Under the Spotlight: Comedian Janine Harouni’s Heartfelt Humor Tour ‘Man’oushe’ Hits Indian Shores

“Funny is my way of coping with life,” declares Janine Harouni, set to embark on her journey to India. She’ll be seen captivating audiences in Mumbai and Bengaluru, with the show ‘Man’oushe.’ A finalist for the coveted Edinburgh Comedy Awards in 2023, the performance is brought to Indian viewers by the celebrated Soho Theatre from the United Kingdom.

Janine’s humor isn’t derived from the standard comedic playbook. She recounts an epiphanic moment, “I was selling brownies at an outdoor market in London in the pouring rain at 10 in the morning and I thought, ‘I’m about to turn 30, I haven’t worked as a performer or in a job I enjoy for a year now. No amount of bombing on stage or being heckled could be worse than this,” she shares.

A burning desire to pursue comedy had always smoldered within her, yet fear had held her back. “I had previously been in a West End Play for a year and a half, but after a full year of complete unemployment I had nothing to lose,” she asserts, reflecting on her rise to comedy from her home in London. Toward the end of 2016, she boldly stepped onto the open mic stage, and within the year, was competition-ready.

These initial forays culminated in her first full-length show at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2019, marking her transition to a professional comedian. But as fate would have it, the entertainment world paused amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Janine humorously remarks, “It’s what every live performer wants just as their careers are taking off for the entire live industry to shut down. It was great.”

Yet, Janine perceives the forced hiatus as a hidden boon. She reflects, “I found success quite quickly but didn’t really know who I was or what my voice was at the time.” A period of introspection, coupled with therapy, bestowed upon her a far greater grasp of her comedic identity.

On stage and off, this newfound perspective is clear. “The show I’m bringing to India is probably the most personal thing that I’ve written,” she confides. Through humor, she confronts the sorrow surrounding the loss of her friend, the director of the show, and her own experience with pregnancy loss. Janine describes how the outpouring of audience feedback highlighted the universal resonance and cathartic power of her performance.

Man’oushe naturally evolved to include elements of Janine’s personal life following her friend’s passing; in doing so, the narrative gained coherence and depth. During her hour-long act, Janine explores the tumultuous journey toward pregnancy, touching on the internal dialogues about life shifts and sacrifices.

Reflecting on her multicultural heritage, with Lebanese, American, Italian, and Irish roots, and now established in the UK, parts of ‘Man’oushe’ mirror her grandmother’s story—a renowned Arabic singer who left a burgeoning career in Lebanon for her children’s future in America.

Janine credits her instinct for comedy to her family’s innate wit, saying, “I write about my life and my family. I don’t really do observational comedy.” Her personal experiences serve as a foundation for comedy that speaks to the relatable intricacies of human relationships.

From aspirations of acting to finding her niche in humor, Janine’s journey has been a blend of defiance and self-discovery. From studying at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art and envisioning a career in serious roles to embracing the humor in everyday life and her approach to writing satire.

It was through her comedic creations that she landed roles such as Carla Diaz in The Batman (2022), as well as parts in television series like The Buffering (2021-23) and other films, including The People We Hate at the Wedding (2022) and Collette (2018).

With anticipation for her inaugural Indian voyage that will span four days, Janine looks forward to an immersive cultural and culinary experience. After India, her tour will proceed to the United States in May.

‘Delight in the Depth: Janine Harouni’s Man’oushe’ arrives in Mumbai on March 15 and 16, followed by a performance in Bengaluru on March 17, with tickets available on BookMyShow.

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