Stand-up comedian Katerina Vrana on Stereotypes: Funny Because They Are True at TEDxThessaloniki conference.
Listen to the MP3 Audio here: Stereotypes – funny because they are true by Katerina Vrana at TEDxThessaloniki
So hi, my name is Katerina Vrana. I am Greek, I live in the UK, I live in London. I am a stand-up comedian.
As far as the power to create goes, I am a stand-up comedian. I’ve got two brothers, one is 30, the other is 14. The 30-year old is a drummer and a photographer. In fact, he is the drummer of the band that’s going to be closing TEDThessaloniki this year, TEDx.
So our Greek parents are very proud of our professional choices. Like, “Will you ever make money?” No. The 14-year-old wants to be a lawyer. Here’s hoping! So yeah — oh, and my hair, my hair. My hair is like this because this is how it is, OK? No discussion about it. In Greece, this doesn’t stand out that much. It’s big, but it’s not that extraordinary. In the UK, it’s become a sightseeing thing. Like people stop me in the street, people touch it without asking me.
And then, there’s teachers that bring little children out of the classrooms and go, “Look, look at the lady who looks like a tree!” is very annoying. So I’ve been in the UK now for 10 years — oh, and also, I am a 100% Greek. I was born here, I was raised here, both my parents are Greek, my whole family lives here. I have no idea why I speak English like this. Absolutely none! It’s a fluke. The rest of my family doesn’t speak English like this, they speak like proper Greek people.
So I asked my mum, I said, “How come when I speak English I sound awesome? And the rest of the family sounds like bloody foreigners.”
And my mum went, “Ah, darling, when you were born, you were so very, very ugly!” Don’t clap that. You bastards!
And she went, your father and I thought, “This one will need personality, and language helps. I wanted French and maybe piano, your father wanted English.”
“Yes Katerina, I wanted English,” – that is my father – “I will tell you why: because British royalty marries very ugly women. Go!” No! No. William is already married, and Harry has very red hair. And I haven’t got anything against red hair, right? It’s because I would totally have the sex with Harry. I am telling you this now. I just, I wouldn’t do it in the sun, I’d do it in the shade. Do you know what I mean? If you have sex with Harry in the sun, he’ll explode, “Aaah!” It’s not a good idea.
So, having lived in London — the thing is that I’ve been living in London as I said, for about a decade, and what’s happened is, over there I feel definitely Greek, but what happens is when I come back home there’s been a bit of a shift in my identity, and suddenly, I find myself say things like, “Why can’t the Greeks form orderly queues? God damn it!” I am trying to balance out the things to not feel foreign in two countries.
One of the things I’ve really come to find endearing about the British, for example, is how they get angry. They don’t! When a British person gets angry, they write you a strongly-worded letter, “Dear Sir…, regret to inform…, most upset!”