If you’ve ever had the pleasure of sitting in a room with George Tarabay, you know that you’d eventually end up in stitches of laughter. George has proven himself to be an unforgettable friend and regular contributor to bazaar, and one afternoon as we were laughing up a storm with our funny fellow, we realized that there’s a lot more to him than meets the eye. Could it be that the famously sarcastic George Tarabay is actually deep and sensitive?
“George – have you always been funny?” I ask him as he fidgets around with not one, but two cameras to film our interview for the sake of one of the self-made videos he enjoys posting on a monthly basis to coincide with his column. As his brows furrow in concentration, he answers with a simple “no”, continuing to tell me that he wasn’t even very popular in his high school years. “I was lame – a geek, a nerd, combined in a person who literally had no friends and whose interests were completely different than everybody else’s. Everyone around me was interested in socializing, and I was into comics and physics. It wasn’t until I got to college that I started to trim down some of my awkwardness and made more friends.” A lot of what held him through these years to break out of his shell was also comedy, wherein he started performing as a stand up comedian in his university days. “My comedic brand is different – observational – and in university, I made it about university problems and everyday life.”
The George we know and love learned to hone his comedy in a way that is relatable and will make everyone laugh. Who can he credit this to besides his own natural intelligence? Louis C.K., for one. “Louis C.K. is a comedian who really knows how to thread horrible things and embellish and deliver them to you to make you think what he’s saying is completely normal. His methodology helped me push my own limits. I’m different than him because I’ll never disrespect anyone and I don’t want to disrespect anyone, but I’ll always push the envelope.”
But the most surprising thing about George, besides the fact that his charming delivery makes him get away with murder in the things that he says, is that he never studied media in an educational sense. His amazing stage presence and vast knowledge in video editing and media creation would make one assume a background, but George was originally meant to be an engineer.
“You know when you’re a huge fan of someone famous, and you’ve always loved them and wanted to meet them but once you have, you kind of wish you never did? That’s how I feel about engineering.” When George originally moved to Kuwait 5 years ago, it was to put his Civil Engineering degree from Université Saint-Joseph de Beyrouth to use on an oil field. “I worked with so many wonderful people there, but with me and engineering, it never felt right.” He left that job to seek other opportunities in the same field, thinking that if he’d downsized in volume he’d find what he was looking for, but the engineering route never made him happy. “And after losing my father, it took a depression for me to be able to cut off the unnecessary limbs.”
Then there’s his unrelenting love for radio: “The radio was always a passion project for me, since day one, even when I came to Kuwait as an engineer.” It’s one of the mediums that he feels he’ll always want to do be a part of “I love how it caters to everybody, and it’s a place where you can solely rely on your personality. No one cares what you look like, so it’s the biggest challenge.”
Today, while working on his own business Veer2al, a boutique agency for branding, marketing and media, George is still on the radio, pursuing his passion and putting his talent to use. But his journey getting to where he is now wasn’t easy – it was tumultuous and tricky, shaking him to his very core, and he learned a lot from it. He described himself to me as “a guy who’s trying to make sense of everything around him,” and the best way to explain the randomness of life? Comedy. “To me, everything is up for grabs. Everything is funny, or can be funny from the way we eat, we drive and try to force our opinions on everyone else. People need to laugh more – everybody does. Let go of what offends you and embrace that life is funny.”
TRUTH OR DARE QUESTIONNAIRE
How would your mother describe you in one word?
How would you describe your mother in one word?
What is the most ridiculous question you’ve ever been asked?
“How come you don’t like eggplants?”
What is the most spontaneous thing you’ve ever done?
Told my wife I will marry her three weeks into our relationship.
What is your theme song?
“Syneasthesia” – The Thrillseekers (PVD remix).
What word in the English or Arabic language do you wish you had invented?
“Moreover” – it’s so sophisticated.
Where would you like to live? What is your dream retirement location?
I want to live in the Netherlands. Would love to retire in Geneva-Switzerland.
What is the first famous quote that comes to your mind?
“The worth of that, is that which it contains. And that is this, and this with thee remains” (my man, Shak[espeare]).
What animal best describes the kind of partner you’d be interested in?
A lioness, which describes my wife perfectly. People assume the lion runs the show but we all know what’s up.
What do you miss about your childhood?
Being thin and dorky.
If you could change your name, what would you change it to?
Ivan Romanov Medvedyev Tesla.
How would you describe your handshake in one word?
What is the toughest part of your character?
Who is your favorite historical figure?
What in the world do you least desire?
What do you think is lacking in the world, which if there was more of would make the world a better place?
People doing good just because they can, and not because of a reward.
Why do you think most girls/guys like you?
I am painfully honest and unfiltered.
Finish this sentence: “Happiness is a thing called…”
Intrigued? Watch the in-depth interview on George’s video of the month, and be sure to read this month’s contribution in this issue. For more on George, follow him on Instagram @GeorgeTarabay and Facebook.com/Georgethecomic.