a good vibe.
FW: Have you got any tips for comedians going up to the festival for the first time?
AK: Well since I am one of them I feel like it would be a bit arrogant of me to offer tips, but some of the ones I have received were: go there ready to get lost in a sea of talent, make sure to rest, and hydrate, and go in with the goal to come out better. I think that’s just good life advice in general though, really.
FW: Who are the funny women are you hoping to see in Edinburgh this year?
AK: I definitely will be looking out for Kate Barron, Erika Ehler, Shazia Mirza, and Isabelle Farah, and looking forward to meeting so many other funny women while I am there!
Aliya Kanani’s debut stand-up show Where Are You From, From? will be at the Just The
Tonic @ Tron for the month at 7.40pm from 4th August, for tickets go to www.edfringe.com