Maz Jobrani is an American Iranian stand-up. He has five stand-up specials under his belt and keeps a very healthy IMDB — most recently starring on CBS’s Superior Donuts. Maz just finished a busy JFL, hosting the Ethnic Show and performing at various shows including the Howie Mandel gala. We had a chance to pick Maz’s brain while he was in town.

Mobtreal:

Welcome back to Montreal, Maz. You’ve been here a bunch, This isn’t your first time here, how would you describe your relationship with the city?

Maz:

We used to date each other. I’m told I’ve been here doing the Ethnic Show for five out of the ten years it’s been on. My first time here was 2008. I don’t think I was doing Ethnic Show, maybe New Faces. I honestly don’t remember, it all blends in.

Mobtreal:

You started standup in the 90’s, right?

Maz:

Yeah 1998, so this is my 20th year. I was telling my wife the other day — the Bush election was 18 years ago, in 2000 — it feels like yesterday. The Hanging Chad!

Mobtreal:

How was it finding your voice in that climate? Were you always political?

Maz:

Yeah, you know what happened was, I started comedy in 98. I took a standup comedy class, and the teacher said: “Talk about what makes you different.” I was the only Iranian American in the class, and I started talking about growing up Iranian in America. A lot of it was jokes that weren’t too political but more social commentary, about what it was like to be different in America.

One of the early jokes I did, and it was a silly joke: “Growing up Iranian in America is hard. Parents won’t let their kids spend the night at our house because they think we’re gonna hold them hostage.” A silly joke, but then suddenly September 11th happened, which the Bush administration used as an excuse to attack Iraq. You’re looking at the TV and you’re like — wait a minute, how did that happen? Like, the attackers were Saudis and Egyptians, and Bin Laden is in Afghanistan, and you’re going to attack Iraq?

So as a comedian I see there are a lot of serious issues I can talk about through comedy and make fun of what’s going on and try to also have a serious message underneath it. So yeah, I think I became political pretty fast.

I will be honest with you too. In 2008 – it just so happened my son was born and Obama went into power. Politically speaking, I just didn’t find a lot of comedy there, but more importantly, as a comedian, I started to do a lot of kid material. Even then, I continued to talk about a lot of the discrimination that was happening against middle easterners, I made fun of the media and their coverage of people from that part of the world. So, I think the political undertone has always existed for me.

Read the full interview on Mobtreal

You can catch Maz performing in LA August 19th – Click the link for details.

About The Author

Nick Farah is a creative professional based in Montreal. While big on improv, Nick also enjoys making videos and pounding on his typewriter.

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