Anecdota

Laughter is the Best Medicine

Maz Jobrani: “Balancing Iranian and American: Life of an Immigrant Comedian” | Talks at Google


[MUSIC PLAYING] SPEAKER: Maz Jobrani
is arguably one of the most well-known
and well-loved comedians in the Iranian-American
community, both young and old. His family immigrated to
California from Tehran when he was only six years old. And he draws a lot of his
comedy from his experience growing up as an immigrant whose
parents tried their best to fit into American
culture while still retaining their Iranian roots. For example, he
makes fun of Iranians for calling themselves
Persians, like the cat, meow, instead of Iranian to
avoid any bad connotations. Maybe the Iranian
Googler [INAUDIBLE] should put some cat sign
on their t-shirt too. But just speaking
of Iranian Googlers, I hope folks that are watching
us live from Mountain View are not snoring over there. We have weekly Persian lunch
on Fridays in Blake’s Cafe. And they serve a variety of
Persian appetizer, entrees, desserts, and a
drink called doogh. What it does, it makes
the rest of your day very productive by putting you
in a few hours of deeper sleep. [LAUGHTER] Good for Fridays. And better than most comedies,
a sense of social justice. He first became
popular on YouTube with jokes begging
the media to show the Iranians on
TV making cookies instead of threats of violence. He always has a way to turn
bad situations into jokes, like naming his comedy
group, the Axis of Evil, when George W. Bush named Iran
as a part of the axis of evil. He also knows when to take
his activism seriously, such as his refusal to play
any terrorist roles in films, and his recent involvement
in protests against the Trump administration’s travel ban. His recent achievements
include writing and starring in “Jimmy Vestvood:
Amerikan Hero,” a silly tour through the life
of an Iranian immigrant as he navigates the crazy world of
Los Angeles’s Iranian community, and his “LA Times” best-selling
memoir, “I’m Not a Terrorist, But I’ve Played One on TV,”
his new Netflix one-hour comedy special, “Immigrant,” and
one of the stars of the CBS series, “Superior Donuts.” Season 2 premieres in October. It’s hard to ever
overstate how much it means for
Iranian-American community to have Maz represent us so
well, while standing up for us and making fun of
us at the same time. He’s an incredibly sweet guy,
with one Googler mentioning to me that when he was
12, he would regularly send Maz fan mail. And it meant the world to him
that his hero would actually reply back and even sent him an
autograph, signed, of course, with meow. Ladies and gentlemen, give
it up for Maz Jobrani. [APPLAUSE] MAZ JOBRANI: Hey. [CROWD CHEERS] Hey! Hey! Hello. Hello, Google. You guys don’t work, do you? This is amazing. This is my first
time on this campus. I went to the Northern
California one as well. And yeah, you guys,
they feed you. And there’s games,
and then seminar. You get a nap room. And wow, well, it’s a good job. Great. AUDIENCE: There’s massages. MAZ JOBRANI: There’s literally
a table with money upstairs. Did you see that? You can just take money. Fantastic. What did you say? What? Massage. Massage, wow. OK. How does anyone know how
much work you guys do? Does anybody– no, nobody knows. Yeah, all right. Well, this is cool to be here. I actually– like,
I didn’t really know what this was
until Hadi got in touch and said come give a talk. Who thought it was a
stand-up comedy show? Yeah, OK, no. It’s not going to be. [LAUGHTER] It’s a lecture on
the history of Iran. No, I’m kidding. No, Iranian Googlers,
I guess there’s– I’m proud of you guys. Iranian Googlers,
there’s a handful of you. Fantastic. Like, four of you
wearing the t-shirts. The rest of you are like,
no, bro, just lay low. There’s a travel ban, man. [LAUGHTER] We’re Greek Googlers! You know what I mean? [LAUGHTER] Yeah, man. Google, Iranian– I mean,
I’m happy that there is– I, as an Iranian, you
always get excited when you see other
Iranians doing well. So to see you in
Google, it’s great. And I think you can
start your own– you should have a better
name than Iranian– like, you should be Googoosh,
who is, like, a Persian diva. You could do Googoosh or
Doodool, which means penis. Anyway– [LAUGHTER] This is cool. No, so like I was
saying, I didn’t really know what this was. But I guess it’s a talk. And I got invited. I get invited to
do a lot of stuff by other Iranian-Americans,
because there aren’t that many
Iranian-American comedians. There’s like three. It’s like me, a guy named Max
Amini, and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, That’s all. [LAUGHTER] So I get the invite. And Mahmoud’s in
retirement right now. But he might come back. [LAUGHTER] But no, it’s actually
interesting to me. And I know there’s
different ethnicities here. And we all have– like, you
know, like, where’s my Indians? Indians, where’s the Indians? Yes, of course. Yeah, you’ve got to be here. Yeah, you guys have,
like, Russell Peters. Right? You’ve got Russell Peters. Right? And then are there
any Filipinos? Any Filipinos here? Any Filipinos? Asians, any Asians? Asians, Asians. No Asians? We’re at Google? What’s going on here? There. What kind of Asian? What kind of– AUDIENCE: Vietnamese. MAZ JOBRANI: Vietnamese. You don’t have– there’s
no Vietnamese comedians. OK, well, that’s fine. There’s actually a
guy named Dat Phan. There really is. It’s just interesting,
because, like, I think people find the
comedian within their group, and they go to see
what he’s got to say. And for me, it’s interesting. Because being one of the only
Iranian-American comedians, I think some Iranians, they
treat me like a jukebox, meaning like, they make requests
on what I should talk about. So like, I’ve been doing
a lot of Trump jokes because he gives us a lot
of stuff to joke about. And as an Iranian-American, I
mean, it’s like, Jesus Christ. Let me just tell you. As a comedian in general,
Trump has been hard, because it’s hard
to keep up with him. No, really. Because as comedians, we need
time to develop our jokes. So we’ll come up with a joke. And we’ll be like,
OK, this is going to take three months until I
refine it and get it right. But by the time you
do a joke about Trump, he’s already on
to another thing. Like, it’s crazy. It’s hard. It’s impossible to
keep up with the guy. You know what I’m saying? So it’s been really hard
to keep up with him. And so I would do jokes about
how some Iranians actually voted for Trump. I know some Iranians,
some immigrants in general that voted for Trump because
they want fewer taxes. They ended up with
fewer relatives. But these things happen. It happens, right? [LAUGHTER] But no, so I’ll
make fun of Trump. And then inevitably, at a
lot of these events that– I’ve been at, like, fundraisers
for Iranian charities. And inevitably, there’s
always some Iranian uncle who will come up
offended afterwards. Like, Maz, why you
making fun of Trump? Why you not making fun of
Islamic Republic of Iran and Hassan Mouhani
Houhani Souhani. And I’m like, nobody knows who
Hassan Houhani Houhani, like, whoever. Like, these people
are so upset at me. Like, why are you making fun? And they use me
as a juke– well, you should make fun
of the parking space on Westwood and Ohio,
always give me the ticket. You should make fun
of my mother-in-law. I hate her. She’s a bitch. [LAUGHTER] So I get requests. And I’m like, dude, just
if you’re so pro-Trump, do your own material
and leave me alone. But Trump has been, as
an Iranian and as well as any other immigrant, we
all know, it’s been tough. Because a lot of
immigrants– actually, when I was in the elections,
when I was doing Trump jokes, I was in Houston one time. And I was saying, Trump
is anti-immigrant. And this one guy– he
was a Lebanese guy. He raised his hand, and he goes,
he’s anti-illegal immigrant. And I was like, oh,
so you’re legal. And I go, great. I go, what’s your name? And he’s like, it’s Hussein! I was like, good
luck to you, Hussein. We’ll see what happens. And we saw. He just did the
whole thing with now, they want to cut down
on legal immigration. Right? And one of the things they said
was English, speaking English, is going to be a big part
of legal immigration. And I’m married to
an Indian woman. So I know Indians are
very good with spelling. So if English is
part of– there’s going to be a lot of
Indians coming in. At the border, they’re going
to be like, spell “ubiquitous.” I would gladly
spell ubiquitous.” [LAUGHTER] Meanwhile, Iranians, we
have a hard time with our Ws and Vs. And Westwood
becomes Vestvood. No Iranians are going to get in. So it’s been interesting. So now, and then they just
introduced travel ban 3.0. Right? Because they wanted to
say, it’s not a Muslim ban. So they added North Korea. [LAUGHTER] I mean, really? I didn’t know we had anyone
coming in from North Korea. But I guess the two guys that
were coming can no longer come. And it’s diplomats
from Venezuela. So OK, it’s not a Muslim ban. OK, sure. I actually was so upset with
the whole Muslim ban thing that I actually
went to a protest. I do this in my stand-up. But it was true. I actually went to LAX. Not this– isn’t this room
called LAX, by the way? AUDIENCE: Yes. MAZ JOBRANI: Very confusing,
because my manager said, the talk is in LAX. So I was like, that’s a
weird place to do a talk. [LAUGHTER] I was like, Google
has that much money? They bought LAX? Yeah, it’s in Terminal 4. And we got here, and I was
like, the room is called LAX. Thank you for the confusion. But yeah, I went to
LAX for the protest. Did any of you guys go to
the protest that was in– I think it was
February or March. Right? You were there, right? It was great. And I got there. And I’m marching. And I’m feeling good. And I happened to be
at the woman’s protest the week before. I accidentally ended up
at the women’s protest. I supported it. But it was that my
daughter had a birthday. She’s six years old. Her birthday was near
the women’s protest. So we went. And we got there early. And I was there with
my daughter and my son. He’s nine. And we said, hey, let’s
go to the women’s protest so you guys can see
what’s going on. People are marching
and protesting, and this is what
America’s about. And it was actually
kind of interesting, because as we were walking
toward the women’s protest– we had an hour
before the birthday, so we walked towards there. And I asked my son,
the nine-year-old. I said, do you know why so
many people are protesting? And he goes, yeah, I
know, because women are upset because Trump
called women a chick. Yeah, like chicks. Because my wife hates it
when somebody else calls women chicks. And I was like, well, kind of. He said grab them by the–
we’ll talk about it later, but– So we went, and we
did that protest. And the next week,
I went to LAX. And I’m marching,
and I felt good. And this guy came up to me. He’s like, bro, this is amazing. You know, this is
the most diverse city I’ve ever seen in Los Angeles. And I was like, bro, that’s
because we are at the airport. [LAUGHTER] People are literally flying
in from around the world as we speak. He’s like, yeah,
but there’s Asians. I go, that’s because
AirAsia just landed. You think all these people show
up at a protest with luggage? One Korean guy, he was just
trying to cross the street. He ended up in the protest. He’s like, Trump
must go, but so must I. He was trying to
get out of the airport. And then I actually realized
something at the airport. I realized that white people
born in America protests differently than people
of color and other people not born in America. Because we were all marching,
and everything was going great. We’re all marching, and
everything is feeling great. And then the riot
police came out. And I was like, oh, snap. I’m just going to go protest
over here for a second. But the white
dudes did not care. They just kept– out
of my way, copper. Here I come. It’s my right to protest. Here I come. It’s my Third Amendment
right, my Ninth Amendment– he knew the amendments. My 45th Amendment. I’m in the back. There’s 45 amendments? I actually saw a white
guy with his finger in the face of the riot
police, going like this. And the riot cop was
ready to grab his baton. And I’m in the back. I’m like, calm down, white guy. You’re going to get
us all in trouble. The Mexican guy next
to me was like, oh, now’s a good time to
go to the bathroom. But it keeps coming. It keeps coming. And my story, you know,
I think one of the things that a lot of times
when I do these talks, I talk about just– it’s an immigrant story. I think a lot of us have it. And unfortunately,
a lot of people that have never met
an immigrant think that we’re out to get them. But we aren’t. We came to America
because we love America. I came to America late 1978. The Revolution was happening in
Iran, and we came to America. And I was six years
old at the time. And my father was a
successful businessman. So he was on
business in New York. He was staying at the
Plaza Hotel in New York. And a lot of Iranians have
a similar story, the ones that came around that time. None of us thought that a
revolution was going to happen. So my father just sent
for my mom to bring me and my sister to New York for
our winter break for two weeks. And I always say, we
came for two weeks. We packed for two weeks,
and we stayed for 40 years. So it was pretty crazy. And we were staying at the
Plaza Hotel in a suite. And it was right
across the street from FAO Schwartz, which was the
biggest toy store in the world. And I remember as a
six-year-old, I was like, wow, this revolution is
really working out for me. You know? I’m going to a toy store. You know? And it was interesting. You don’t think about it. I’ve just started to
really reflect upon it. But it’s interesting for–
as a kid, it was interesting. But also, you don’t realize the
devastation that that causes. Because it’s a big loss
to just leave your country and come to America. But we came. And then we ended
up leaving New York and settling in
Northern California. And again, at the time– I know that a lot
of Iranians have been coming over more recently. And unfortunately, with
all this travel ban stuff, I think that they’re trying
to slow it down some. But we’ll see what happens. But most of the Iranians
I meet are good people. Most of the immigrants
I meet are good people. And we ended up in Northern
California, where, at the time, in the late ’70s,
early ’80s, there weren’t that many Iranians. There was, like, a
handful of Iranians. And again, I don’t know how
it is for you as an Indian. But back then, for an
Iranian in Marin County that was mostly white, like, if
you ran into an Iranian, it was an event. It really was. So you’d show up– like, I went
a couple of times to a deli. And the guy– like
I’d order, and I could recognize the accent. So I’d be like, yeah,
I’ll have a sandwich. And the guy would
be like, would you like anything else
with the sandwich? And then after a while,
in Persian, I’d be like, are you Iranian? And he’d go, yeah, are you? I would say, yeah! And like, we’d hug it out. And they’d always
throw in, like, a free cookie or something. And I had an American
friend, this guy, Mark, who would come with
me a couple of times. And he’s like, dude, you keep
getting free stuff everywhere we go. And I’m like, well, it’s just– it’s part of the culture. So it was interesting,
because I grew up over there and then ended up moving
down to LA after college. And Los Angeles is
the biggest population of Iranians outside of Iran. So in LA, people are
used to seeing Iranians. And I got a job in Westwood. I remember one of the first
times I saw an Iranian, I was so excited. I was like, are you Iranian? And the was like, yeah. So is everybody else. I was like, why are
you talking like that? But yeah. The other thing that
was interesting was– and I think this has all been– for me, it’s been an
exercise in identity. Because I grew up around– like I said, it was a very
white, affluent county, Marin County. And my father was this
larger-than-life Iranian man. So we show up. And the rich people
in Marin drive around in Saabs and Volvos, very
subtle with their wealth. Here comes my dad. He buys a Rolls-Royce, like
around the hostage time, like, hostage crisis. And I’m like, Dad,
what are you doing? And he’s like, I
wanted the Rolls-Royce. And I’m like, you’re
going get my ass kicked. And we ended up– it was right around then. I was in the fourth grade when
the hostage crisis happened. And this is again,
another reason why I was just talking to
Masu here outside about– I think one of the reasons why I
have such an emotional reaction to Trump is because
I see him as a bully. And I when I was in
the fourth grade, that’s when the hostage
crisis happened. And we would get bullied. And I was in the fourth grade. And there was a sixth
grader back then. And back then, they used to
call you a fucking Iranian. That was the thing. And so we would get bullied. And so I feel like that’s my
reaction now to these bullies. Because now what happens
is when somebody commits an act of terrorism, they go
after all Muslims, Iranians, and Arabs. And even Indians, Indian
Sikhs, get a lot of it. So to me, it blows my
mind that these kids that were picking on us
when we were kids couldn’t differentiate
that we had left Iran to get away from the
people who took the hostages. And yet, they were
beating us up. So that was Marin
County back then. And then again, it becomes
this identity thing. And now, a lot of you guys,
obviously, that work here, you’re engineers. And you’re Iranian or immigrant
parents are proud of you because you became an engineer. And that’s what
my parents wanted. They wanted, like,
lawyer, doctor, engineer. And I became a comedian. Because they didn’t know. They didn’t know that. They didn’t know
that was an option. And so I was around, I’d
say, 10 or 11 years old. Eddie Murphy was big. And I became a big
fan of Eddie Murphy’s. And then at 12, I
did a play in school. It was a musical. And I did it. And as soon as I got
on stage, I felt alive. I loved being on stage. And we would do our
plays for the school. And again, here comes
my immigrant family– immigrant families, by the
way, are an interesting thing. I realized this recently. Because I have my young kids. I go to their school
events all the time. I was at a fundraiser recently. I realized, my parents never
came to any of my fundraisers. And then I realized,
I didn’t want them to come to my fundraisers. Because when you have
immigrant parents, when they come to your
fundraiser, they out you. Because they walk in like,
hello, we are immigrants! You know? You’re like, Dad, shut up! You know? They thought I was one of them. In Iran, we also
had fundraisers. Dad, nobody likes Iran! This was 40 years ago. Still, nobody likes Iran. Anyway– We need
a new ad campaign. Right? Iran, it’s better. [LAUGHTER] But I realized, like I said,
that it was always the identity thing, trying to
Americanize, but having this immigrant family. So I’d do these plays. And again, Marin County,
and everyone else’s parents would show up at
the play, dressed maybe khaki pants and
a button-up shirt, looking pretty nice. Here come the
Iranians, fur coats like they’re at the
Metropolitan Opera or something. Fur coats, cravat,
the tie, they’re all– with Rolls-Royce. I’m like, oh, my god. Like, please, guys, can’t
you just, like, come normal? And here’s the thing though. I actually was pretty
good at acting. And then the director would
tell them afterwards– I remember a few
times, after the show– I played Little Abner
in eighth grade. And for those of you who don’t
know who Little Abner is, he’s like a country boy. Little Abner talks like this. And so I was this Iranian
guy playing a Little Abner. And I was like,
this is pretty cool. You can be anything,
until I came to Hollywood and played terrorist parts. But that’s– [LAUGHTER] That’s coming. No, but the thing
with the plays, we would finish the plays. And I’d be backstage. And I was the lead. And the director– I remember the director a couple
of times telling my parents, yeah, your son is good at this. He could do this for a career. And my immigrant parents
might– oh, thank you very much. Thank you. OK, OK. We get in the car. And my dad would be like,
that bitch is crazy. You’re going to be a lawyer,
or a doctor, or engineer maybe. They really were stuck on that. And I think it’s because
they don’t really know that this could be a career. And also, I’ve tried to
encourage a lot of immigrants to kind of lay off
their kids and let them find what they love to do. Like, when I would
tell my mom, this is what I love
doing, she’d be like, well, I would love to do
a lot of other things too, but you’ve got to pay the bills. So be a lawyer. And so I actually
went to UC Berkeley. I studied Poli Sci. And I thought I’d be a lawyer. And then my junior
year in college, I went to Italy to study abroad. And while I was there,
there was this professor. And I loved what he was doing. His name was Enso
Pacci, Vincenzo Pacci. And And he had the
goatee and the blazer with the elbow patch. And he actually
had a gold watch. You know the pocket watches? And he would rip it out before– he’d pull it out
before the class. And he’d wait for
the time to start. And then he’d close it, and
be like, allora, let’s start. And I was like,
wow, this is cool. So I was like, that’s
what I want to do. So I came back to the US. And I told my mom, hey, I’m
going to be a professor. And my mom was freaking out. She was like, there’s
no work for professors. You need to be a lawyer. And I was like, Mom, how do you
know about the professor job market? You don’t know about academia. And she was just
really nervous for me. And then I dropped out
of the PhD program. I got into a PhD
program at UCLA. I dropped out of that. And then my mom was like– because I dropped out
to pursue acting again. And she goes, you did
not become a lawyer. You did not become a professor. She goes, at least
become a mechanic. I go, how’d you go from– [LAUGHTER] How’d you go from
lawyer to mechanic? And she goes, people
need a mechanic. Nobody needs an actor. And I was like, you know what? That’s pretty wise. You’re right. And I realized– again,
listen, all of us can reflect on our
relationship with our parents or where we are in our lives. And looking back, you find
out why you do what you do. So my mom, I think, was
nervous about my future because she’d come from a
world where her world was turned upside down. The Revolution turned her
world upside down when she was already a grown-up. And so in her mind, a revolution
might happen in America. And when it does, if
you’re a mechanic, you can go to another country
and work as a mechanic. But if you’re an actor,
what are you going to do? Because we had a lot of
Iranian family friends who were successful military
people or whatever, and they were working at gas
stations in America. Like the movie “House
of Sand and Fog.” It was like that. So that’s what
she wanted for me. So anyway, I dropped out. And again, I still
was trying to be a good Iranian or immigrant son. I got a job in an office. I started working in
an advertising agency. And I was working the
ad agency and also doing theater on the side. And I was in my mid-twenties. And that’s when I realized– I was talking to this older
gentleman at the ad agency. And he said, listen– I told him that I
loved doing acting. And he’d seen me do something. And he goes, have
you ever thought about doing this professionally? And I said, you know what? Throughout my life, I wanted
to do it professionally. But my parents kept pushing
me in another direction. I said, you know,
when I’m in my 30s, I’m going to save up some
money and maybe pursue acting. And he goes, listen,
I’m in my 60s right now. There were some things I wanted
to do when I was in my 20s, and I never got
around to doing it. So if you really want to
do it, you should do it. And it was a light bulb moment. And I went for it. So I started getting into
acting and stand-up classes. That was almost 20 years ago. And then I got into
Hollywood thinking, hey, I played Little Abner. And also, in high
school, I played Batman. So I’m sure– we did
a play, a musical. It was fun. Anyway, It was a
fun little thing. I got to be Batman. So I was like,
hey, this is cool. As an actor, I get
to be anything. And I came. I started going on auditions. And the first audition was
just a regular security guard job, a part for a security guy. And then the second audition
was for a Chuck Norris thing. And then ended up a
little while later, I didn’t end up doing though doing
the Chuck Norris thing then. But then a little while
later, I ended up getting cast to be in a Chuck
Norris movie of the week where I played an Afghan
terrorist who was going to blow up a building in America. And I was really
debating even back then. I still had my day job. But I was looking
for a job that would help me get out of my day job. And this would have helped
me just financially. And even back then, I
was a little divided. I was like, do I
really want to do this? And this was 2001,
before September 11th. And I told myself,
you know what? I will do the part. But what I’m going to do is I’m
going to show through my acting why this guy is doing
what he’s doing. Like, I was going to humanize
the terrorist in a Chuck Norris movie somehow. [LAUGHTER] I was such an
idiot, man, really. Because I showed up– because it was being
filmed in Dallas. And I went down to Dallas. I went to the wardrobe fitting. And they go, here’s your shirt. Here’s your pants. Here’s your turban. And I go, oh. I go, I’ve been
studying this part. And you know, Afghans in
America don’t wear turbans. I go, Indian Sikhs wear turbans. We should get this right. And the lady goes,
well, the producers want you to wear the turban. I go, yeah, I know. But you tell the producers this
actor has done his research. We should get it right. And then the next
day, I showed up. And there was the
pants, the shirt, and what looked like a scarf. And I was like, yeah,
I’ll gladly wear a scarf. And they were like,
no, that’s the turban. You just got to roll it back up. So I ended up wearing
the stupid turban. I feel like the biggest idiot. And I was on set, like, talking
to anybody that would listen. Because Chuck Norris’s
son was the director. And his brother was
the executive producer. So I went to the
son, who was younger. And I go, listen, dude, I
shouldn’t be wearing a turban. And he’s like, bro, I don’t want
you to wear a turban either. But my uncle, who is more
old school, wants the turban. Because I think to
the uncle, the turban meant– like, the
viewers can watch and be like, oh, that’s the bad guy. So I played in that. And I felt really bad. I felt horrible
coming out of it. I was like, I don’t ever
want to do this again. I told my agent, I don’t want
to play these parts again. And then the TV
show “24” called. And they said, it’s
a terrorist part. I said, no, thank you. And they go, but he
changes his mind halfway through the mission. I go, oh, the ambivalent
terrorist, that’s interesting. [LAUGHTER] So I did that. And they killed me
in that as well. I kept dying, obviously. My mom was like, why
do you keep dying? I was like, that’s
how they wrote it. Well, why don’t you
kill them one time? [LAUGHTER] So that was the last
terrorist part I played. And I said, no more
terrorist parts. And then meanwhile,
I was doing stand-up. Stand-up is great
because you get to express yourself
and present yourself as who you are and your
ideas and your opinions. And so I was doing stand-up. And one thing happened that was
interesting to me that was– The Comedy Store on
Sunset is like a mecca of stand-up comedy. And it’s a place
where all the biggest names, from Jay
Leno to Jim Carrey to Eddie Murphy to
Richard Pryor, Letterman, all those guys went
to The Comedy Store. And one of your
goals as a comedian is to become a regular
at The Comedy Store. And what that means
is you do your act in front of the
owner, Mitzi Shore, who’s Pauly Shore’s mother. She would sit in the
back on a Sunday night, and she would watch
you do three minutes. They’d have an audience there. But you’d be up
there at an open mic. You’d do your three minutes. If she liked you, she’d
say, come back next week and do six minutes. If she liked you, come back
next week and do 10 minutes. So you just got to build it up. And so I kept going
further and further. This was in 2000, or ’99 maybe. I forget exactly. But she watched me, watched me. Now, I’m doing my 10 minutes. And she would sit in
the back of the room. If any of you guys
have been there, it’s an interesting room. Because there’s these
chairs in the back right next to the exit. And she’d sit right
next to the exit. You had to pass her. And in passing her,
your whole hope was that she would
reach out and grab you. Because if she did, that meant
she was about to tell you, you’re a regular. And what a regular
means is now– it’s like the mafia. You’ve been made. You’re a made man. So regular means you
get to come and perform at the club on a regular basis. And you’re in. This is the mecca of comedy. And you’re now a part of it. But if she doesn’t
grab your hand and she lets you
walk past her right through the exit, that
means you got to show up– you know, go for six
months to a year. Work on your act. Come back. So I did my three. I did my six. I did my 10. And I finished. And at the time,
I would do jokes about being Iranian in
America and all that. And at the time, she did not
have any other Middle Eastern comedians at the club. There really wasn’t
that many of us. There was, like, two other guys. So I finished my set. And I’m walking. And I’m walking
towards the door. And I’m like, please, grab me. And suddenly, I feel
her hand grab my arm. And I’m like, oh, my god. And all these thoughts
go through your mind, like I’m going to be a regular. This is great! And in your mind, you’re like,
I’m going to get a TV show. I’m going to get
an Academy Award. This is amazing. And she grabs my hand. And she pulls me down. And now, meanwhile– you
know, she’s kind of quiet. She was getting older as
well, but she’s quiet anyway. And someone else was
already performing on stage. So she pulls me in. She goes, you’re very funny . And that’s how she talked. You’re very funny. And I go, thank you, Mitzi. She goes, I’m going
to make you a regular. I go, thank you, Mitzi. And then she goes,
have you ever thought about wearing the outfit? And I go, uh, what outfit? She goes, you know,
the hat and the gown? I was like, the
hat and the gown? She goes, yeah. And I realized she
was asking me to wear a turban and a dishdasha
onstage, like as a character. And I was like, uh, sure, yeah. And because she’s older,
I thought, you know what? I’ll just say yes for now. And by the time they get me
my first gig, she’ll forget. Right? So I walk down past her, and
I’m like, what did I just do? I just said yes. But I’m not going to wear
the– what am I talking about? So I was like, you know what? They’ll forget. And then the next day,
the assistant that works for her called me up. She goes, hey, congratulations. I heard you’re a regular. I go, yeah! As she goes, and I heard you’re
going to wear the outfit. I was like, ah! [LAUGHTER] So now, they want me to dress
up as a mullah on stage. And I was like, how
do I get out of this? And I was trying to find
a way to get out of it. And I was talking to relatives. I was like, I can’t dress
as a mullah on stage. And back then, my father
had moved back to Iran for business reasons. And so he was there. And there had also been
this one Iranian guy who used to impersonate the
mullahs on Iranian television and make fun of them. And so I guess he’d been
at a rally in Westwood where he was doing
the mullah character. And some supporters of the
Islamic Republic of Iran had shown up and thrown
rocks at him and blinded him. So I’d heard about it. I didn’t know who the guy was. I didn’t know if
it was real or not. So I called up the club. I go, hey. I’m excited about the
turban and the thing. But let me just tell
you before I do it, there was a guy who did it. And they showed up,
and they threw a rock. And they blinded him. And my dad’s in Iran,
so if word gets back, they could go after him. And they might come
after the club. [LAUGHTER] Yeah, yeah. Thinking. I swear to god. I’m not kidding. The booker, who was
Mitzi’s assistant, she goes, oh, let
me call you back. I swear, five
minutes later, Maz, just wear something comfortable. You’ll be fine. Don’t worry about the turban. So I got away from wearing
the turban, and thank god. Because the thing about Mitzi,
this is the thing about Mitzi. She really was someone who
everyone’s got stories about. Like, if you talk
to any comedian, they’ll tell you their
experiences with Mitzi. And Mitzi was really a
visionary in many ways. Like from what I’ve heard,
she helped Roseanne Barr get her whole persona
together and get the clothing and all that. And a lot of comedians
found their character there. So Mitzi had had
successes where she was like, you should do this. And they did it, and it worked. But she also had some
failures, in terms of like, there was a guy. His name was Jackie Bananas. And there’s a picture
of him at The Comedy– If you to The Comedy Store,
everyone’s headshots are there. And there’s a guy
named Jackie Bananas. And it’s a face
in a banana suit. And I was asking one
of the comedians. I go, who’s that guy? And they go, oh, that guy. They go, this poor guy. He used to do an act. And at one point in the act, he
used to put on the banana suit. And one night, Mitzi
was there seeing it. And she was like, you
should be Jackie Bananas. And the poor guy had to be a
banana the rest of his life. And he disappeared. Nobody wants to see a banana. So thank god I didn’t
listen to Mitzi. But also, Mitzi then,
to give her credit, she came around
in the year 2000. And she’s Jewish. She was watching a lot of news. And there was the latest
uprising with the Palestinians in Israel. And she felt like
there was going to be a need for a
positive voice for Middle Easterners in America
in the very near future. This was before September 11th. So she wanted to do a
Middle Eastern comedy night. And even though you’re a
regular at the club, which means you perform
throughout the week, she used to do a show, like the
Black Night, and Asian Night, and Latino Night, and whatever. So she wanted to do
Middle Eastern Night. So she got the few
Middle Easterners that were doing comedy at the time– me, this guy named Ahmed Ahmed,
who was Egyptian-American, Aron Kader who’s
Palestinian-American, and anyone else who kind
of seemed Middle Eastern. There was an Indian guy, who
really wasn’t Middle Eastern. But he was there. And it wasn’t Russell Peters. There was this other guy. There was a guy who
was half Armenian. There was a girl who
did a belly dance, but she was a white girl. It was weird. It was this weird thing. And she called it
the Arabian Nights. And what was interesting
was, we would do our shows. And then Iranians would come. And Iranians are really
proud of being Iranian. And so if someone
says, are you Arab? They go, no, I’m Iranian. I’m Persian! And people get really offended. I’m like, calm down. You know? But Iranians would come
up after the shows. Maz, really enjoyed the show. But you know, we are not Arab. I was like, I know. It’s called Arabian
Nights because that’s what she named it. So relax. And it wasn’t until 2005 when
me and a couple of the guys broke off and we called it
the Axis of Evil Comedy Tour to make fun of
what Bush had named Iran and those other countries–
and then we toured with that. And then, in all honesty, it was
actually YouTube that, I think, helped all of us, really, at
the time become better known, because I used to be
on these email lists. It was before Facebook
was really out. And I would get my
own clip, the meow clip that he was
talking about, where I talk about Persians like
to say, we’re Persian, like they cat, meow. That kept circulating. And I was on these
email lists going, hey, look at this Iranian comedian,
Iranian-American comedian. And so I kept getting it. I was like, oh, wow, people
are getting to know me. And so that was in 2007. And then been doing it
since, and put out a bunch of my own comedy specials. And the latest one is
called “Immigrant.” And it’s on Netflix. And I do a lot of
Trump material. He just keeps talking. God, I mean, the guy won’t stop. I mean, he offended the NFL. I mean, do you understand that? I never thought he could offend
NFL owners, who donated money to him. I used to say, I
go, listen, if you think he’s not going to offend
you, he’s going to offend you. And he finds a way. He’s amazing. Remember the chocolate cake. Remember he was talking about
the bombs he dropped on Syria? And then he decided to
talk about his dessert? You guys see that? It’s crazy. For those of you
who don’t know it, he was talking about the bombs
that he dropped on Syria when the– first of all, there
was the video that came out of the attack they did that
was the chemical weapon attack. And it was a horrible
video that was out. And Trump came out
and goes, oh, I never knew that was what
was happening there. And I’m like, you’re
the president. No one told you about Syria? And then he decides
to bomb Syria. But then he’s being interviewed
on some political show. And he goes, yeah, we
were dropping the bomb. And before we bombed Syria,
we had this chocolate cake. It was an amazing
chocolate cake. And I was watching. I go, did his brain
tell his mouth– like, was there a
message that was like, tell her about the cake? She’s going to love
hearing about the cake? I got kids. If they talked
about chocolate cake in the middle of a serious
conversation, I’d smack them. Shut up! But that’s where we are, people. So yeah, man. So that’s kind of
my life right now. And somebody was just asking
me about the representation of Middle Easterners and Muslims
and Arabs and stuff in media. And I think we’ve
made some progress. I think you’ve got shows like
Aziz Ansari’s “Master of None.” You’ve got Gaza guys like
Kumail Nanjiani and Hasan Minhaj and Mindy Kaling and all these. I think that because
more and more– Like I said, when
immigrants come, they don’t know it’s an option. But I think the next generation
realizes it’s an option. And so we’re starting
to show up and hopefully show us in a different light. I’m currently on a show where
I play an Iraqi businessman on a show called
“Superior Donuts.” It’s a CBS show. And I still have an accent. Some people are like,
why do you still have an accent on this show? And I’m like, well,
eventually, I’ll do a character
without an accent. But I actually think
it’s important. Because the character
is a conserv– he’s one of the guys who
would vote for Trump. But what’s interesting is
every week that the show plays, on Twitter, I get
a lot of people going like– they
like the character because he gets to say a
lot of inappropriate stuff, and he’s got an accent. And I think it’s
good for people to be laughing at a character
that has the accent. Because I think it also
humanizes the character. Because they go, oh,
he makes me laugh. So we’re in an
interesting era right now. But yeah, we’re going
to keep pushing forward. And hopefully, we’ll get there. And that’s it. That’s the talk. [APPLAUSE] And I told Hadi, we
got a few minutes left, that we could ask
some questions. You have a couple of questions. Is that right? SPEAKER: We do. Thanks a lot for the show. Can we hear it one more
time for Maz Jobrani? [APPLAUSE] MAZ JOBRANI: There you go. Are those the questions? SPEAKER: Yeah, we
have a system of where people post online questions. But before that, I
have a question myself, listening to your show. MAZ JOBRANI: Yes. SPEAKER: Do I look like
mullah in this t-shirt? MAZ JOBRANI: You don’t
look like a mullah. You should have worn the
outfit and the turban. SPEAKER: Oh, we gave you
a free t-shirt to wear. And then you said no. MAZ JOBRANI: You know what? Iranian Googler, I figured
I want to represent in a nice expensive shirt. You know what I’m saying? SPEAKER: Yeah. You don’t have to. MAZ JOBRANI: You want
me to wear the shirt? Give me the shirt. I’ll wear your shirt. Take it off. If you want me to wear
the shirt that badly, take off your shirt. SPEAKER: Really, you wear that? MAZ JOBRANI: Take
off your shirt. [CROWD TITTERS] Take off the shirt! You have a shirt
underneath the shirt! [APPLAUSE] There we go. Hadi, this smells
like [PERSIAN].. [LAUGHTER] That’s a Persian rice. This smells like cologne. We love cologne. Look at this, Iranian . Googlers I’m telling
you, man, Googoosh. SPEAKER: I never thought I
would be on my underwear. MAZ JOBRANI: You look Italian. SPEAKER: Dude. MAZ JOBRANI: You look Italian. [LAUGHS] If we throw a little
pasta sauce on that, hey! It’s Hadi. Ciao! Hey, Hadi! SPEAKER: All right,
going forward. MAZ JOBRANI: What’s
your last name? SPEAKER: Zade. MAZ JOBRANI: Hadi Zade. SPEAKER: Yeah. MAZ JOBRANI: You could
do Hadi Zade, hey, ciao! I’m telling you, bro. You want me to go to there? SPEAKER: Yeah, let’s do it. You want to read it? MAZ JOBRANI: Sure. “How do you deal
with the large number of Trump-loving conservative
Iranians of Los Angeles?” I ignore them. “The idea that they
exist just blows my mind. And I can’t do anything
besides ignore them– SPEAKER: There you go. MAZ JOBRANI: –“and/or get in
giant fights on Facebook about how he/the travel ban are racist
towards them and their people.” Well, you know, what’s
interesting is, first of all, arguing on Facebook is futile. Don’t do it. It’s why? Why are you arguing on Facebook? You don’t know who
the other guy is and how much time
he has on his hands? And you’re not going
to convince him. I stopped arguing
a long time ago. So my first advice would
be, don’t argue on Facebook. Give your opinion or
whatever, put it out there. Let it Go You know how much– I’ve had it before. As a comedian, I’ll
post something. And this is one of my
biggest pet peeves. Someone will come back, if
I post a serious thing– stick to comedy, bro. Stick to trying
to be funny, dude. And I want to be like,
stick to whatever unemployment thing you’ve
got going on right now, bro. [LAUGHTER] Because the truth is,
comedians, we are human beings. We have points of view. So I should be able to
express my point of view. And if you don’t agree
with me, that’s fine. But sometimes when I get
that, like someone tries to insult me on social media,
I used to be like, oh, my god. I’ve got to come back
with a good comeback. What if I come back with– OK, that’s what I’m gonna– and
meanwhile, my wife’s like, hey, come to dinner. I’ll be right there, man. I’m like– upsetting me. And my kids, I love you, Daddy. Shut up! Give me a comeback! It It took over my day. And then I was like,
what am I doing? And then really, a lot of times,
if you click the person’s name, they got, like, one follower. And you’re like,
who is this person? And why am I arguing with them? So yeah, right off the
bat, I ignore these people that argue with me. And then secondly, the
thing about Iranians that are conservative, I
think a lot of immigrants, a lot of people– what this
election made me realize is there’s more
conservative-minded people in the world than
progressive-minded people. So one of the things
I heard on NPR, was a Colombian guy, who
was Colombian immigrant, and with an accent. He was talking about
how he voted for Trump. And he said, I voted for Trump
because I am anti-abortion, I am pro-marriage being
between a man and a woman. You know, all the conservative
things that he supported, he was able to hold his nose and
be like, I’m voting for Trump. Because if remember,
in the debate, Trump was next to Hillary. He goes, if you
vote for her, she’s going to be pulling babies
out in the ninth month, just pulling babies out. And Hillary was
like, no, I’m not. But people that are supportive
of that were like, well, then, we got to vote for him. So I think there’s a lot of
people that are conservative. A lot of the Iranians
that support Trump– I know there’s Iranian Jewish
people that support Trump because they’re pro-Israel. I know that there’s other
Iranians who support Trump because they feel that Trump
will get rid of this government somehow. Because a lot of Iranians
are against this government. I personally don’t support
the Islamic Republic of Iran. I’m opposed to the
government and the lack of freedoms and the
human rights violations. By the way, I just said that. I guess I won’t be performing
in Iran anytime soon. But I’m against it. But I also don’t think that
we should go to war with Iran. But a lot of supporters
of Trump feel that, oh, he’s going to just
get rid of those guys. Because if you go to war
with Iran, it’ll be messy. A lot of innocent
Iranians will die. So that’s my
response to that one. “How can we win over the older
generation, second generation Iranians in LA and Orange County
to vote for representatives in 2018 who support us,
are against the travel ban, against the wall, et cetera? The representative of Orange
County is very pro-Trump. But an Iranian-American
is running next time. Can you help?” Yeah, actually, I know
that guy that’s running– Kia. Is it Hamadanchy? Kia, I forget his
last name right now. Yeah, Hamadanchy. He’s a young guy. He’s running on the platform
of against the travel ban. Yeah, Orange County is
also very conservative. I mean, I guess, the main thing
too is immigrants in general– I don’t know how the
Indian community is. But I know that
a lot of Iranians don’t get too involved
with politics because we had a bad experience. So they’ll be like,
don’t register. They’re going to come get you. And we’re like no, man. You got to get involved. So it’s just about getting– you’ve got to convince
people that they should get politically involved. Otherwise, we end
up– if you really don’t like what’s going
on, then get involved. So that’s really the hope. “Do you have writers for
stand-ups, or it’s only you?” Hadi actually helps me
write a lot of my jokes. [LAUGHTER] The t-shirt bit was
rehearsed earlier. I think that was
a pretty good one. I think we got something. No, as a stand-up comedian,
I write all my stuff. A lot of people also will
come see you do stand-up. And then they’ll see
you six months later, three months later, and you have
some jokes that you did before. And, why don’t you
have new stuff? Because they’re used to
seeing the late night show hosts do new
material every night. But those guys have
a team of writers. And they’ve got visuals
and all that stuff. As a stand-up
comedian, even the guys that are the most prolific,
a guy like Louis CK, it takes you like a
year or so, at least, a year to two years, to
write a whole new hour. You put that hour out. And then you work
on the next hour. So yeah, I write
all my own stuff. Once in a while, another
comedian might be at my show. And we do this,
all of us together. If I might be watching
another comedian, and I might go up
and go, hey, you know that bit you do about
the whatever whatever? You should tag it with this. And we give each
other these ideas. So that’s that. “Do you have thoughts
on Asif’s sunset show?” You know, so I’m not a big
fan of reality television, whether it’s “Shahs of
Sunset” or Kardashians, or any of that stuff. It’s like fingernails
on a chalkboard to me. But when “Shahs of Sunset” came
out, I actually did defend it. Because again, a
lot of Iranians– and I don’t know how the other
immigrant communities are. But we like to complain. But we don’t ever do
anything proactive. It’s like. If you’re going to complain. Then do something. So this came out. And they are like,
this not right. They are showing– we
are lawyers and doctors. They should do a show
about lawyers and doctors. Who’s going to watch that? “LA Law,” I mean, whatever. You know what I’m saying. Not “LA Law,” “Law and Order.” No, but who’s going
to watch a show– Like, people would
be like, you should do a show about the
Iranian history, you know, history of Iran,
and the Persepolis. I’m like, you know what? OK, you make it and
make an entertaining. And maybe somebody
will watch it. But this, to me, was
actually interesting. Because I was saying, like,
before “Shahs of Sunset,” we were known as terrorists. But in “Shahs of Sunset,”
they were partying and getting drunk. So I was like, that’s a
step in the right direction. [LAUGHTER] You know what I’m saying? Seriously. At least, if someone in middle
America sees as, they’re like, they like to get
drunk just like us! You know? [LAUGHTER] This is great! So I thought it was progress. Yeah, but I don’t watch it. Any other questions? SPEAKER: You know
what I was thinking? MAZ JOBRANI: Yes. SPEAKER: You will
leave here soon, but I have to work with
them on a daily basis. So– MAZ JOBRANI: That’s
all right, man. You look good, baby. SPEAKER: Yeah, thanks. Do we have any live
questions from our audience? MAZ JOBRANI: Any live
questions, questions from the live audience? You heard it all. You want to go back to the
cafeteria, eat some more? Does that thing go all day? What time does the
cafeteria close? AUDIENCE: They’re
closed already. MAZ JOBRANI: 1:30 PM. Oh, it’s closed now. And dinner? Afternoon snacks? AUDIENCE: 6:00. MAZ JOBRANI: 6:00. Oh, see? I thought it was open all day. OK, so you’re not
as spoiled as– OK. All right. But you have the nap room now. That’s open all day, massage. So what happens if you’re here
at, like, 2:00 in the morning? I have questions. You don’t have questions? I’ve got questions for you. [LAUGHTER] What happens if you’re
here at 2:00 in the morning and you want to eat? Is there– AUDIENCE: There’s a snack room. MAZ JOBRANI: Snack room. OK, but there’s not a guy
in the restaurant going, like, oh, Jesus,
Hadi’s back again. AUDIENCE: No. MAZ JOBRANI: No. OK, all right, OK. Well, thank you
guys for having me. No questions? Nothing? OK, oh, one question. One question. AUDIENCE: Speaking about Trump,
how do you handle Trump jokes? MAZ JOBRANI: He’s got the– AUDIENCE: Sorry, speaking
about Trump, in your stand-up, how do you handle Trump jokes? Because he’s so polarizing. I mean, obviously, yeah,
he’s an easy target. But it can completely
divide your audience. MAZ JOBRANI: Absolutely. Yeah, I’ve actually had people
that get upset, like I said. People get upset even online. Why are you making fun
of him, this and that. And ultimately,
listen, as a comedian or as anybody who’s creating
any kind of comedy or music or movie, whatever
you do, you really got to talk about
your point of view. This is who I am. I’m very liberal. You know, I’m pro-gay marriage. I’m pro-abortion. I’m anti-gun. I’m pro-gun control,
all that stuff. So that’s just who I am. And so if it bothers
somebody that much, then I go, listen, I’m
sorry, but that’s what it is. And Trump, a lot of times, the
jokes that I do come from– I’m not making stuff up. It’s stuff that he said. So that’s what
I’ve said as well. You know, I liked Obama. But if you did a
joke about Obama, I personally wouldn’t
be like, how dare you? If it were based in truth,
I’d be like, oh, that’s funny. So the key is, if you’re
not willing to have a sense of humor
about your guy, even though your guy is basically– you know what I’m saying? He’s very make-fun-of-able. You know what I’m saying? I mean, he’s bringing
it on himself. So if you’re not willing to–
then I’ve often said, well, then maybe you should
go see a therapist and discuss your
issues to open up about why it is that
you’re not willing– why do you love
this guy so much? You know what I’m saying? Because people have
come up to me before and said, like,
you know, I think you offended a few people. I go, well, I think those
people should really loosen up a little bit. It’s a comedy show. And some people go,
well, I don’t want to– you shouldn’t mix
comedy with politics. My favorite comedy
mixes politics. So if they’re upset,
then I go, OK, there’s nothing I can do for you. But that’s my point of view. You know what I’m saying? Oh, he has a question. AUDIENCE: Talking
about Trump again, you said the last 40
years haven’t really changed the impression
about Iranians too much. It’s still similar. MAZ JOBRANI: Yeah. AUDIENCE: With Trump, I
think there’s definitely something really, really adverse
that has probably not been seen in the last 40 years. Do you think the next 40
will be different or worse? MAZ JOBRANI: Gosh, I don’t know. My only hope I have– he was saying about a guy
said how the image of Iranians hasn’t changed much since
I was a five-year-old, and now I’m 45. My only hope is– I’m Iranian. My wife is Indian. Our kids are mixed. Our neighbor’s husband is black. The wife is white. Their kids are mixed. And the more mixed I see,
the more of that stuff I see, it gives me some hope. Because I go, oh, we’re starting
to understand each other. And I even say it. The people that are so afraid
of Muslims coming and bringing Sharia law, I go, have
you ever met a Muslim? Have you ever gone to a
Lebanese or Persian restaurant? Go eat at one of the
restaurants and see how nice these people
are, and how they’re just trying to live their lives. And I guarantee you that it
would help win people over. But I think a lot of people
believe in that fear. When I watched the Republican
National Convention, it was, like, just
fear mongering. And even now, it’s like a lot
of people that have anti-Islamic ideas– I’m not even that religious. But a lot of people that
have anti-Muslim ideas are people that
think that Muslims are going to bring Sharia
law and somehow implement it, and then take over. I don’t even know
how this would work. I have no idea how one
would implement this thing. But there’s people
that are freaked out. So I’m hoping that there’s
more mixing, you know, and people realizing
we’re just all in it with the same
problems and issues. Yes. AUDIENCE: Why do you think there
aren’t more Iranian comedians? MAZ JOBRANI: There are
more Iranian comedians. They’re all in prison in Iran. And– [LAUGHTER] No, I’ll tell you. Actually, there are now. Again, it goes back to
the generational thing. I think that I was
one of the first ones because I just
happened to be older. I was in America. So there was me over here. There’s Omid Djalili,
who started in England. And now there’s a good number. There’s Max Amini. There’s Amir K, Tehran, K-von. A lot of them have one name. There is a guy named
Peter the Persian. There’s a handful of us. It’s a generational
thing, I think. So I think the
more we integrate, the more we’re going to have
people doing comedy, and also realizing that we can,
and our parents realizing. Now, contrary to what used
to happen, when I was first starting out, people,
even my parents’ friends, would be like, why
are you doing this? It’s embarrassing. You should be a
banker, a doctor. But now, I have people
come up– listen, Max, my son, very funny guy. You should put him on stage. [LAUGHTER] He’s five years old, man. Take it easy. Who else? Somebody else? Yes. AUDIENCE: So actually, I
have a related question. So what did it take
for your parents to decide that your
career choice was OK? MAZ JOBRANI: [LAUGHS]
What did it take? AUDIENCE: I was going to say– I don’t know. MAZ JOBRANI: Yeah, my parents. I encourage a lot
of young people that have immigrant
parents, or even if you don’t have immigrant parents– I was talking to
a guy who wasn’t an immigrant who said
his parents wanted him to have a reputable job. I really feel like if
you find your passion and you can really go for it,
your parents will come around. So the first time I had
that battle with my parents was when I went to Italy
for my junior year abroad. My mom didn’t want me to go. My dad had just
moved back to Iran. My mother and aunt
were pushing me. They were saying, you
should stay in America to help support the
family if they need you. And I was like, no, I
need to go to Italy. I’ve been studying for this. I’m going. And when I went, my
mom was upset at me. But a few months later, she
came around and embraced it. So the same thing
with the comedy. When I did it, it wasn’t like
I was asking her permission. I was like, I’m
going to do this. And I think for her–
again, she was nervous. I think that they want
what’s best for you. They want some kind
of job security. But I think it wasn’t until
she started to see that, oh, you’re having success, oh,
and people coming up to her. Hey, your son’s funny. And oh, wow, you know. So then she started
basking in it. Now, she’ll deliver messages. She’s like, I was
at the airport. And I started
talking to a couple. And that’s my mom. That’s how my mom talks. I start talking. And they find out
I’m your mother. They say they like
your comedy, but you need to write new material. [LAUGHTER] I go, really? They’re bringing
messages through you? So now, she’s bringing messages. Yes. AUDIENCE: So there are new
comedy shows like “Black-ish,” “Fresh Off the Boat.” Do you think there’s
potential for an Iranian– because they’re normal, but they
have their own eccentricities. MAZ JOBRANI: Yeah, absolutely. No, I hear you. You know what’s interesting? You say that. The clip that you guys
saw in the beginning where I was bowling, and then
I was arguing with this lady. And I said, this is the
battle of the sexes. You’re Billie Jean. I’m Bobby Ray. That was a TV show based on a
book called “Funny in Farsi.” “Funny in Farsi” was a
book that was written by a lady named Firoozeh Dumas. It’s her biography. It’s really good. In 2009, we filmed that
as a pilot for ABC. And we got really close
to getting chosen. But they didn’t
choose us at the time. And I’m convinced that if that
show had been produced now, with “Black-ish” and
“Fresh Off the Boat,” I think they would have
at least given us a shot. So I think it’s coming. Aziz Ansari is doing
“Master of None,” which is an Indian family. So I think it’s a matter
of time before you start seeing more of that stuff. Anyone else? [INAUDIBLE] No? We’re good? All right, guys. Thanks for coming out. [APPLAUSE]

47 thoughts on “Maz Jobrani: “Balancing Iranian and American: Life of an Immigrant Comedian” | Talks at Google

  1. Maz is super funny, lot of middle easterners say they are Greek to avoid racism lol, but still face racism from the ignorant americans

  2. The Iranians who support trump are fucking stupid and traitors ..(vatan furnish)Harchie mikeshim as Amerika engilis Va ISreal mikeshim!!!there are not Iranians!!!trump is a Zionist bitch from
    ISreal!!!

  3. "it is hard to keep up with Trump"?!? well keep up or shut up (I Kiiiiid, I Kiiiid) What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger.

  4. The announcer just can't speak… No character No interest in what he is reading improperly from!!!! Just could not continue listening to this weak announcer….. Pity, didn't get to know Maz Jobrani….

  5. Hey Iranian Googlers, how about using your power in Google to slove this problem https://twitter.com/CDA/status/947568791956811776 ?

    It's really ridiculous that Iranian can not visit GAS hosted sites

  6. Yes, some POC voted for Trump. Weird, right? Being conservative in the US political way is different from being conservative in general. Jobrani talks from a very Bay Area and LA perspective.

  7. "most well known and well loved comedians in the Iranian-American community" ==> Blink, blink, say WHAT?

    When did we start describing a "group" of ONE PERSON as a "COMMUNITY"? Is some "American-Iranian" hiding in Tehran, telling "knock-knock" muhammad jokes during "beer pong" games?

  8. my advise 4 ones not to negatively criticize Islamic Republic of Iran if they do not want to be involved of their politics as Iran is way different independently of family faith lifestyle and financial laws besides where they are to realize recognition by the financial and faith lifestyle of civil rights is worth not to be pressured and interrupted by wrong negative surroundings !

  9. Thanks for the cultural education work that you do .. you've had the sharp eye to do this at this particular time in History.

  10. Dude you are a comedian. People who get offended by your jokes can go watch something else. I think you don't need to be a genius to know that comedians make materials and shows to make people laugh and have a good time. "Supposedly" no explanations needed.

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