Stage Door News

St. Catharines: Ali Hassan launches his tour of “Does This Taste Funny?” in St. Catharines

Friday, January 6, 2023

Before appearing on television and radio, Ali Hassan worked for over a decade in the culinary industry.

“I was very, very focused on becoming a chef on television. That was that was everything for me,” he said.

While he hasn’t been able to make that dream come true yet, he said he has been able to “create a pretty happy life” for his wife and children, by working on television and radio.

He is a host of CBC Radio’s hit standup comedy show, “Laugh Out Loud,” and has hosted the Canada Reads competition for the past six years. He has made numerous appearances in film and TV, including on the hit sitcom, “Run the Burbs.”

Hassan will be kicking off a cross-Canada comedy tour with a stop at the Partridge Hall in the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre on Jan. 17.

Aptly titled, Does This Taste Funny?, Hassan’s show will be largely based around his decade working in the food industry as a professional chef, his connection to fine cuisine, and his struggles with overeating.

Hassan called it a “a comedic review” of his life.

He’ll also be sharing some stories from his recently released comedic memoir, “Is There Bacon In Heaven?,” which was released last year.

Comparing working in the culinary industry to working in standup, he said there were two big similarities that stood out to him — the instant gratification from seeing the results of your work and that you will not be able to please everyone.

“You get used to the idea that 10 per cent of people just have appetites that you cannot satisfy even if you make a dish that you're proud of,” said Hassan. “So that was one thing I've prepared around, for some people not liking the product.”

Hassan spoke about a consulting job he had before he entered the culinary industry, saying he never even knew with certainty if the work they made was ever used.

“I was like, that's not enough. I need to know that my work was valued,” he said. “I realized that I need pretty quick gratification. I need to know that people are enjoying the work.”

Hassan called himself “a big fan of the city of St. Catharines.”

“For a city the size of St. Catharines — the amount of options for food — the variety and diversity of food is pretty, pretty exciting.

“The diversity of food and the various levels of excitement around food, and what you can do in a smaller city, is pretty cool.

“Given that this show is really about food, I think it’s a great place to start the tour,” he added.

Tickets cost $35, with discounts for university/college students ($25) and high school students/eyeGO ($5).

For tickets, visit the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre’s website.

By Nick Fearns for