Meet Jess Salomon: War crimes lawyer turned comedian

Jess Salomon on working as a lawyer in a war crimes court and how she turned the experience into a comedy career.
Jess Salomon joins Gill to talk about what she found funny at the International Criminal Courts when she was a war crimes lawyer and pushing boundaries as a comic. (Jess Salomon)

War crimes court may not strike most people as a laughing matter, but war crimes lawyer turned stand-up comic Jess Salomon ​is not most people.

Salomon found the funny in her experience working in The Hague — both in the way she and some of her colleagues engaged in office gossip at the end of the day and in the absurdity of some of the situations they handled.

"There were just funny things that happened from day to day," she tells Gill, "... all of these former heads of states and heads of military who were in the detention centre ... doing pottery, doing watercolours, celebrating birthdays."

In her transition from lawyer to comedian, Salomon had to willfully pull off her "diplomatic layers" when it comes to how she speaks and presents ideas. And if the joke that got her banned from a TEDx talk is any indication, she's successfully layer-free.

"Stand-up is sort of this bastion of free speech ... where there aren't any real limitations on it," Salomon adds, "so it is very fulfilling and slowly, I'm feeling more and more like a comedian and not a like a lawyer."  

WEB EXTRA | Watch a couple of Salomon's stand-up sets from Toronto and Montreal.


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