The little big laughter

By Laura TomassiniLex Kleren Switch to German for original article

Comedy has had its place on stage in Luxembourg for a long time now, as more and more joke tellers dare to take to the microphone. What started as underground rehearsal shows has now reached an international level and this is precisely the strength and challenge of the scene.

It is shortly before 9 pm and the room is slowly filling up. Some people are still upstairs at the bar, but most have already found their place in the basement. Every Thursday evening, Luxembourg's funniest people meet at the Updown Bar in the neighbourhood Grund to try out new jokes, take their first steps on stage or simply have a good time among like-minded people at Luxembourg City’s Open Mic Night. The comedy scene has grown a lot in recent years and is more diverse than ever, as show organiser Deepu Dileepan explains: "When I came to Luxembourg in 2016, there was only Joe Eagan, who organised comedy events in English. Today we are several producers and there is also more than one group".

Comedy is still not something you would see on the big stage in a municipal theatre, but Luxembourg has a lot to offer in terms of humour, says the native Indian: "It's not a scene that is financially supported by the state, but we are self-managed groups that work on a professional level." He himself started doing comedy in his home country in India about five or six years ago and has since performed in many countries around the world. When he moved to Luxemburg in 2016, Deepu was involved in setting up the scene right from the beginning and quickly became a co-organiser of big events such as the three-day Luxembourg Comedy Festival, which started the same year.

Jokes with a multicultural factor

Since then, a lot has happened, says the 33-year-old: "There are many talented local acts who present their sets weekly at open mic nights. But once a month we also put on a bigger show, be it at the Gudde Wëllen, the Hotel Meliá on Kirchberg or at the Aalt Stadhaus in Differdingen. There are also smaller events in several cafés in Luxembourg." The aim is to offer artists based in this country a platform to gain stage experience, but also to simply promote their skills, because this is a discipline in itself in the Grand Duchy, says Deepu: "The scene is very representative of the country and especially the capital with its many different nationalities and cultures. Although it's such a small place, our comedy has to appeal to an international audience. This means the jokes have to work in Luxembourgish and Romanian and you just have to be universally funny."

Although comedians have not yet established themselves as a real profession and many perform during their spare time alongside their main job, the shows are increasingly fee-paying because comedy is a sought-after means of entertainment. "We are often booked by companies for private events and parties because people just love to laugh." Deepu's own jokes are partly based on funny personal experiences and partly address current events – as is the case with many members of the scene. "Some are from Syria, others are half-Greek half-Irish, some are married, others are single, and most talk about their personal lives and what they have experienced at home and in Luxembourg."

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