Aisha Brown is living proof that when one door closes, another one opens. After battling anxiety and depression and getting laid off from her job, Aisha Brown turned to stand-up to re-purpose her creative energy and hasn’t looked back since. Aisha is one of the few people that call getting fired one of their “luckiest breaks” because it led to her discovering her true passion: a career in comedy.
Aisha is a Toronto-based comedian signed by the infamous Canadian Comedy Club Yuk Yuk’s. In fact, even the co-founder of Yuk Yuk’s, Mark Breslin, labelled her as a “Canadian Comedian to Watch.” But Aisha’s diverse career doesn’t stop there. Not only does she write articles for the CBC Comedy Website, but she’s performed in the Just For Laughs Festival, the Guelph Comedy Festival, Toronto’s Field Trip Festival, and Sketchfest. In fact, Aisha even showcased for Kevin Hart’s digital comedy channel in 2016.
Brown helped write for an extensive list of TV series including The Beaverton, Cara Takes Up Space, This Hour has 22 Minutes, Roast Battle Canada, and many more. Aisha has expressed her preference for writing for others rather than herself. She admits that writing for someone else feels like using a different creative muscle, partly because the inherent anonymity of writing for someone else allows her to write outlandish jokes without having to worry about taking the heat for saying it, in the off chance that the joke inadvertently offends someone.
Although Aisha can write audacious jokes, she also occasionally allows her more vulnerable side to come out. In one of her sets, she read a poem called “Anxiety Hawk,” which is about an imaginary hawk that sits on her shoulder. When asked about the intention behind this recitation in an interview on CTV with e-talk, Aisha mentions that incorporating mental health talk in her sketches helps make her feel less alone in her struggles. She notes that audience members often tell her how they can relate to her experiences, and to Aisha, that helps her feel like she is chipping away at reducing the shame and stigma that continues to surround mental illness. Above all else, Aisha’s goal is finding a way to make others laugh, despite what they may be suffering from, and that is something she will always love about stand-up, especially since it is what led her to begin working in the industry in the first place.
In addition to stand up and comedic writing, Aisha is also an actress. She is featured playing different characters in the TV Shows Baroness Von Sketch Show, Love After Anne, Terrific Women, and Just Another Day. Plus, she plays herself in Humour Resources.
One of her greatest accomplishments took place in 2020 when she was the first black woman to have her comedy special on Crave TV. As a result of this success, in 2021, she won the Canadian Screen Award for Best Variety Entertainment for her one-hour-long TV special “The First Black Woman Ever,” which covers a wide range of topics including racism, Trump, clinical depression, and her boyfriends’ secrets.
In the words of the comedian herself, “Why don’t [you] just try this thing [you’ve] always wanted to do?” Brown acknowledges that she will never have the exact same outcome as her idols, but she embraces the fact that there is always space to become something unique. Let Aisha’s inspiring success story serve as the sign you’ve been seeking to pursue your own dreams.
Jackie Marson | Contributing Writer