Montreal's Own Jewish-Palestinian Lesbian Comedy Duo Teaches Us How To Laugh In Lockdown
The couple gave us their top 3 tips for keeping spirits up in quarantine.
If Eman El-Husseini and Jess Salomon look familiar, you might have caught their Crave: The El-Solomons: Marriage of Convenience. Or perhaps you recognize them from @theelsalomons, an Instagram account featuring illustrated vignettes from their lives as Jewish-Palestinian wives, comedians and moms to puppy Esther Honey.special on
Maybe you saw them perform at the Royalmount this summer or heard about their new BBC podcast Comedians Vs The News, in which they "take on the headlines and find the funny in the stories the world is talking about."
Regardless of what these two are doing — and, clearly, it's a lot — they're experts at taking whatever life throws at them and finding the funny in it.
And since the pair met in Montreal where Salomon grew up, we can still consider them 'our own' even though they're currently based in New York, right?
The El-Salomons recently spent two months in a chalet near Chertsey, Quebec riding out the pandemic, and they gave us their top three tips for keeping your spirits up in confinement.
Use social media for good
"I barely ate and I'm driving in snow and I have a wife that's stressing me for eight hours. So we got to the place that we rented and I passed out, sleeping like a baby," El-Husseini told MTL Blog, recounting the early days of quarantine.
"But then I wake up to my wife crying at two o'clock in the morning writing this huge status update about how sad she is."
Salomon explained that she doesn't typically write long, emotional statuses in the middle of the night, but it was "not the time to telephone anybody." Plus, El-Husseini was asleep.
"It does feel like a place where you can kind of unload," Salomon said. "People were so supportive."
The couple said the pandemic is also a good time to use social media to catch up with friends.
And though El-Husseini poked fun at Salomon, turns out the joke's on her.
"Jess left all of her worries on her Facebook," El-Husseini said. "Then she passes out, and now I can't fall asleep."
Step up your food game
El-Husseini and Salomon both agreed food is a point of contention in their relationship. Salomon's the type to pack boiled eggs for the road and El-Husseini's the type to scout out roadside dives à la Guy Fieri.
But the two have been having fun in the kitchen lately.
"When COVID came around I really had to step up my game with cooking almost defensively so she wouldn't go to a restaurant," said Salomon.
"That's how we managed to keep our relationship together. Me turning into a five-star, James Beard award-winning chef."
Since they couldn't leave the chalet during their two-week quarantine when arriving in Quebec, they indulged in regional specialties — each ordering May Wests, and Ah Caramels, which they didn't realize came by the box-full.
"We weren't sad about [it]," said Salomon.
"And Eman bought a home poutine making [kit] — the gravy from St. Hubert and the fries and the cheese curds."
Change-up the content you consume
"The first twenty headlines [in U.S. publications] are Trump, Trump, Trump," said El-Husseini.
"Just taking a breather away from that [can help]. 'What's happening in Ethiopia? What's happening in Argentina? Oh, a politician kissed his wife's breasts during a zoom meeting?' You're just like, 'This is great!'"
If you're not listening to their BBC podcast, they recommend escaping with light, "junky" shows like Selling Sunset, The Circle and Family Feud.
And if you do watch the news? Adopt a comedian's mentality.
"Our brain is sort of trained to find the funny," Salomon explained.
"You just hope for moments like the fly landing on Mike Pence's head. That was the happiest people have been in a long time as a group."