BGBS 056: Tamer Kattan | Comedian | Listening Is the Cost of Being Heard
Tamer Kattan is an internationally touring stand-up comedian who performed for U.N. Troops in Afghanistan, for protestors at the American University in Cairo (during the Egyptian revolution) and for the really dangerous crowds at The Edinburgh Fringe in Scotland. He’s won many comedy accolades over the years, has TV & radio credits on the BBC, SkyTV, Fox, HULU, Netflix, Amazon, and truTV, and was even featured on Seth Rogen’s Hilarity for charity event with Todd Glass and Hannibal Bures. Tamer is currently the co-host of Nice2MarryU on Youtube and you’ll learn in this episode that before it all, he began his career in advertising and worked with past guest Shawn Parr from Bulldog Drummond as a brand strategist.
Tamer is an Egyptian-born American with a Muslim dad and a Jewish mom. Always bearing many identities, Tamer has considered himself a “hyphenate” and finds solace in being neither part this nor part that, but a complete thing in the middle—although it wasn’t always that way. Growing up in Southern California, Tamer needed to address how people treated him for being different, and comedy was his tool to do so.
He finds the connection between comedy and branding is human nature, which can only be tapped through aggressive listening and captivating storytelling. That same humanity and emotional intelligence are what motivated Tamer to write his resume on a foam butt, pop it in a donut box, and rocket launch his advertising career until he found his way back to his roots in comedy. Above all, Tamer teaches us the power of making other’s feel heard, which bears the question, how will you listen more aggressively today?
[10:59] I’m not American. I’m not Egyptian. I’m this thing in the middle, and being an Egyptian American is very much another thing. It’s a thing into its own. I’m not half of this or half of that, I’m a complete thing, and it happens to consist of two halves.
[14:51] It’s not like I wanted to be funny, it was just a thing that happened. Inevitably it ended up becoming a tool against bullies, but I didn’t realize it until this kid came up to me—it was a bully that bullied me every day—and finally, one day, I had enough and I started making fun of him because he had pretty big ears. Apparently, he was sensitive because he said, “Hey, if you stop making fun of me, I’ll stop beating you up.” And that’s why I went, “Oh, wow. Comedy is powerful. It can be powerful.”
[49:36] I think being a good listener makes you a better storyteller. And I love being able to listen aggressively until I hear things and see things that other people don’t see. Like in my comedy, the thing that brings me the most joy is not when people laugh, it’s when people say “Oh my god, that’s so true.” That’s my favorite.
[54:07] I think that’s what it means to be a human being. We’re parts of multiple tribes and multiple groups. And I think if you break the ridiculous stereotypes, people become people again.
LinkedIn: Tamer Kattan
Twitter: Tamer Kattan
Youtube: Tamer Kattan – Nice2MarryU
Tamer Kattan 0:02
I wrote a resume through a typical template. And I looked at it I’m like, This is absurd. I just have skate shop and surf shop experience. Why am I even setting this to an ad agency? So I said, Well, if I can’t show my creativity through the experience that I’ve had, maybe I can shoot show it, and how I express that experience.
So because it was around Halloween, I went into this Halloween shop and they had those foam butts that you could tie around your waist and make it look like you have a naked butt. And I wrote my resume across the butt cheeks. And I wrote Cal Poly senior willing to work as a software internship. And then I went to a donut store and bought a pink box for $1 it was such a ripoff. And then I put it in the box and I mailed it to Shai a day. And three days later, they called me and asked me and I heard that the HR lady kept the butt on her wall for like a year.
Marc Gutman 1:00
Podcasting from Boulder, Colorado, this is the Baby Got Backstory Podcast, where we dive into the story behind the story of today’s most inspiring storytellers, creators and entrepreneurs. I like big backstories and I cannot lie. I am your host, Marc Gutman, Marc Gutman, and on today’s episode of Baby got backstory on how an Egyptian American immigrant climbed to the top of the advertising agency world only to quit 40 become a successful stand up comedian. Today we are talking with Tamer Kattan.
Before we get into my conversation with Tamer, If you like and enjoy the show, please take a minute or two to rate and review us over at Apple podcasts or Spotify and apple and Spotify use these ratings as part of the algorithm that determines ratings on their charts. Better yet, please recommend the show to at least one friend you think will like it, and maybe one enemy will like it too. And cross the aisle in a bipartisan effort to bring all podcast listeners together via the Baby Got Back story podcast.
Today’s guest is Tamer Kattan. Tamer is an internationally touring stand up comedian, who performed for UN troops in Afghanistan for protesters at the American University in Cairo during the Egyptian revolution. And for the really dangerous crowds at the Edinburgh Fringe in Scotland, where he received three four star reviews from international press. He was most recently featured on Seth Rogan’s hilarity for charity event with pod glass and Hannibal Burress won the World Series of comedy, comedy knockout on true TV, best of fest at big pine Comedy Festival, and three weeks later won the Portland Comedy Festival. He is the co host of Nice 2 Marry You YouTube, and has TV and radio credits on the BBC and sky TV in the UK as well as in the US on Fox, Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, and Tru TV.
He’s also worked as a strategist at some of the world’s biggest and best advertising agencies in Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York. And what you’re going to hear today is there’s probably not a whole lot that Tamer really can’t do or isn’t good at. And I was connected to Tamer via a previous guest on the show, Shawn Parr of Bulldog Drummond, and no disrespect to Shawn, but I wasn’t clear on why he thought I should talk with Tamer. Well, Shawn’s a smart guy, and Tamer, Well, I’m going to save that for today’s show. What I will say is I’m crushing hard on Tamer. He’s smart. He’s worked at the coolest agencies on the biggest brands in the world. He left it all behind to pursue what really made him happy. Stand up comedy. Tamer drops all sorts of insight and wisdom in this episode, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Oh, it makes sure to listen for the your dog is sticky story. I loved it. I’m excited to introduce you to Tamer Kattan. And this is his story.
I am here with Tamer Kattan. Tamer actually happens to be in Spain and I’m in Colorado and even though we’ve been doing this for decades, at this point talking over the internet, I’m still amazed that this works in real time and that we can do this it’s like still blows my mind, but that’s true. Tambor, welcome. Welcome to the Baby Got Backstory Podcast. It’s, it’s great to have you.
Tamer Kattan 4:45
Thanks for having me, Marc. It’s nice to be chatting with you. It’s nice to see an American face.
Marc Gutman 4:51
Sometimes, right. It’s been a tough week here in America, so maybe, maybe not so much. But at tamp. Tamer is an internationally touring stand up comedian. He’s perfect. For him at the UN, with before troops in Afghanistan, for protesters at the American University in Cairo during the Egyptian revolution, we’d love to hear about that. And that’s not how we know each other. You know, I’m a big fan of comedy.
I love comedy, but I was actually introduced to Tamer through a, another brand professional. Shawn Parr over at Bulldog Drummond. And interesting enough, Tamer got his start as a brand strategist. And so, Tamed, I’d love to get into that a little bit. But like, more than that, I want to know, you know, when you were young was little Tamer, were you like, was it like almost like the two you know, the two little angel devil on the shoulder was like one of brand strategists and one a stand up comedian or like, would you want to be when you were a kid? Like, like, like, did you do you think you’d end up here?
Tamer Kattan 5:53
Oh, man. Bipolar would be easy. I mean, I’ve been I’ve been divided for a long time. And I have a Muslim dad, a Jewish mom. So like, the whole I like, I’ve always just been a mixed up kid, I had people telling me I wasn’t a real American, I wasn’t really Egyptian. I wasn’t a real Jew, I wasn’t a real Muslim. So like, I’ve always kind of been a hyphenate as a type. As a person. I’ve always been comfortable being a hyphenate. And for me, quite honestly, like when I look at, I’ve always tried to sort of anticipate the direction of things. And I think even when I first got into advertising, I didn’t get into it, because I loved commercials. I got into it, because I love storytelling.
And I see the big umbrella is storytelling, and I see brand strategy and, and comedy, both fitting under that larger umbrella. So for me, it wasn’t that different. You know, it’s like being a wrestler that becomes a UFC fighter. It sounds like two different things, but they’re kind of related.
Marc Gutman 6:48
Well, absolutely. And I agree but I think you articulated very well that, that storytelling is a broad umbrella. I think a lot of people run around talking about being storytellers. But you still have to have that specific discipline, whether it be advertising, whether you’re telling stories through comedy, whether you’re telling, you know, different channels. And so I know myself, I made that mistake early in my career, I was run around telling everyone I was a storyteller because I was but then it becomes really hard to find work because no one knows where you fit.
But where did you grow up? Like what was what was childhood like? For you mentioned that you had this bifurcated family? And you never really fit what we’re we’re where’d you grow up? And what was that like? Like what your parents do and stuff like that?
Tamer Kattan 7:34
Um, well, we were in Egypt when I was a kid. And my dad left first and he came to America, he went to Southern California, Santa Monica. Although initially, it was easier to get a visa in colder weather states back then. So he originally got a visa for Utah. And, and then we were in Egypt. And you know, we’re talking about technology right now, how blown away we are, about how great it is to be able to speak across the world. And when my dad first immigrated to the States, I had these very vivid picture of my mom tracing my hand on a piece of paper to show my dad how fast I was growing. Like it was, it was wild. And it was also a strange thing, because at a very early age, it was kind of the reverse of an animal priming on something you know, like when it when a cat gets adopted by a Labrador. It was like I got unglued from my dad for almost a year and a half where he was in the States. And my mom and I were in Cairo.
So I was I was born in Cairo. And when I was around six, my dad left the states. And at eight years old, we reconnected in Los Angeles. So I grew up for the most part in Southern California. And the first place we live was a very Mexican neighborhood in East LA, which was the best place an immigrant could start in America, because they were very accepting. And they said, Hey, you look like one of us. You got pyramids, we got pyramids, youre in.
They accepted me. And then from there, you know, it’s really strange being an immigrant, sometimes you get to experience society in a different way. Because you you start at maybe a lower socio economic class than you’re used to in your home country. And then you kind of move pretty quickly, vertically up sometimes, maybe, maybe do more jumps than you would have if you’re a native born person. So we had a pretty interesting view of America at a pretty early age.
Marc Gutman 9:27
Yeah. And was it all positive? Or was it tough? I mean, one thing I can share with you is, you know, I grew up in Detroit, and I have a Jewish father and a Christian mother and, and I had a lot of those same challenges that I never really felt like I fit and I never felt like I was really accepted by the Jewish side of the family or the other side. And, you know, you know, I was always kind of using like shape shifting a little bit and code shifting code switching as I say to my advantage, but there’s also a lot of disadvantages.
I remember being like I’m not Jewish and like hiding, you know, like From fights and stuff like that, and but that, you know, that didn’t matter to the to the the kids that wanted to brand me with that label. I mean, was it hard for you like being irreverent and also just trying to figure out what your identity was? I mean, I think it’s cool now to be like, yeah, I’m like, that was split. That was awesome. But at the time was a hard.
Tamer Kattan 10:20
Oh, definitely. I mean, it was I had so many times I remember uttering the phrase, I just want to be normal, which is like, as an adult, that’s the last thing I want to be. But as a kid, I just kept feeling like I’m, I’m abnormal, you know, even even the word they give immigrants is alien. So I always felt like I was kind of floating in space, you know, but just like, you know, emotions are just like physical pain, sometimes, like it hurt. I think I was.
So I took so much emotional abuse, that I finally built a callus, which I welcomed with open arms. And once that callus was there, then I learned to embrace the fact that Yeah, I’m not American, I’m not Egyptian, I’m this thing in the middle. And being an Egyptian American is very much another thing, it’s a thing into its own. I’m not half of this, or half of that I’m a complete thing. And it happens to consist of two halves. But it took it took a lot of a lot of crappy things heard a lot of racism a lot of, and not just from Americans, from other Egyptians, from Jewish people from from everybody. So it was a it was a wild experience.
Marc Gutman 11:28
Yeah, I mean, I remember as a kid coming home crying because I just I wanted to have a communion Catholic communion. Because that’s what all the kids, the kids are, do. And I was like, why can’t I have? Besides, I was like, thinking a lot of money. That’s cool. But like, really more than that, like, I was like, they’re all doing it. And I want to be like, just those normal kids. And so I can totally relate where you’re coming from.
Did you like was there a big Egyptian community in Southern California? Were there I mean, I, I spent a lot of time, you know, I lived in Santa Monica for a while and things like that. And I just don’t, I don’t ever remember it. So like, and I could just be because it’s just, you know, something I’m not looking for. But was there? Was there a big Egyptian community when you were there?
Tamer Kattan 12:10
I think there is. But it’s funny, you know, a lot of these communities start to form, especially these immigrant communities start to form and they’re usually based on spirituality or religion. And so there’s definitely an Egyptian community, but it’s kind of forked. And on one side, there’s the Muslim Egyptians all kind of have the mosque as sort of the home base of their social life. And then you’ve got the Coptic Christian Egyptians. And for us, we didn’t fit into either. So even though I was aware of an Egyptian community, I was very much an outsider to it.
Marc Gutman 12:44
And so what was life like for you as a kid in terms of school, like were you into? Did you know from an early age that you were going to be a storyteller of sorts?
Tamer Kattan 12:56
You know, it’s funny that you say that, because it’s not it wasn’t conscious at all. I, you know, I spend a lot of time alone. And, you know, back in the 80s, it was really cool. You know, I was a latchkey kid, I was one of those kids, you know, that had the house key tied, you know, the string around my neck, and my parents both had to work two jobs. So there were times where I’d wake up in the morning, and to an empty house. And I’d come home from school to an empty house. So I had a lot of time just to think. And I think that’s that was the foundation of becoming a storyteller was just having a lot of time to yourself and to thinking.
I really got into Dungeons and Dragons at a really early age. So my, my, my vocabulary of weapons, and monsters and mythology grew. And when we started writing, for this creative writing class that I had in elementary school, the teacher called my parents at home and said, Hey, I need you to come in, we have to talk about Tamer and about the stories that he’s writing. And they came in, they say, and he said, Look, I love these stories, but they’re a little bit violent. And I’m, I’m either gonna see his name on the front of a paper at the end of a movie, and I wanted to make sure that it’s the ladder. And but he didn’t know about Dungeons and Dragons, and that’s why I knew so much about weapons is because that’s silly game.
Marc Gutman 14:11
You knew everything and nothing about weapons, right? Yeah, exactly. Exactly. about what you do from Dungeons and Dragons. But were you a funny kid. At that time? Are you? Are you leaning into humor? And you know, and I’ve talked to a lot of people and who either have tough childhoods, they don’t feel like they fit they’ve been maybe sometimes bullied. And humor is typically the defense mechanism. It’s what they use to Yeah, you know, keep people on their heels or just survive a bit. I mean, it was that it was that something for you? Or was it something different?
Tamer Kattan 14:41
Yeah, in a very big way. And again, it’s just so bizarre because because I am kind of a control freak, I think at times, and there was no design. It’s not like I wanted to be funny. I desire to be fun. It was just a thing that happened. It was just something where they said oh, you’re just like your grandfather and Inevitably it ended up becoming a tool against bullies. And but I didn’t realize it until this one day when this kid came up to me. And he said, it was a bully that bullied me every day. And finally, one day, I had enough and I started making fun of him because he had pretty big ears. And, and apparently, he was sensitive because he said, Hey, if you stop making fun of me, I’ll stop beating you up. And that’s why I went, Oh, wow. comedy is powerful. It can be powerful.
Marc Gutman 15:25
words have power. And so yeah, I mean, were you doing stand up routines in high school? Like, were you at the talent show? And are we getting into this early?
Tamer Kattan 15:34
No, not at all, we had this really interesting thing. There’s a, there’s actually Detroit made this famous and Eminems movie Eight Mile, battle rapping came from a thing called playing the dozens, and playing the dozens just you just make fun of each other, back and forth. And it came from slavery, when they used to sell slaves one at a time unless there was something wrong with them. And then they would sell them as a dozen in a cage. And those dozen slaves would make fun of each other. And that’s where all those jokes like your mama jokes came from. And like, it was really harsh, almost like, you know, even if we look at roast battles like that, that environment was the foundation for that.
So in the neighborhood I lived in, we had Hello cat, there’s my cat in the background. We had, we played the dozens. So it was a pretty poor school. And we had a 10 minute break before lunch called nutrition, where the government would give you milk and trail mix. And I was always just people would jump on me during those sessions and start just making fun of me and sort of attack me with words. And you know, just like with any other type of battling, the more you get beat up, the better you get on the offensive. So I just naturally became pretty good with words.
Marc Gutman 16:49
And were you a good student?
Tamer Kattan 16:50
I was Yeah, it was funny. There was some cultural things I had to I had to stop doing like I was in the habit of raising my hand to answer a question then standing up to answer it. And that usually ended with me getting beat up at recess.
Marc Gutman 17:06
You learn quickly not to do that. And then So, I mean, what did your parents hoped for you? I mean, they’re working their butts off. They’re doing two jobs. They’re immigrants. I mean, I have to imagine, it’s a bit of that American dream that they’re hoping for a better life. They’re hoping for something great for you. And what was that?
Tamer Kattan 17:25
Well, for it’s really interesting, because my dad, because he was the one who felt like he was absorbing most of the risk. And the one who probably out of all of us, he’s probably the one that felt like he was, you know, walking a wire without a net, because we were in America without a family without friends. And I think he felt like you always had to have a job. And that job was what protected you from homelessness or, like a terrible life. So he didn’t care what I liked. He just wanted me to do what was safe. So in his mind, the ultimate job was doctor, lawyer, engineer that that was the three but I didn’t want to do any of those things. I I ended up going to university for kinesiology for it, I didn’t even know what I was going to do with it. I was like a strength and conditioning coach or something like that. But I basically took those classes just so my dad thought that I was doing pre med, but I wasn’t. And it was my my junior year where I, I interned as a strength and conditioning coach, and I’m like, Oh my god, I’m not gonna wear these polyester shorts for the rest of my life. And a friend of mine said, Hey, you know, I’m a marketing major. And this ad agency is coming to Cal Poly, and they’re going to show their commercial real. And I heard that it’s really great. These are the guys that invented the Energizer Bunny. And so I’m like, Oh, that sounds cool.
So I went with him. I watched the reel, and there was so many funny commercials. And you know, and she kept talking about the woman, Nancy Ali, I still remember her name. so crazy. Nancy Ali said that comedy was most disruptive form of storytelling, because you didn’t need to know anything. You could watch a stranger fall down. And it’s funny. But if you’re trying to do a drama in 15 seconds, good luck. So I watched that reel. And I was impressed by it. And I thought to myself, Oh, wow, here’s where to get paid for being funny. And I went up to her and I spoke to her and I said, you know, my major is not marketing she was doesn’t matter. I recommend you buy this book called inventing desire. And it was a book where a journalist actually lived in the offices of Shai a day, at the time was just one office, but it’s an amazing office. And I literally borrowed four more dollars, so I could buy the book that night. And I read it in one night and fell in love with the idea of working in an ad agency.
Marc Gutman 19:39
What about that book spoke to you?
Tamer Kattan 19:42
The honesty. I was I always thought that, you know, when you work in a corporate environment that you couldn’t be yourself anymore. I felt like it was constrained. And in the book, she was sort of showing the type of conversations people had and they were cussing. And I think as a kid, I was like, Oh, well These adults are cussing. And it was just real and they were passionate. And they were creating something. They’re creating stories. And so I got really excited.
And I remember I did the craziest thing, it was around Halloween. And I heard that they got something like 400 resumes a day for internships, and I wrote a resume through a typical template. And I looked at it, I’m like, This is absurd. I just have skate shop and surf shop experience. Why am I even setting this to an ad agency? So I said, Well, if I can’t show my creativity through the experience that I’ve had, maybe I can shoot show it, and how I expressed that experience. So because it was around Halloween, I went into this Halloween shop and they had those foam butts that you could tie around your waist to make it look like you have a naked butt. And I wrote my resume across the butt cheeks. And I wrote Cal Poly Sr. willing to work as asof for internship. And then I went to a donut store and bought a pink box for $1. It was such a ripoff. And then I put it in the box and I mailed it to Shai a day. And three days later, they called me and asked me and I heard that the HR lady kept the butt on her wall for like a year.
Marc Gutman 21:10
Did you end up getting the internship?
Tamer Kattan 21:12
Yeah, I got the job. Yeah,
Marc Gutman 21:13
Tamer Kattan 21:14
And it turned into a job too.
Marc Gutman 21:16
Oh, that’s amazing. And so how long did you work for Shai day, what was forget that let’s back up a second, like, so you’re a young kid, you’re like, I’m gonna go to the preeminent advertising firm in the world, you you impress them, you do a great job. And that’s one of the things I do love about advertising, marketing, branding, it’s like talent speaks, you know, and so you you got their attention and that and so like, I was the first day like,
Tamer Kattan 21:42
It was funny, and to underpin your point, the people who worked, and they told me, Listen, we don’t have an opening and creative, but we have an opening and broadcast. And the people there liked my resume so much, because everything else, they seemed like they were bored of the other resumes they were getting.
So they they primed me to interview with Richard O’Neill, who is the executive producer on like, the George Orwell spot, 1984. And I guess, he said, I refuse to accept an intern here who’s not in film school. And so they basically told me, you’re gonna lie, you’re gonna say that you’re in film school. And I remember like, being like, Oh, my God, I can’t lie. I was a kid. And I’m like, Can I lie to this man, but they told me you’re gonna lie. And if you have to go to film school aid, and we’ll send you to film classes at night, but we want you here, you want to be here. This is the this is the last gatekeeper. And we’re going to tell you what you need to do to get the job. And yeah, it was pretty wild.
Marc Gutman 22:40
And so you walked in, and I mean, what was it? Like? I mean, was it cuz I remember when I was in California, passing the building in Venice, and it had the big, kind of like, binoculars, binoculars, right? Yeah, giant binoculars out fry. It just seemed like, I never went in and it just seemed like the place where really cool things happened. You know, we’re really cool things were created. And I had this like Mystique in order to me. I wasn’t even in the advertising business. I was in the film business. I was like, that looks really really cool. Yeah, like, what was it? Like, when you got in there? I mean, like, like, a certain,
Tamer Kattan 23:15
You know, that song? Eye of the tiger from the 80s? Yeah, it was like walking into that song. Like, everything, I just my heart rate just started going up. You know, we went in, I remember my first little tour. And as you know, they they welcomed interns, just like real employees. And we got like, a tour of the place. And they gave us a coffee mug that said, innovate or die, you know. And then they had like, and then added another, that was the coffee mug and a T shirt said who wants to be an effing ad agency. And just the logo was like a skull and crossbones. And it was, you know, all about disruptive thinking and breaking conventions. And it was, it was just sexy, you know, a really sexy thinking and really sexy ideas. And they had punching bags in the office that have management heads, on screen printed on the punching bags. See? And I’m like, this place is so cool. It was it was like nothing I’d seen before. And I felt like I was home.
Marc Gutman 24:13
Yeah, and rock and roll culture. But yeah, so the culture is cool. And you’re looking around, but like, what about the work? Like, what was going on? Like, what did you get to work on? And what were some of your first experiences? I mean,
Tamer Kattan 24:25
I was greatly intimidated when I started. And you know, the work Initially, I was just a broadcast assistant. Actually, I was an intern at first. And what was happening is it was really interesting when you’re an intern at a place like that, because there’s so many interns and, and so many of them go in and out that a lot of times people don’t spend a lot of time getting to know you. So I did very menial tasks in the beginning but I went out of my way to show that I wanted more than that. So you know, I would do all the typical things like get coffee, pick up food, photocopies back when that was the thing to do. Do
But then I’d go up to the the guy who was the video editor at the time it was on an avid system, you know? And I’d say, Hey, can I go to lunch with you? And can I buy a piece of pizza because it’s all I could afford, you know, and, and ask you about editing? And I think that they were, it’s so funny because it’s such a simple thing. And I remember as a kid looking at this grown man, and going, Oh, he, it brought him joy, that I took a real interest in what he was really passionate about. And I remember feeling off balance a little bit, that I was this young guy that kind of touched this older person, it was sort of a role reversal. In my mind, I thought, so I think I didn’t have the sexiest job, but because I kept because I stayed passionate the whole time, because I didn’t let the menial labor, get me down. And I ended up getting hired after the internship was over. And then, you know, I immediately was working on Nissan Gatorade, you know, zema at the time, really big stuff, like really big, high profile accounts. And even though I was, you know, the tiniest, the tiniest part of the totem pole, it still felt great to see my fingerprint, you know, on on these things.
Marc Gutman 26:15
Yeah. And it’s, you know, even talking about the avid editing machines, I remember those, they were like, it was like the dawn of like, nonlinear editing. And it was such a big deal. And they were like, yeah, you know, $100,000 or $60,000 for a machine. And I just remember, you know, you had a bay of them. And I just remember thinking, like, who could ever only the craziest people could ever edit on a computer, you know, like, how, yeah, how does that happen? And then in the process of transferring the film, the digital was something that was my first job, actually, I would drive the film to the processing studio.
And so I knew a lot about it, but it was just crazy. And so but I also, you know, I had a similar experience. And then I was a young person living in Santa Monica and living in California. And it was tough. You know, it was expensive. It was competitive. Like, how did you fare like, I mean, you loved it, and you’re working on these accounts, but like, how are you getting by? Because I’m guessing they’re not paying yet?
Tamer Kattan 27:11
Yeah, I mean, I think it was 18,000. That was my first salary. And then they gave me like an American Express corporate card. I don’t think I understood how to use that card. So I would use it not realizing, oh, shit, I gotta pay this immediately. You know, I wasn’t very smart. You know, I was I lived on electric Avenue in Venice, when Venice was still I mean, Venice. To this day, there’s a coffee shop that has kind of the unofficial slogan of Venice Beach, which is where art meets crime. And, and that’s what Venice was like, I lived on electric Avenue. And there was, you know, there’s a lot of crime, you hear gunshots at night, I live not too far from Shai day, but it was scary at night. And, you know, it was my first time living on my own. And I struggled for sure to, you know, figure out how to pay bills and how to be organized. But I love going to work. And so if there was one part of me that was acting like an adult, it was the part that went to work.
Marc Gutman 28:09
Yeah, it’s so interesting to see Venice today and how it how it’s changed. I mean, my first my first apartment was on Navy street in Venice, right on the border. And I was so excited cuz I had this like, I’m not kidding. You like a two inch sliver view to the ocean. You know, being a kid for Michigan. I was like, I’m on the ocean or whatever. But I mean, it was Yeah, awful place. And it was super tiny. Like a studio I shared with somebody, but I was like, No, you’d be in Venice. And once the sun went down, I’d be I’d be scared. So I get it. And it’s tough. And so you’re you’re working to shut it down. I mean, is this, you think this is it your future? This is all you’re gonna do for the rest of your life? What’s where do you go from here?
Tamer Kattan 28:48
No, you know, it’s funny. I I’d never worked like that before. So and I didn’t really pace myself. I felt like Shia Day was a marathon and I sprinted as fast as I could. And I’d say about a year and a half in, I’d had enough. And I kind of, I heard a friend of mine, started an outrigger canoe school in Hawaii. And I was like, boy, Does that sound good. And he invited me to work with him.
And I remember the day I quit, there was a woman named Elaine Hinton, who is the vice president of broadcast I’m not sure she’s still there. And she was an amazing woman. And she basically looked at me and said, Are you crazy? What are you doing? And I said, I’m going to Hawaii. She goes, you’re leaving shy, dare to go to Hawaii to paddle canoes. And I go, you know, I gained weight. I was sitting in these cold editing rooms. It just, and I wasn’t I didn’t know how to pace myself. You know, so I burned out. And I left I went to Hawaii, and she tried her best to, to put some wisdom in me. But it was it was the right thing for me at the time.
I ended up working at Shai de two more times in the in the future. So I always went back. I still I just spoke to rob Schwartz the other day, who’s the chief creative officer at Shai day in New York. Well, Ashley is the first creative that became a CEO of Shai day. And, you know, we still talk, you know, and he, I retweeted a post and he said something like, once a pirate, always a pirate, you know, and it felt great, you know, because shy it was more than an agency for me, it became a part of my identity, you know, as did Bulldog Drummond when I worked with Shawn, you know, he was definitely another sticker that I had in my suitcase, a big one.
Marc Gutman 30:30
Yeah. And so you’re in Hawaii, you anything major come of this. canoe school, outrigger canoe school.
Tamer Kattan 30:38
The biggest thing was boredom. Oh, my God. It was so I didn’t realize what Island living was like until I remember going shopping and seeing this cool shirt, you know, and I’m like, oh the shirts great. And I was excited about wearing it to a nightclub and meeting a girl. And I went into the nightclub under like six other guys with the same shirt. And I’m like, I’m getting out of here. This is
Marc Gutman 30:59
Not a lot of choice on the island, right?
Tamer Kattan 31:03
I lasted about six months in Hawaii.
Marc Gutman 31:05
That’s awesome. You came back to California?
Tamer Kattan 31:08
Came back to California. I ended up I did a little bit of a left turn where I worked in the fashion industry for a little bit my family. On on the Jewish center garmentos, talk about a cliche, right? And so I ended up working for this big fashion trade show called Magic was the men’s apparel guild in California. And I learned a lot about the fashion industry. But I always still identified as an ad person as someone who understood brand. And always thought, Oh, that’s going to hurt the brand. You can’t do that. You know, whenever we talked about sales versus sales goals versus communication goals, I’d always be the person who’s trying to do my best to protect the brand. So even when I was at these other industries, I still felt a pull back towards working at the brand level.
Marc Gutman 31:52
Is that when you got back, went back to Chiat\Day?
Tamer Kattan 31:54
Yeah, I ended up going back to back to Chiat\Day years later. I worked at Deutsche at Chiat, young and Rubicam. So I kind of did a little tour. I even worked at Leo Burnett in Chicago and also in Dubai.
Marc Gutman 32:07
I mean, is there any a list agency you didn’t work at?
Tamer Kattan 32:11
Yes, Saatchi and Saatchi is the one I haven’t worked at.
Marc Gutman 32:15
Love marks is that there is that their book? Love marks.
Tamer Kattan 32:19
Yeah, I love it’s funny too, because I love that book. And I remember reading that book and going, Oh, I really want to work at Saatchi. But you know that the timing wasn’t right. And I always had, you know, other things popping up. So I No, I’ve never worked at Saatchi. Yeah.
Marc Gutman 32:32
Yeah, there’s still time. There’s still time. But like, at what point did you become what you would consider a brand strategist?
Tamer Kattan 32:41
I think, you know, it’s funny because I got the label of brand strategist when I first started working with Shawn. And it was because there was two ways into brand strategy, I thought at an early age, which was, I always knew I wanted to get into brand strategy, but I was I was pretty young at the time. And I noticed that a lot of them either had British accents, or Ivy League educations. And so I said, Alright, I don’t have experience as a strategist. So this is me going back to the type of thinking I had when I gave them the foam butt right, where I said, I have to start thinking about what they want, what’s gonna disrupt their thinking, What’s going to be different. And so when I was approaching Shawn, I said, I don’t want to approach the client approach him and say, Hey, I can be a strategy for the clients you have now.
I’d rather say, Okay, I’m not a strategist, yet. I don’t have experience as a strategist. But what I do have is a tremendous amount of experience and action sports. And so even though I’m not a strategist, I have the type of instincts and understanding of the culture that drives these categories that you’re I don’t care how British the strategist is. I don’t care if he went to Harvard. He doesn’t know more about skateboards and surfboards and the community than I do. And that’s the way that I positioned myself. And Shawn ended up hiring me to pitch Airwalk. And at the time, Airwalk was pretty big business. And I remember when we wrote one that pitch, there was an article that came out and they referred to us as you know, David and Goliath, the little agency that beat all the big agencies.
Marc Gutman 34:13
Was it boulder ball Bulldog drummond at the time? Yeah. So I have two very good friends who both appeared on this podcast who were principals in the marketing at Airwalk. On the snow side, one guy by the name of Steve Nilsen, who goes by Stix. I don’t know if he ever ran
Tamer Kattan 34:29
Oh, yeah, I remember Stix. Oh, my god!
Marc Gutman 34:32
you know, he was on the podcast now. He actually works. He’s doing marketing with liquid death, the water company. I don’t know if
Tamer Kattan 34:39
it’s fun. I just saw them on LinkedIn the other day and I was I was checking out the brand. That’s as soon as you said Stix, it clicked
Marc Gutman 34:45
And Mike Artz and it literally he was right before this call texting me about Linda Nilander and who you may have worked with as well and airwalk who was a marketing principal, but anyways, That’s crazy. That’s crazy. So,
Tamer Kattan 35:02
Marc Gutman 35:02
you went you got airwalk and I think weren’t they doing a lot of work out here in Colorado? Weren’t they like they were,
Tamer Kattan 35:08
We were in evergreen almost every week. And at one point I was living in, in Denver. Okay. And commuting to was evergreen or? Yeah, I think was evergreen.
Marc Gutman 35:18
Yeah. Genesee right like, I think it was, it was technically Genesee wood right next to evergreen. But yeah, we’re the office was. Yeah, that’s, uh, that’s crazy. And so. So that’s how you got got on Shawn’s radar?
Tamer Kattan 35:33
Yeah, kind of and I knew, you know, I, I started reading a lot of books I At first I thought, Oh, the way to be a strategy is to to get mentored at an agency. And it was, it was tough to find a mentorship strategy side. So I ended up just reading tons of books lovemarks was was one of them. Me, the pirate inside, there are a lot of books that really kind of steered my thinking. And ø
Marc Gutman 36:40
And any other books that influenced your thinking at that time that you remember,
Tamer Kattan 36:45
oh, yeah, there was a book on archetypes that just, I remember just blew my mind open. I think it was the outlaw, cowboy and outlaw or something like that. And it was about, you know, the 13 different archetypes and storytelling. And yeah, it was it was a lot of those things. And what I ended up doing as well, as you know, I noticed agencies of the time, it was really popular to put case studies on their websites. And even when they filled up filled out case studies for effectiveness awards. And as you know, a lot of people ignore these, but what a great education to read, how different agencies deconstruct their pitches and how they found their insight. And what the insight was that they found whether it was quantitatively or qualitatively. So I just started digging into entries for competitions from different ad agencies and digging into case studies of different ad agency websites. I’ve always been a big fan of sort of macgyvering knowledge, you know, and figuring out smart ways of gaining information quickly.
Marc Gutman 37:49
This episode brought to you by Wildstory. Wait, isn’t that your company? It is. And without the generous support of Wildstory, this show would not be possible. If a brand isn’t a logo, or a tagline, or even your product or a brand is a person’s gut feeling about a product service or company. It’s what people say about you, when you’re not in the room. Wildstory helps progressive founders and savvy marketers build purpose driven brands that connect their business goals with the customers they want to serve. So that both the business and the customer needs are met. And this results in crazy, happy, loyal customers that purchase again and again. And this is great for business. That sounds like something you and your team might want to learn more about. Reach out @ www.wildstory.com. And we’d be happy to tell you more. Now back to our show.
And then So at what point, you know, you mentioned that you were bestowed the title and I have a very similar I remember, like, my very first jobs, I was a story editor and you know, to studio, it’s a really big job. But when you’re a production company, it means a lot of different things. And I was way over my head, you know, I was doing, you know, script analysis, but also picking up dry cleaning as well. And, you know, at what point did you actually feel like you were a brand strategist, you know, versus having that title,
Tamer Kattan 39:18
I think, I mean, there was one moment where I felt like I wasn’t trying to prove I was a strategist but I actually brought something that was different. I brought I felt like I was a very good strategist. And it was a moment when we were I was moderating a focus group. Actually, no, I take that back. Somebody else was moderating. I was behind the glass. And sometimes I think a lot of agency people at times will get bored. It’s it is it’s tedious work to watch someone else moderate a focus group. And it was for Mitsubishi at the time, I think. And we’re watching all these SUV people that were intending to buy an SUV Within six months, or within a year, and you know, there’s a typical discussion guide, which is so full of questions that it actually doesn’t create a discussion. It’s just question answer.
And there’s a moment during focus groups where moderators come into the room and ask the people behind the glass, do you have any more questions you want to ask? And when the moderator came back, I kept watching the people, because I was interested. And when I was watching them, I noticed people showing each other pictures, and they were pictures of their dogs. So I said to the moderator, Hey, can you ask how many of them are dog owners? And he looked at me and said, What? And I’m like, I’m just curious, the number of people that buy SUVs, I’m curious if they’re dog owners, so he went in and asked me was something like seven out of 10. And we were like, Whoa, that’s a pretty big percentage. The next group was only five. But then the next two groups were like eight and nine out of 10.
So then we did it. It was like a survey monkey thing where we quantified it and said, Well, we have something there’s something really interesting about there’s definitely a correlation between people who buy SUVs and people who are dog owners. So we approached Mitsubishi and said, Hey, you know, you’ve got competition with all your competition when they create packages for the various SUVs, they’ve got technology packages, they’ve got luxury packages, they’ve got all these different sort of pack, but nobody has a dog package.
And and there were these Japanese business guys are pretty intimidating to pitch to. And they started clapping. And it just, it made me it just tickled me man, I was just in one of them gave us this Hunter S. Thompson quote, he said, I don’t believe the truth is ever told between the hours of nine and five is what people connect between nine and five was certain things in common. But the things after five o’clock are stickier. So and your dog is very sticky. And it’s more sticky than these other things. And I was like when you had the guy on the brand side, convincing his own team of the inside. I was like, Okay, I’m proud of myself. I get myself pat on the back on that one.
Marc Gutman 41:59
That’s so awesome. That’s great. And so, during this time, it sounds like your career is going pretty great. And you’re you’re making a way for yourself. Are you practicing comedy at all? Or is that something that’s yet to come up?
Tamer Kattan 42:13
No, actually, you know, it’s funny, it’s, uh, it went a little. It was a little dark period. For me to be honest. Like, you know, Robin Williams used to always say, cocaine is God’s way of telling you, you’re making too much money. And I was like a single guy making a lot of money. And I just started partying a lot and going out with friends. And I kind of slipped after I reached a point where I’m like, yeah, I’m proud of myself. I’m a great strategist. And then I just became the worst strategist for about three years. And I, all of a sudden, I think the worst thing, the worst label they’ve ever given strategist is the smartest guy in the room. I think it’s detrimental to have people think that that’s what they have to live up to. And I didn’t ask as many questions because I got a little bit of a little arrogant, and I stopped being happy with advertising I wasn’t is as excited anymore.
And then my dad passed away. And when my dad passed away, I had this really weird moment where I realized everything that I was doing was to try to make my dad proud of me. And it was the first time where I said, Well, what makes you happy. And I’d never really done that. And I sort of had this big cleansing period where I stopped drinking, I started, I learned how to learn Transcendental Meditation. I just kind of grabbed the steering wheel back. And, and I was, you know, I was shocked that, you know, 3940 years old, I’d never really known what makes me happy.
What was the driver for me? And so I ended up saying, hey, I’ve always wanted to do comedy. And, but I was afraid to do it, to be honest, because comedy for me was an identity. You know, and I really didn’t have that I was always not fully Egyptian, not fully American, not fully Jewish, not fully Arab. But I was funny, and everyone agreed I was funny. So I was afraid to try to be a comedian. Because what if they told me Oh, you know what, we are also not funny. And then I would have just been floating in space. So I didn’t know what I was going to do.
But I had a friend of mine who ended up marrying Dick Van Dyke. Believe it or not, she’s a girl. She was my girlfriend in high school, and then fell in love with Dick vandyke. And now they’re married couple, and there’s, they’re amazing together. But her brother and I were both the funny guys in high school. And she bumped into me at a supermarket and said, Hey, john is doing stand up. Do you want to go see him? And I’m like, Oh, my God, are you kidding me? And I remember getting really excited at the thought of someone so close to me performing stand up comedy. And not only was he good at the show, he blew every other comic away. And at that point, I thought to myself, well, if john is that much better than everyone else, and john and i were the funny guy In high school, if I could just be a little bit if I could be even close to as good as he is, I, you know, this will be fun. And I didn’t think it was gonna turn into anything else. I thought it was just going to take one class and get on stage once and have it be a bucket list thing that then professional comedians started approaching me and saying, Hey, you got something. And I did the Edinburgh Fringe in Scotland. And I won Best New International act under two years and had a manager assigned me and I came back to the states and quit my job and advertising and sold my house and sold my car and moved to England and lived in a box for four years doing stand up.
Marc Gutman 45:38
And how, like, how was that? Was that great?
Tamer Kattan 45:40
Or was it it was the best. I went from driving a fancy car living in a house in the Hollywood Hills with a view of the Hollywood sign to literally living in an apartment with no windows, right. It was owned by the comedy club. When we showered It was me and another comedian that live there. Whenever we showered, we had to open a skylight so that the house wouldn’t turn into a sauna. Like it was terrible. And we live behind a chicken shop with a really high fence. So people thought behind the fence was a dumpster. So every night I’d come home, there’d be a bag of chicken bones at my doorstep. So I mean, I went from top of the world to bottom of the world in terms of residents, but I was the happiest I’ve ever been.
Marc Gutman 46:19
What? You know, it’s so crazy. Like, how did you have an find the courage to make that decision? I mean, you said you’re like 3940 years old things are going good. I mean, it’s got to be scary to enter into. I mean, I can’t believe there was one and I’ve done stand up. I can’t believe there’s one stand up comedian that said, Hey, kid, this is easy. This is an easy life, right? This is both easy business and an easy life. I know. It’s hard. Like, like, Where did you find that strength to pursue that dream?
Tamer Kattan 46:49
You know, this is gonna sound so silly. But it you know how I said, when I was a kid, I didn’t even know what made me funny. Just something that kind of happened. I think I’ve always just been drawn to that I think we’re all supposed to do something. And I didn’t want to give up looking for it, you know, and I felt like advertising was very, very close to it. And I still I still love advertising, I still actively read about ads and case studies, I think it’s brilliant. Like, it’s literally To me, it’s our version of carving hieroglyphics on a pyramid. It’s the digital version of doing that. And I think it’s a privilege to work with some brands for sure. But for me, I think I was at a point where I didn’t have much to lose, I was single, I didn’t think I was going to get married I I was, you know, I wasn’t happy. At my advertising job. I was in a situation that was tough for everyone, it was a digital ad agency that wanted to go full service, which is everybody in advertising knows is one of the toughest Growing Pains culturally, for an agency to go from just digital to, to full service.
Even if it’s digitally lead, it was really hard for them to embrace strategy. So it was a hard job there. Especially as you know, you get the title of change agent change agent. And you think it’s nice, but people don’t like change. And so I had a tough time going into an office where I felt like a lot of people didn’t like me, and then going onstage at night. And I had people coming up to me and hugging me and saying, Hey, you know, your joke about child abuse, my dad beat me too. And then I get a hug from a guy that looked like he was in Sons of Anarchy. And I’m like, Hey, this is really spiritually spiritually fulfilling. And so it was a pretty easy decision at the end.
Marc Gutman 48:33
So what’s funny about brand strategy and advertising.
Tamer Kattan 48:38
It’s you It’s it’s the human nature. You know, like, I feel like I said this to one of my friends. And he always asked me about religion. I go, No, we don’t know why we’re here. It’s like we’re on level one of an escape room. And instead of working together to figure out how to get to level two, we all just started fighting in the escape room. So I like figuring things out. I like I, I love using my emotional intelligence, especially because I feel like that’s something that us men have an it’s an underdeveloped thing in us.
You know, like, I think women have always been told to, to grab on to intuition. And men have been told that we don’t have that. And women grow up with these impossible physical standards. And then men are told things like, boys don’t cry. So we have impossible emotional standards. And I think I saw how much that hurt me when I was younger, to not talk about problems to not, it feels. I like being an observer. I think being a good listener makes you a better storyteller. And I love being able to listen so aggressively, to listen aggressively. Until I hear things and see things that other people don’t see. Like I in my comedy. The thing that brings me the most joy is not when people laugh. It’s when people say oh my god, that’s so true. That’s my favorite.
Marc Gutman 49:58
So speaking of that, do you have Or can you recall a joke and you don’t have to do line for line? Maybe it’s the kind of the premise that you just love and you think is so insightful, but others don’t.
Tamer Kattan 50:11
Oh, yeah, I had a, you know what, I love the joke that kind of changes people’s minds a little bit and gives them perspective. And so I said, I was in Little Rock, Arkansas, and I’m an Arabic comedian, you know, and Little Rock, Arkansas while Trump was running. And some somebody yelled out, he’s Arab. That name is Arab. And I go, Oh, yeah, but you don’t be afraid of me. I should be afraid of you. All, because cowboy hats for me are like turbans for you. I’m old, and this room is full of a bunch of cowboy hats. And I go, and let’s be honest, he ha is just white people for Allah Akbar. And then they all started laughing. And once I said that, they all started laughing man. And it was it was really nice. And it was it showed the power of comedy, you know? And as a boy, its hooks got me after that.
Marc Gutman 51:05
I mean, do you do you face that a lot? Do you face a lot of racism and a lot of people heckling you while you’re on stage, because you’re ever.
Tamer Kattan 51:15
I mean, I’m pretty lucky. I have a pretty high number of laughs per minute. I’m a pretty punchy comic. And I think sometimes that helps you manage hecklers. And too, you know, I was a comic in New York for a long time. And people are pretty vocal in New York. So I’m pretty good at managing hecklers. But the number of people that come up to me after the show, when Trump was running, I got three death threats. And that was shocking. That’s the first time that’s ever happened. So it was it was scary. It was a little bit scary. When that happened. I didn’t, I didn’t expect it. But then there were.
It also taught me a lot about human beings. You know, like, I thought I really understood America because I worked at these ad agencies in New York and Chicago and Miami and LA. And I’m like, Oh, I know America. And I didn’t, until I became a comedian and started going to Little Rock, and and you know, Wichita, Kansas, and, and then I started doing America. But it’s, I also realized, I remember going on stage one night and getting booed really badly, because I was introduced as an Arab comedian. And then I thought to myself, you know, and the owner of the club said, Listen, I’m really sorry, we have good people here. We have bad people here. But sometimes we get bad people. And I understand if you don’t, if you want to leave early, and I’ll pay you for tonight, and I’ll I’ll feel the other night. And I, he goes, I’ll let you think about it. And I said, Okay, and I went home, and I said, No, I’m not, I’m not gonna quit, because that’s not right. And I said, I don’t like the way I was introduced. So let me manage this. Right.
And I remember my grandfather used to say this thing that I had above my desk at my ad agency, which was listening is the cost of being heard. And so I needed to show them that I would, that I listened I needed to show them. And if they think that I’m on their side, then I’m going to be different than the Arab that they perceived. So I told the guy don’t say I’m an Arab, just introduced me as a guy from LA. So he did. And when I went up on stage, I said, Hey, this is my first time in Oklahoma, Oklahoma City. I’m on site. This is a really beautiful place. It’s really pretty here. And I didn’t know because people in LA talk a lot of crap about you guys. Did you guys know that? And they’re like, yup, yup. And they started agreeing with me. And I’m like, That’s crazy. How could they talk? And this guy said to me, You, if you’re gonna go to Oklahoma, you better watch out. They’re really racist over there. And I’m like, you mean, they’re gonna judge me without even knowing me? And he goes, Yeah, I’m like, wow, you ever been to Oklahoma? And he goes, No. And I’m like, What an asshole.
And the whole audience laughed, and they all clap their hands. And at that point, they owed me. I stood up for them when they were the minority. I was in the big city, defending a small town from big city people. So then when I became an Arab in front of them, they started managing themselves. When somebody tried to heckle me, it was another person at a table next to him to say, Hey, man, shut up, let him finish. It was great. And I think I think that’s what it means to be a human being. We’re parts of multiple tribes and multiple groups. And I think if you if you break the ridiculous stereotypes, people become people again.
Marc Gutman 54:17
Now what an amazing example of how to connect with someone that is different from you that might have different beliefs might even be against you upon first first impression and how to bridge that. That’s just, I love that story. ,
Tamer Kattan 54:32
Oh thank you.
Marc Gutman 54:33
Yeah, it’s it’s really great. Thank you for sharing that. I’m a little speechless, which doesn’t happen often. timer, where can people learn more about you and your comedy, we’re might be able to see you.
Tamer Kattan 54:44
Well, until COVID. Right. But you know, I do a lot of zoom shows. Now. My Websites a great place, which is TamerKattan.com. And then I also have a YouTube series with my wife that we do every week. It’s sort of a marriage. social experiment. We got married on the day we met. And, and so we do that that comes out every Wednesday. And that’s a great place to follow. Follow us on Instagram to
Marc Gutman 55:11
really quickly let’s talk about that. Like, can you tell that story quickly about like getting married the day you met. That’s, that’s, that’s awesome.
Tamer Kattan 55:17
For sure. I mean, when I was a kid, I, I’ve always loved traveling. But when I didn’t have money, I would use the internet to travel, like with videos and pictures and things like that. And so when quarantines started, I really miss traveling. So I found out that Bumble, the dating app had this feature called passport, where you could be in another city. And so I was in Spain. And I didn’t think anything of it because it was you know, so far away, but I met this amazing Swedish woman. And we had so much in common, I was blown away and almost frustrated too, because I was like, God, we have all this stuff in common. And she lives 1000s of miles away. And what happened was, because she was so far away, we were almost like playing a game of chicken with honesty, and just being really brutally honest with each other about our flaws.
Like even my profile was like, oh, I’ve been single this long, because I’m selfish. I used to have a drinking problem. I miss on that I basically did the opposite of what everybody else did in their profile. And then she sent me an email back that mimicked what I’d written about all of her flaws, and it became like a game with us. And so then I fell in love. And the laws had changed in Barcelona, and I already had COVID in March, and I had papers saying I had the antibodies. So I had this window to fly to Barcelona. So I flew in. And then when I got there, they changed the law when I was in the air, and they put me in jail in the airport, and I had to spend the night in jail. And she was 500 feet away from me. And we didn’t meet and they flew me back to America.
And I’m like, I’m not giving up. And then we did a bunch of research and we found out about Gibraltar, just tiny country that’s on Spanish soil, that kind of UK property sort of, and they were allowing Americans in and it was also like the Las Vegas of Europe. And so I flew in there we met there, and I brought a ring and asked her to marry me that first time I saw her and she said Yeah, we got married. It’s been six months and now we’re in Barcelona until COVID zoning we’ll figure out what we’ll do next.
Marc Gutman 57:21
Yeah, and that’s an incredible incredible story and I can’t wait to start watching your your YouTube show cuz like no, I really curious you set the timer. Yeah, Tamer. I mean, as we come to a close here, I mean, if you ran into that young Tamer, who is Tamer? I’m sorry that Tamer who was like nine years old and kind of figuring things out and obsessed with dungeons and dragons and being a latchkey kid, like, like, if he saw you today, what do you think he’d say,
Tamer Kattan 57:51
oh, man, you’re so insightful for saying that. Like I always. When people ask me, why did you start doing comedy at 40? I go, I didn’t. I started at nine. Like, I’m not doing it for me. I’m doing it for him. You know, like, I think he’d be proud of me. It feels weird to say that, like I complimented myself. I think he would I think he’d be proud of me. I think the older version thinks I’m a silly and immature. But I think the little kid version of me thinks I’m like a male Pippi Longstocking and he digs it.
Marc Gutman 58:23
In that is Tamer Kattan could have listened to Tamer stories for hours. And I’m glad he saved his story about marrying his wife. The day he met her till the very end. Tamer story really is one of the American dream that maybe we should be calling it the human dream. Because Tamer’s ability to connect and empathize with people, even those who are initially out to get him or condemn him is admirable. And I think at this time in our country, we can all learn a lot from the Egyptian American kid from Los Angeles, who is now living in Spain, telling jokes for a living maybe we should just be a little bit more like Tamer.
A big thank you to Tamer Kattan and Shawn Parr for the intro. I’m sure it comes as no surprise, but I’m a huge Tamer fan. And I’m guessing by this point, you are too We will link to all things Tamer Kattan, his website his YouTube show his socials in the show notes. And if you know of a guest who should appear on our show, please drop me a line at podcast at wild story calm. Our best guests like Tamer come from referrals from past guests and our listeners.
Well, that’s the show. Until next time, make sure to visit our website www.wildstory.com where you can subscribe to the show in iTunes, Stitcher or via RSS so you’ll never miss an episode. A lot big stories and I cannot lie to you other storytellers can’t deny