Episode 4: Keelah Rose Calloway - "Survivor's Guilt"

Keelah Rose Calloway says the things you’re thinking but generally have good enough sense not to say aloud. She also likes to make people laugh. which is a good thing when you’re a comedian. 

Keelah Rose first came on The Black Expat radar in 2018 when she shared her journey while living in Poland. She now lives in Vietnam, where she relocated in order to start her own comedy organization. Yep, a comedy organization. This Californian raised  woman moved to a small city in Vietnam to start a comedy organization. 

We cover a lot ground in this episode, including how a year abroad while taking time off from law school turned into over a decade of living internationally, the difficulties of watching the struggle from overseas and why Vietnam became the spot to expand her comedic career.

Here are some excerpts from Amanda’s conversation with Keelah Rose.  You can listen to the full episode on Spotify,  Anchor or wherever you get your podcasts. You can can also visit The Black Expat YouTube Channel to listen in. 

For Keelah Rose’s original feature, visit Punchlines in Poland

Excerpt: On Why She Left

...if you grow up in a place and you love it and you feel like, “This is my home. This is what my life is going to be.” more power to you. That's fantastic, but I just never, ever felt that way, and I always knew I was going to leave. It was just a matter of time.

Excerpt: Her Comedic Style

I am who I am, I'm an African-American woman, and I've had a lot of international experience, but ultimately, my comedy is personal, I'm not one of these people who tells a bunch of generic jokes that would work just as well coming from anybody's mouth. No shade to people who operate like that, because it's a perfectly valid way of doing comedy, and God knows, I laugh my ass off at plenty of comedians who had just one liner after another. It was hysterical, but my jokes would not work as well if somebody else told them. And because of that, my jokes are pretty much inseparable from who I am.

Excerpt: Watching the U.S. Protests from Afar

Even though I left the United States, and even though I'm the first one to criticize the United States and to speak up, when the United States does something that I consider to be unjust or wrong, I have never stopped being anything but an American. So to see my country bleed like this is utterly devastating, honestly. And I've been going through a rough time watching it from afar because part of me feels like I should be there.

You can follow Keelah Rose’s comedy on Facebook .

To hear the full episode, click below or listen wherever you get your podcasts.

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