Joanna Hausmann, the Venezuelan millennial living in New York City, has taken the comedy world by storm in the Big Apple. Hausmann, who recently produced and also stared in a hilarious video, titled: “Signs You’re Venezuelan,” has gotten A huge following on YouTube.
As an immigrant and someone who’s been able to use her creativity and passion to do what she loves, we were dying to know how she made all of this happen. So, sit back, get yourself a good cafecito, and get to know this bad ass Venezuelan.
Who’s Joanna Hausmann?
A clumsy Jewtina who regularly looses her phone. But also, I’m a Venezuelan writer/comedian who makes funny videos on the internet.
What’s your immigration story?
I moved around quite a bit in my childhood. I went back and forth from Venezuela to different cities in the U.S, constantly changing schools. I spent my teenage years in Caracas before moving to Boston for college and I’ve been in the states ever since. Regardless of where I was living, however, my home felt like little Caracas. Pictures of our mountain, El Avila, covered our walls, scratched Ruben Blades CDs were always strewn in my dad’s car and my mom would pack a beans and rice in my lunch every day.
This constant change of environments made me really aware of the idiosyncrasies of each culture I inhabited. A fish doesn’t know it’s in water until you take it out of the water. To know about the “water” is, gives comedians this observational perspective that allows them to create comedy. So although I used to complain to my parents every time we moved, I realize it’s one of the reasons I do what I do.
How does it feel to be a Venezuelan living in New York City?
I always say that everyone in New York is from some place else. There is such a rich history of immigration, of culture clashes and of tolerance that I really enjoy here. I hear people speaking at least three different languages while I go to work every morning. Being an “outsider” here has nothing to do with nationality or ethnicity and more to do with how you are able to navigate the Subway system. Also, there are a lot of restaurants that serve fried plantain so I feel at home.
How did you get into the world of comedy?
What I love most about the world of comedy is how multifaceted it is. Comedians direct, write and perform while making people laugh. As a kid couldn’t believe that one word – comedian – carried all of the things I wanted to do. So after graduating college, I went to Chicago’s historic Second City Theater to write, perform and study comedy. It was like an intensive crash-course into the professional world of comedy and I knew that it was my calling. I had never been so sure of anything in my entire life.
As a Venezuelan, what are your thoughts on the political situation of the country?
Before I answer this question I’ll give you a little backstory. My paternal grandparents ended up in Venezuela after they were persecuted during the Holocaust. My mother’s family ended up in Venezuela after having to flee restricting dictatorship in Cuba. Venezuela was synonymous with acceptance, tolerance and opportunity. I feel like those descriptors are no longer the case. Artists and writers are censored. The population is divided. Those that oppose the government are persecuted. Young Venezuelans like me have had to leave the country to find the freedom of opportunities. Today’s Venezuela has morphed into a country that holds the very threats my grandparents ran away from.
I know one day the beautiful Venezuela I know exists will be restored. In the meantime, I am trying to separate the proud Venezuelan identity from its politics. There is more to us than what is blasted on CNN. Our ‘Venezuelan-ness’ can’t be taken away from us, and that is something I will continue to celebrate and represent.
One of your latest videos, “Signs you’re Venezuelan”, got a big viewership in YouTube. What’s next for you?
Keep on keeping on. Every week my team and I write, direct and produce a new video on Flama’s platform. I also have a show I host titled Joanna Rants that comes out every two weeks. Every time I have a hit, I am more anxious to figure out what the next video is going to be about…. The trick is to always look forward.
Tequeños o Arepitas con nata?
WHY ARE HUMANS DOOMED TO CHOOSE!…. I guess tequeños.
What is the most millennial thing you have done?
I became a GIF on Buzzfeed and celebrated with Fro-Yo.
What keeps you going when you hit roadblocks or receive criticism?
Im not going to lie, criticism and destructive comments affect me. I mean, even Madonna gets her feelings hurt by critics. The important thing is to always know that who I am is not defined by what I do, but rather, what I do is defined by who I am. That gives me the strength to ignore the haters and continue doing what makes me happy.
Do you write your own content?
Yes! First and foremost I am a writer. I write every single day of my life!