On April 6, Joanna Hausmann, well known for her “Joanna Rants” videos on the FLAMA YouTube channel (Univision’s bilingual digital platform), paid a visit to Wolfson Campus. Hausmann’s videos are known for highlighting Latin American culture in all of its idiosyncrasies.
During the event, she answered questions about her recent popularity and even rapped some reggaeton lyrics to the audience. The event was presented by Christian Melendez and student Francisco Sierra.
A Jewish Venezuelan from Caracas, Hausmann moved to the US with her family at a young age. FLAMA reached out to her after seeing a video her mother posted on YouTube of her doing stand-up without her permission.
Francisco Sierra, a Venezuelan student at MDC, contacted Hausmann after watching her video “Signs you are a Venezuelan”. He introduced her at the event.
“I wrote her an extremely long email explaining how related and identified I felt, and thanking her because of that,” Sierra said. “I really thought she would never read it, and much less write me back, but she did.”
Sierra appreciates Hausmann’s comedic approach to serious matters, such as the current situation in Venezuela.
“I feel Joanna’s approach to the issues in Venezuela is very personal and specific, since she speaks from her own personal experience, which is the best way to approach the crisis in that country,” Sierra said.
Hausmann is glad her message resonates with a Latin American audience, particularly in Miami.
“Miami is so multicultural in a unified yet different way… People kind of keep their culture, but still mix, which is really cool… It’s a place of its own, people here talk to me in Spanish first,” Hausmann said. “This is the only place that does that. The Latino culture is so rooted into the place that this is absolutely the most bicultural city I’ve been in.”
Her career in comedy began after she finished college and moved to Chicago. There she went to The Second City, a theatre known for starting the careers of names such as Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert and Tina Fey.
“That theatre taught me that comedy was a career and not just a personality that you had, and there’s a lot of training involved in it,” she said.
As a Jewish Latina, Hausmann is a unique voice for Hispanic minorities.
“The more specific you are with your identity, the more universal you become… My last name is Hausmann, and I always felt very weird about having a last name that didn’t represent my culture, como que, I should be called Garcia, right? But then I embraced that,” she said.
Hausmann was not always comfortable incorporating her identity into her work.
“I never thought that I could use my identity, because I didn’t look the part,” Hausmann said. “So I decided to discard it as an option, but then I realized that you can’t pretend to be something that you’re not… The culture clashes that I represent are actually something that a lot of people of feel.”
She hopes to see more diversity within the entertainment industry and looks up to comedians like Aziz Ansari.
“His series on Netflix really touches upon his Indian background in a very Americanized comedy way,” Hausmann said. “I don’t think it should just be Latinos, I think it should just be multicultural different perspectives. Not just because it educates, but because it’s just more interesting. People are interested in learning about different backgrounds through comedy because comedy is a vehicle of understanding.”