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Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Emmanuel Carré: From soccer scholar to stand-up star

FAU Cameroonian senior overcomes cardiomyopathy diagnosis to entertain the world.
Courtesy of Sebastian Riella
Carré headlining the Miami Improv Theater.

Amidst a dimly lit comedy club, the audience sat in eager anticipation as Emmanuel Carré, a Cameroonian senior, stepped onto the stage with a smirk that promised laughter. 

After living in France and England for some time, where he endured bullying and a medical diagnosis, he turned to social media to create comedy videos as a form of therapy and entertainment for others. 

Carré is attending FAU on a soccer scholarship. A communications major, he persistently balances a heavy course load, a devoted social media following of 2 million on TikTok and 171,000 on Instagram and the art of keeping audiences in stitches. 

“I want to entertain the world,” Carré said. 

Carré’s story began far from the palm trees and beaches of Boca Raton. The spark of his comedic genius ignited in the heart of Africa.  

Carré grew up in tropical francophone Yaounde, Cameroon, where, according to the World Food Programme (WFP), over 55% of the population lives in poverty. 

“Africa is a place full of talent and imagination, and we make things happen without a lot,” Carré said. “For example, I used to play soccer barefoot with my friends, and we would use t-shirts and pieces of rope to make a ball because we didn’t have one.”

His soccer beginnings

At the tender age of five, Carré uncovered a deep passion for soccer, which became his cherished pastime and, ultimately, the ticket to his journey to America. 

Following his 13-year chapter in Yaounde, Carré embarked on an international journey. He spent a year in Beaune, France, where he dedicated himself to club soccer. 

“My mom had [my sister and I] young and didn’t get a chance to finish her education,” Carré said. “So when she went to Europe to study, we lived with my aunt for six years in Cameroon, and then my mom took both of us to France to start a new life with better opportunities.”

Carré’s accent and distinctive style of dressing set him apart from his peers in France, which subjected him to bullying. 

“Life and school in France was really hard,” said Carré. “It was a completely new culture that was difficult for me to adapt to, so it wasn’t the greatest experience, and the bullying definitely didn’t help.”

Equipped with nothing more than a Nokia phone and an abundance of wit, Carré began crafting humorous videos from the confines of his room, using a stack of shoe boxes as his makeshift tripod. 

“I used to care a lot about what people thought of me,” Carré said. “Making videos was my way of trying to build confidence in myself.”

His path later led him to Derby, England, a pivotal destination where he lived with a host family for three years, learned English and meticulously sharpened his soccer skills. 

“Going to England gave me the chance to get a full education while playing a great level of soccer, so I chose to pursue a physical therapy degree there,” Carré said. 

Carré played for prestigious professional soccer academies, the Derby Development Academy and the Matlock Town Academy. During this time, his life became synonymous with the sport, fueling his fervent dream of becoming a professional soccer player. 

Carré’s world was consumed by soccer for three years, with his daily routine consisting of 6 a.m. wake-up calls, bus commutes to practice and afternoon classes, occasionally followed by intensive double training sessions. Yet, amidst this demanding routine, he found solace by creating and posting comedy YouTube videos to escape his busy schedule. 

During his last year in England, an international player placement agency approached Carré directly after witnessing his skills on the field. The agency expressed their belief that he would be an excellent fit for the American scene. This was a dream come true for Carré, who had always aspired to come to America. 

“I remember calling my mom immediately after that conversation and saying ‘I’m going to America,’” Carré said.  

Carré grappled with the decision of either extending his stay in England to focus on soccer and his education or returning to France to be closer to his family. He decided to spend a year in France, during which he played for the soccer team Villefranche Beaujolais, before eventually opting to pursue his dream of going to America. 

“When I went back to France during that year, all I could think about was going to America,” Carré said. “I took the SAT and got soccer scholarship offers from multiple schools.”

The sunny Floridian weather influenced Carré’s decision to join FAU, as well as a closer time zone to his family in France and his appreciation for the university’s thriving soccer program. 

“I felt out of place in England and in France, but as soon as I came [to America] I felt like I belonged here,” Carré said. 

A diagnosis that changed his path

Carré arrived at FAU in 2020 and played for the soccer team for one semester before being diagnosed with a heart condition. 

“I’ve had an enlarged heart all my life, and it never stopped me from doing anything,” Carré said. “But when I got [COVID-19], it caused a mutation in my heart, which could be dangerous if I continued to play, but it also means I have way more love to give to people.”

Due to his cardiomyopathy diagnosis, Carré discontinued playing for the soccer team. However, he was still allowed to retain his scholarship if he agreed to attend practices during the week and help the media team with video production. 

With soccer occupying less of his time, Carré redirected his focus toward more video production, which led to a substantial and growing social media following. 

“I felt like soccer wasn’t my calling anymore,” Carré said. “I had a feeling it wasn’t for me.”

Discovering a new passion

Carré’s journey into the world of stand-up comedy started when his friends, who had noticed his penchant for humor, secretly enrolled him in Palm Beach Improv’s New Faces of Comedy in February 2022, where he had to perform for five minutes and bring 10 guests to watch him on stage. 

“I was always making jokes in my friends’ dorms,” Carré said. “I remember I was very nervous right before stepping on stage that night, but as soon as I got on [stage], it’s like the fear completely left my body, and it felt natural.”

Following his inaugural performance, Carré has regularly graced the stage with his stand-up comedy, typically delivering two shows a month and participating in numerous open-mic events. Alongside his event appearances, Carré has headlined two significant shows, one at the Palm Beach Improv and his most substantial performance at one of Miami’s most renowned comedy stages.

“Having my own show at the Miami Improv Theater was an amazing feeling and by far my best accomplishment with stand-up comedy,” Carré said. “The night before the show, I couldn’t sleep because I was so excited.” 

Carré intentionally avoided being informed about the number of tickets sold before the show to preserve the element of surprise. 

“For his first time being on stage for an extended period of time like that, [Carré] really took it by the horns and booked a fantastic show,” said Sebastian Alvarez, who met Carré at a smaller Miami venue earlier in the year when they were both booked for a show. 

Alvarez, born and raised in Miami, has been working at the Miami Improv Theater for two years and manages the front-of-house ticket sales and reservations. Beyond Alvarez’s administrative responsibilities, he is also a comic himself. After witnessing one of Carré’s performances at the Fatboy Hookah Lounge in Miami, he took the initiative to introduce Carre to the Miami Improv team. 

“[Carré] is the perfect example of someone who doesn’t let obstacles get in his way,” said Alvarez. “It’s his work ethic that’s going to take him to the next level.” 

On top of rigorous practice, a comedian needs to stay up to date with current events to implement into skits and master delivery techniques such as tone. 

“A lot of comedians have to work to grab people’s attention, but [Carré] automatically has it as soon as he steps on stage,” said Shawn Acevedo, Carré’s dedicated creative partner, helping him rehearse, co-write skits and accompanying him to his shows. 

An inspiration to others

“A lot of comedians go on stage and tell jokes, but [Carré] is different,” said Acevedo. “He has the ability to perform.”

Their partnership began in February 2022 when Carré visited the FAU barbershop he worked at and shared one of his stand-up comedy videos from YouTube.

“I’m not the funniest person in the world, but I’m a big stand-up comedy guy,” said Acevedo. “When I saw him up there on the screen, I saw how the camera really loved him, and he already looked famous to me.” 

Acevedo extended an offer to Carré, suggesting that if he ever required assistance with skits, he should not hesitate to reach out. 

“Shawn is like a right hand and a family member to me, and I know he will always have my back,” Carré said. “He’s seen me turn into the stand-up comedian that I am today, and he’s one of the only ones that saw what I had before anybody else.” 

Acevedo affirmed that he and Carré found each other during challenging periods in their lives. 

“Little does he know, he’s helped me just as much as I’ve helped him,” Acevedo said. “I want to be there for him as much as I can.”

Carré has also hosted Owlspys twice, an annual event to recognize FAU athletes and coaches’ excellence, and the New Face of Comedy at the Miami Improv.

“You can be talented, but you also have to be lucky,” Carré said. “I’m extremely grateful to have people by my side that help me every day to achieve my dream.” 

Sharing a similar narrative with Carré is one of his team members and mentor, Jonathan Alexander, who originates from Bangladesh with a longstanding dream of experiencing life in America.

“I came to this country with about 18 dollars in my pocket 20 years ago, and I see a lot of myself in Manny,” Alexander said. “This is the American dream, and [Carré] just needs a little push from a few people that care about him and aren’t looking at him like a business opportunity.”

Jonathan takes on tasks such as negotiating and signing legal contracts and devising strategic plans for Carré.

“There is no real monetary value in any of this so far, so everyone is doing something absolutely voluntary because they love Manny and they believe in him.”

Carré will graduate in December 2024 and plans to apply for the 0-1 Visa to hopefully become a full-time entertainer.

Laurie Mermet is a contributing writer for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or DM laurie.mmt on Instagram.

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About the Contributor
Laurie Mermet
Laurie Mermet, Student Life Editor
Laurie Mermet is a senior pursuing a bachelor's in multimedia journalism with a minor in public relations. 

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  • C

    Carre AnnickNov 1, 2023 at 5:03 am

    I love It ♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️