Indomitable Spirit – Mina Liccione

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Mina Liccione – Co Founder of Dubomedy, Comedian, Dancer, Teacher and Humanitarian

Something magical happens when comedy and women meet alone for a laugh. And Mina Liccione a New Yorker from Dubai exemplifies it. Feeling out her audiences’ energy is essential to Mina’s stand-up routine.“Each show is different. I can perform the exact same material ten nights in a row and none will be the same. You need to grasp onto their energy, feel them out and do what I call ‘live editing’,” she describes. Mina has performed for several kinds of audience, but says that there is something special about performing to an all-women audience.

Though Mina has an extremely positive attitude towards her audiences for her stand-up comedy, the challenge is when they refuse to laugh. “It’s like trying to decide which restaurant to go to with a huge group of family and friends. One person will always be a bit disappointed”. And that’s where her tenacity powers to action, “I keep my focus on those that are responding to me and somehow, ultimately, that one person cracks.”

Her favourite jokes are about her father. “I once accidentally roasted him,” she recalls, “I was meant to perform a stand-up set and once I started in with jokes about him the audience laughed so hard, as did he, that I continued with it for the entire show.” She says that Tina Fey is also a great inspiration for her, “She is smart, quirky, funny and an incredible writer. I have been a big fan of her work for many years.”

Mina incorporates a laugh into her humanitarian work. She works on a project with her husband called Clowns Who Care. “[It] is a project I, and my husband, hold very dear to our hearts. Its essence is simple, to bring joy, laughter and support to those in need.” Mina and a group of volunteers visit centres for children with special needs, put on performances and organise parties. They also have a monthly ‘Catch a Smile’ Day, where they encourage people to perform a random act of kindness in the hope of it being contagious.

Mina’s humanitarian work also spans the world. Last summer she organised an art camp for orphaned children in Uganda, and this summer went to Jordan to assist with Syrian refugee children called Operation: Joy to Sahab, where they had workshops, activities and shows, and provided supplies to those in need.

In addition to putting on shows for children, Mina also helps them perform. Her most recent stint was Autism:
The Musical, which had her working with children with Autism who participated in the As One project.“This project allowed me to go way beyond ‘work’, we didn’t just teach them skills, we built lasting friendships,” she says. However, every performance has its challenges and this was no exception. But Mina says that her secret is patience, understanding, determination and love.

Mina believes that painful experiences are the ones that draw out from her the best jokes. “Comedy isn’t about what goes right, it is about what goes wrong,” she explains, “Because once you can laugh at your painful and embarrassing experience, you know you have healed. Life, it’s all about balance. Night and Day. Pain and joy. Love and loss.”