Gringo Stand-Up Comedy in Santiago: Eileen Shea

I’ve loved stand-up comedy since I was a kid. I remember religiously watching the Comedy Central stand-up specials, and in high school I even snuk out to see an encore performance of one of my favorite comedians at the Paramount Theatre in Oakland (sorry, overprotective/uncooperative parents!). I attended my first local comedy show when I was 13 years old at La Peña Cultural Center in Berkeley where I saw a fellow Persian/Latino half breed like myself, and he touched on so many cultural things that I could relate to that the definition of comedy evolved from being just a way to make people laugh and poke fun at each other to a more transcendent and artistic expression that can also bring people together and create an understanding through various emotions, and above all, laughter.

Recently, Francisco and I saw Eileen Shea, a Canadian expat, doing her stand-up comedy routine in Santiago – “No Dejes las Ollas“ at La Casa en el Aire – and we had a similar amusingly entertaining yet cultural experience. I’ve seen videos of her on YouTube, and being an aficionado of stand-up, I had to see her live.

La Casa en el Aira was an intimate setting where Eileen instantly made you feel like she was simply having a conversation with the audience. Her routine was filled with hilarious and ironic observations, characters and anecdotes revolving Chilean marriage/dating culture. The narrative spotlights her unfaithful, ex-husband, “Miguel” and converts painful, personal moments into a dramatic comedy.



Eileen Shea began her stand-up comedy career in Santiago de Chile in 1988 and has always done her shows in Spanish and has performed with the likes of Coco Legrand (a Chilean comedic legend). According to her website, she just recently began doing shows in English and French. I found it impressive to watch her as a master of an art in a foreign country that is so linguistically and culturally focused, and she goes at it like a skillful actor in a play.

A little taste of Eileen Shea’s comedic style and views on Chilean men.

Humor is so culturally subjective that when I took Francisco to our first comedy show at the Helium Club in Philadelphia, I wasn’t sure if he would laugh along with me or sit there in utter boredom. Over the years, we’ve grown to increasingly understand our cultures and there are still some times where I’m cracking up and he’s staring at me wondering “What’s so funny?” and vice versa, but our humor gaps are fewer and farther between now.

Whether you’re an expat in Chile or a Chilean, you will not be disappointed with her content or comedic style! We both loved Eileen Shea’s show and had a great time laughing at the ironic yet funny realities of everyday Chile.

I wish I could say that I knew more about Chilean stand-up comedy, but my knowledge is limited knowledge to Kramer, Dinamita Show and el “Club de la Comedia“. Period. I say it’s time to branch out and check out the local stand-up comedy scene in Santiago!

Here’s her latest show:

Eileen Shea

We highly recommend seeing her live! Follow her on Twitter or visit her Official Site for information on future shows.

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