Walk into Cuban Crafters Cigar Superstore in Miami and you’ll find an eclectic group smoking cigars and drinking Cuban coffee. Some you’ll recognize, as they are Miami’s most notable cigar makers. These legendary cigar makers stop by the store to enjoy the cigars, coffee and a game or two of dominoes. Others are cigar aficionados who enjoy the relaxed environment. One who stands out for his knowledge about cigars and his funny stories about life in America is comedian Jamal Hattar.
Jamal Hattar wears many different hats. At Cuban Crafters he’s a cigar enthusiast. At UVA Restaurant and Lounge in Coral Gables, Florida he’s the owner and manager. At the IMPROV comedy club in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach he’s the funny comedian who gets on the stage with a cigar in hand and makes fun of life in the Middle East and in the USA. To those who know him well, he’s the mild-mannered long-haired intellectual with a PH. D. in Economics, a Masters degree in Finance and who always has a cigar between his fingers.
Jamal has been smoking cigars for over five years. He finds it relaxing and with his hectic lifestyle, it’s a way to relieve stress. As he put it, “My theory is that stress is bad for you. Cigars relieve stress so cigars must be good for you. I smoke between 4 to 5 cigars a day.” When asked about the cigars he prefers, his response was “I was inspired by President Clinton,” as he smokes a large 60 ring gauge cigar. “If Clinton used a big cigar like this Medina 1959 Miami Edition Corona Gorda, Monica would’ve kept her mouth shut.” He continues, “I like full-bodied cigars that burn evenly and give you a nicotine buzz. I prefer darker and Maduro wrappers. I’ve smoked every Cuban and non-Cuban brand out there. My favorites are the J.L. Salazar Series Maduro Churchill and the Medina 1959 Miami Edition Corona Gorda.”
Born in Jerusalem, Israel he came to the United States in 1978 and jokes about being from the Middle East. “Because I’m from the Middle East, after 911 I got a Christmas card in the end of September. I was wondering if the mail in the Middle East was so bad that the Christmas card was 9 months late, or if somebody was very early in sending the card to me. When I read it, it said “We know when you are sleeping, we know if you’re awake, we know if you’ve been bad or good.” It was signed by Homeland Security.” “I started looking out my window at home and there was always a government car out there. So I called ADT Security Services and cancelled the alarm service for my house. They asked me why I was cancelling and I told them cause I now have the Homeland Security Company for my house. Why pay when someone watches your house for free in America.”
Jamal started comedy in 2008. “I always enjoyed making people laugh. It started out as joke.” He regularly performs stand-up comedy at Improv Miami, Improv Ft. Lauderlade, Improv West Palm Beach, the South Beach Comedy Festival and the Deco Drive television show. Some of his acts are posted on YouTube and on his site jamalhattar.com. He considers himself an equal opportunity insulter and jokes about the difference in cultures. “One of the things about being in the United State is my son. My wife asked me to talk to my son about safe sex. So I told my son when you go out with a girl, make sure her family doesn’t find out. That’s safe sex in the Middle East.”
Seven years ago he opened his restaurant and night club UVA in Coral Gables, Florida. It’s now a Miami landmark and during weekends he’ll stand at the door as the patrons stand in line to get in. It’s considered one of the best places in Miami for salsa, and is open 5 days a week from 5 pm to the wee hours of the morning. More information is available at UvaLounge.com.