Chatting with Stand-up comedian, Moe Ismail

Moe Ismail is a Toronto-based Stand-up comedian. His material is drawn from his experiences as an Egyptian immigrant and various life struggles growing up in Canada. Over the years, Moe has gained local and national recognition and built a loyal following. We spoke with him to find out more about his comedy style, influences and projects.

Moe Ismail
Photo by: Ameel Bachir

How would you describe your comedy style?

My comedy is kind of like a mustache. At first, you’re not too sure how you feel about it. But then, it slowly grows on you.

Who are some of your influences?

My big bro Ahmed is my greatest influence. That guy is legit the GOAT. One time I saw him fall asleep standing up because he was working too hard, it was hilarious. He was just leaning up on a wall fast asleep lol. It’s all gas, no breaks with him. My mom is such a G too. Both of them have been hustling so hard my entire life. I definitely wouldn’t be here today without them.

Who was your favourite comedian growing up?

The first comedy special I ever saw was Eddie Murphy’s Delirious. I remember one day my brother brought home a burnt DVD of that special that his homie gave him at school. Because it was so vulgar, we had to wait until my parents left the house to watch it on our family computer.

I remember both of us in tears watching Eddie destroy that crowd in his red leather suit.

Who is your favourite comedian now?

Alive or dead? My favourite comedian of all time is Patrice O’Neal, hands down (Rest In Peace).

He was the greatest to ever do it. A true master of the craft and absolutely fearless with any topic. Alive, it’s super hard to say since there are so many comedians killing it right now.

Probably a toss-up between Bill Burr, Dave Chapelle, and Louie.

What is your pre-show ritual?

I usually try to get in a likkle one-two prayer before the show, just to make sure Allah is watching over me and making sure my jokes go over well. Other than that, I normally try to eat two hours before a show. Nothing too heavy. However, sometimes I’m doing multiple shows a night, so I’ll slam down a small Jerk Chicken dinner or shawarma in between gigs.

What is your favourite place you have performed? Why?

I’ve been fortunate enough to perform in a bunch of really awesome venues and theatres over the last decade. I would probably say The Gladstone Theatre in Ottawa is definitely up there. But at the same time, this past year I got booked to perform at a Shoppers Drug Mart for this corporate Christmas party. It was hilarious. I did 20 minutes alone on Optimum points and Axe body spray. You can check my Instagram for pictures of that night.

What is your favourite bit you have written and why were you proud of it?

That’s a tough question since. I would probably have to say any of my teaching material. People seem to relate to it more than anything else. We’ve all been students at some point in time, so it’s always funny to reflect on that and make fun of it from different angles.

What is your favourite medium for listening or finding new comics/comedians?

I live next to this young couple who have been fighting almost every night for the past few weeks. It’s the purest form of comedy. If you know me, you know I love me a good fight sesh, so I guess you can say that the thin walls in my building have been my medium.

Tell us a joke about your city.

Don’t tell me what to do…I’ll fight your dad in a Tim Horton’s parking lot. Anybody can catch these hands. 2 for 1 special. Always for sale. End of the year clearance…everything must go.

Sorry, what was the question again?

Where can we follow you? 


PAY IT FORWARD: Who is another local comic/comedian we should know about?

I will always stand by the fact that Canada has the best comedians. I’ll give you a few if that’s cool. In no particular order, Big Norm Alconcel, Neema Naz, and Danny Martinello. There are tons more, I just don’t want to be rude.



About Demian Vernieri 600 Articles
Demian is an Argentinian retired musician, avid gamer and editor for the Montréal Guardian, Toronto Guardian, Calgary Guardian and Vancouver Guardian websites.