Harout Pamboukjian, Vahe Berberian to Perform at Chicago AYF Olympics

Harout Pamboukjian (left) and Vahe Berberian

Harout Pamboukjian (left) and Vahe Berberian

West Coast entertainment legends Harout Pamboukjian and Vahe Berberian will be part of the line up at next weekend’s AYF-YOARF Chicago Olympics, with Berberian dazzling the audience with his comedy routine on Thursday, August 29 at Zanie’s Comedy Club, Rosemont and Pamboukjian taking the Olympics stage on Saturday at the Olympic headquarters at Hyatt Regency O’Hare.

Below we present the AYF Olympics mascot, Chicago Amo, reflections about Berberian.

Now some may say I have a huge belly laugh. I laugh, I am told, through my center in a bellowing roar… in my core, and my Middle, as some would say. I like to laugh and it doesn’t take much for me to laugh at people’s slip-ups, my stammerings, or something funny at church. I laugh with my whole body. And why shouldn’t I? I have a lot to laugh about in this crazy world of ours.

AYF Chicago Olympic mascot Amo with Vahe Berberian

AYF Chicago Olympic mascot Amo with Vahe Berberian

However, I have to say I’ve never laughed so hard when I saw my first Chicago show by world-renown comedian Vahe Berberian. I laughed so hard. I borrowed tissue from my friends and family on the table. I thought I needed an adult diaper.

Vahe’s jokes and relatability are both amazing. He has great lines, and a style of “cool” all his own. It’s hard to describe unless you see him in action. Vahe also has a lot of connections to the AYF, and we appreciate that the Olympics team is bringing his new show, Yete, to Zanie’s Comedy Club during Olympics, which is literally blocks from the hotel headquarters.

Vahe is from California and we’re lucky we snagged him to come to Chicago Olympics, and if you don’t know him, you must see this show and Vahe’s creative, verbally-colorful and unique monologue. He performs at many cruises, and shows in Armenia, Lebanon, Syria, Canada, Europe and all over the world. The club has a capacity of 200 so book your tickets on our website today!

I’ve never seen this show however. “Yete”, as it is called, is the fifth and the most personal of Vahe’s monologues. The master of finding comedy in social and cultural topics, now finds humor in anxiety. He talks about anything and everything that gives him anxiety, including movies, death, politics, marriage and social media! Everyone knows (and loves) Vahe for his ability to relate to the Armenian audiences and we can tell you by experience he will leave you in tears laughing! And maybe you will need an adult diaper. I don’t know. And I’m ok not knowing.

Berberian will perform an Thursday, Aug 29, at 8 p.m. at Zanie’s Comedy Club, four blocks from hotel, Admission is $40 per person (tickets online only at www.ayfolympics.org) and $45 at the door. Free shuttle service will be available from the hotel.

AYF Chicago Olympic mascot Amo with Harout Pamboukjian

AYF Chicago Olympic mascot Amo with Harout Pamboukjian

When we say Harout, chills and thrills go down our spine! We don’t need a chiropractor, we just need to grab each other’s pinkies or solo dance “mena bar” to his amazing music. One of the greatest of all-time, Harout is a tribute to Armenian musicians everywhere, and many of AYFers have grown up with his albums! But he will be LIVE in person at the Saturday night dance.

Harout has performed for over 50 years as his music moves millions of people to sing, dance, and enjoy – and is just as popular now as he was years ago. His Armenian dance, folk, revolutionary and romantic songs make him a fan favorite worldwide so don’t miss him on Saturday night! Chicago Amo interviewed Harout for the first time, and here’s what we discovered:

Amo: Where did you get your start and love of music?

Harout Pamboukjian: My mom had a beautiful voice & sang to me all the time. My passion to music is always a huge tribute to my mother.

Amo: Tell us a little about how you got started.

H.P: My mom bought me my first guitar & I was overjoyed. I started playing, singing and loving it. In my teen years some friends and I, like many teenagers, put together a band and started performing. But my main career started in the Diaspora, Lebanon, then LA

Amo: When you perform to younger groups like AYF, what is your feeling inside?

H.P: JOY, absolute joy that the youth enjoy my music and hopefully can carry it on.

Amo: What is your favorite singer? Who inspires you and what song do you love to perform?

H.P.: My all-time favorite is Charles Aznavour and I have performed many of his songs in Armenian. I love to perform them as they give me such great happiness to sing them and share his talents in music.

Amo: Advice for Armenian Americans of today about what is Important.

H.P.: Stay Armenian, sing Armenian, talk Armenian & keep the torch on!

Amo: Do you have any AYF experiences, friends, stories, anything AYF directly related?

H.P.: Oh wow, Amo, sure I do. I have been performing for 40 years at many, many AYF events. I love the enthusiasm of the youth — dancing, singing, enjoying and participating when I see them from the stage. I love it

Amo: What do you think of Chicago?

H.P.: I love, love, love Chicago and Amo, oh yes I have been there many times since early 70s & looking forward to the AYF Olympics and performing Saturday of Labor Day! I do have to say, I love that famous hot dog (lol) and also like many people, enjoy the infamous Chicago jazz music scene.


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