Maziyar Jobrani, known as Maz, is an Iranian-American comedian born in Tehran, Iran, but moved to California when he was six years old. While he was born a Muslim, he describes himself as “Muslim-ish.” Jobrani was enrolled in a Ph.D. program at UCLA when he decided to pursue his childhood dream of acting and performing comedy.
Jobrani conducts stand-up style comedy shows, focusing on race and the misunderstanding of Middle Easterners in the United States. He does so by playing with stereotypes and introducing his real-life experiences through humor. He is the founder of the Axis of Evil Comedy Tour, which allows him to travel around the world spreading his logic and charm to many different audiences.
In a TED Talk Jobrani spoke at in Qatar, he was able to bring the large audience to life by making them laugh and smile about the way of life in Qatar. Although a humorous bit, he also carried a valuable idea stating that if more exposure was to be done through both Western and Middle Eastern ends of the spectrum, there would be more understanding and less judgment.
The TED Talk was a success by hitting 8,282,153 views since it has been published in April 2012. While numbers maybe just a statistic, by interviewing Reem AlRowaished, a Saudi Arabian studying in Boulder, Colo., I was able to better understand why he is so relatable to the average immigrant, or non-U.S. citizen residing in the United States.
This is what she had to say:
“OMG Maz Jobrani cracks me and my family up all the time. Me and my sisters always think of him when something weird or racially influenced happens to us in real life or even when we see how misrepresented Muslims and Arabs are in Western film. (Laughs) But on a more serious note, I guess I mostly appreciate him because he brings to light many racial things that happen to us outsiders. He brings it in a way where it’s funny so it’s more approachable, so I like how I can laugh but also agree on some serious topics all at once.”
Reem continues to watch his comedy shows and wishes she had been able to attend the TED Talk in Qatar. She plans to hopefully attend a future show of his.
Hopefully, you all can take some time to unwind, relax, and laugh at one of his shows as well.