'Like Xanax': In Lebanon, crisis comedy combats trauma

Lebanese comedians are bringing relief and defying taboos with jokes about dating, partying during the pandemic – and how even drug dealers are considering leaving the crisis-hit country. Laughter erupts in a venue wedged between two districts devastated by a deadly August 4 explosion that ravaged the Beirut port and swathes of the Lebanese capital. The blast exacerbated a year-long acute financial crisis and political deadlock, as the country also struggled with a surge in novel coronavirus infections. “The situation is so bad that even the flea market has slashed its prices by 50 percent,” …

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