With that basic model, Lebanese-American comedian
On Sunday, Nemr will bring that same routine of promoting unity through laughter to the Toledo Funny Bone in
"Every show that I do, no matter how small or big -- whether it's 5,000 people or 50 -- the intent is always, when you leave that show, I want you to see the world completely differently," Nemr said in a recent phone interview from Tulsa. "I'm definitely out to change how people see things. I can say this confidently, you will laugh at my show like you've never laughed before, because you've never thought of these things before."
Nemr, who uses a single stage name, brings to comedy an unusual perspective.
"I see things from a very different angle than anyone else does," he said. "Especially having been through multiple wars and having lost friends to weird circumstances, you see things very differently. ... So even the smallest stuff, like not having electricity 24 hours a day will make you look at
Nemr was born in
"I don't remember much from then, but I remember it wasn't a happy time," said Nemr. "My earliest memories of happiness was my parents laughing a lot and it was to standup comedy when they were here in the
"He would bring up all these comics, and I would memorize the set, and I would recite it everywhere," Nemr said. "I had no idea what he was talking about, but I would tell everyone, when I grow up I'm either going to be a ninja turtle or a standup comedian."
His family returned to
When Nemr went to college, he would host concerts and insert a bit of standup and began developing a following.
But it wasn't until after the 2006 Lebanon War that Nemr decided to leave the family insurance business and dive into comedy full time.
"There was so much division in the country and no entertainment that you could go see that wasn't political or religious -- and it was divisive," he said. "I had a following. I had already been developing standup comedy, but it was mostly in
"I started it in
But his journey hasn't always been easy.
Nemr said his decision to leave the insurance industry was tough on his father because he thought his son was making a mistake.
"I don't think parents are supposed to be supportive of your dreams," Nemr said. "For real, because if it's something you really, really want, you don't want their support. What you need is for them to constantly remind you of the risks involved, because that makes you aware of how you need to go forward."
Still, Nemr credits his strict upbringing for allowing him to get as far as he has.
"[My father] always taught me that talking is your biggest weapon. You can't use violence to survive in the
Nemr acknowledges that "things got a little heavy" at times in the beginning, but ultimately his act spoke for itself.
"When I do no politics, no religion, one love, I mean, why would you hate me?" he said. "I never go up and say anything, I'm never naming politicians, I'm never making fun of Judaism or Islam or Christianity, I'm just talking about things we all experience."
Despite the early struggles, Nemr said he is glad he took the chance.
"I went for it," he said. "Now I'm 32, and it was one of the top three decisions of my life."
Nemr has been credited with having the first comedy tour to successfully stretch from
"I feel like I'm at home everywhere I go," he said. "Growing up in two places made me more like a child of the world. If I'm in
As for the future?
"I haven't given up on the ninja turtle thing," he said. "I'm still fighting for it."
Nemr is scheduled to perform a show at
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