Maziyar “Maz” Jobrani, also known as Persian Pink Panther, is an Iranian-American comedian and actor who is part of the "Axis of Evil" comedy group. The group appeared on a comedy special on Comedy Central. Jobrani has also appeared in numerous films, television shows, including Better Off Ted, on radio, and in comedy clubs. His filmography includes roles in The Interpreter, Friday After Next, and Dragonfly.
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Hi reddit! Maz Jobrani here.
I’m a comedian, actor, and writer.
My book, I’m Not a Terrorist but I’ve Played One on TV was just released.
You’ve seen me appear on The Tonight Show, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, NPR’s Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me, possibly from one of two Showtime specials, Brown and Friendly and I Come in Peace OR you may know me from Ice Cube's Friday After Next.
Holy Moly Donut Shops! RIP Leonard Nimoy! AMA!
How many times have you been called jabroni by mistake?
Ha! All the time!
Hey Maz! I loved your show in San Jose, CA last year. I know your wife is indian, what is your favorite indian food?
Chicken Tikka masala
A big fan here, and I first wanted to thank you for doing your bit to help progress the image that the Middle East is much more than what people see on television. I just had a couple of questions I’d like to pose your way:
Thank you for the kind words.
1 - I fell in love with comedy when I saw Eddie Murphy come on the scene when I was a young kid. I then started doing plays in school at the age of 12 and fell in love with it. I wanted to do acting and standup from a young age, but my parents wouldn't let me. I stuck to it and finally dropped out of grad school to pursue it later in life.
2 - It's always tough, but it's also fun because I loved what I was doing. I encourage young stand ups to get up on stage as much as possible and to write as much as possible.
3 - Hopefully sooner than later!
Big fan of your Wait Wait stuff. What's doing that like and do you have any theories as to why Carl Kassel's Voice On Your Home Voicemail is the best prize?
It's been a blast doing the show. If you ever get a chance to watch it live do it! We tape for almost 2 hours so there's a lot that gets cut out. And Carl's voice on your VM is the best prize because that dudes a badass!
Big fan of your stand up! Do you plan to visit Baltimore soon? If so, I might have to see if Alabama will let me take his MC spot for the night.
I will be in DC next Friday 3/6. Not sure when I'll make it out to Balt.
my fave Iranian food is fesenjoon - the torsh one! what's you're favorite Iranian food?
Bananas or dried mangos
When did you move from Iran? How did you get your first comedy gig?
I moved to the US in late 1978 at age 6. My first comedy gigs were open mics. I once did one in a strip club starting out. It's all in the book, but it was a crazy experience because they had lost the microphone the night before so we had to yell our material at the audience!
Why aren't there more middle eastern funny men in Hollywood?
I think we're starting to see some young guys come through. I tour with Amir K. There's Max Amini, K-von, Peter the Persian, Tehran. There's Omid Djalili out of London. It takes time when an immigrant culture comes to the US for them to get into Hollywood, but I think we're starting to do it slowly but surely.
When is "Jimmy Vestvood: Amerikan Hero" coming out?
We're trying to find distribution and have it come out later this year. Probably in the Fall. Stay tuned as I will announce on FB and Twitter.
Hey Maz, you were hilarious on 'Better Off Ted' - what was the experience of working on that show like?
That was such a fun show to do. Victor Fresco, the creator had had me on another show he did a few years earlier called "Life on a Stick." So when he did "Ted" he brought me on too. The writing was fantastic and the cast was great. I'm really bummed they cancelled it. It's always great when you get your script and your lines make you laugh out loud.
Has anyone ever told you that you look Italian?
Cioa Bello! I know I could pass. I actually spent a year in college in Italy. Studied in Padua and was fluent. I love Italian and I love Italy
Maz, what are some of your favorite cities? And do you believe humor can help bring people together?
My favorite cities to perform in are DC, Stockholm, SF and then LA, NYC, Chicago, Denver, Seattle, Houston, I'm sure I'm missing a bunch. My favorite cities to visit would be Florence and the whole Tuscany region. And yes, I do believe that humor can bring people together.
Wow, thanks for the response. And a followup if possible.
How challenging was it to convince your parents that you're going into a field that didn't require an education past undergraduate level?
I basically just did it. Your parents will fight you on it, but if you're passionate and you stick to it they eventually come around. I DID have a day job so at least I was making money and that probably helped too. I was just an assistant in an advertising agency, but still I was going to work.
Maz, I know your name only from Wait Wait... Don't Tell me! You are great on that show! Do have any funny stories from taping that show?
I love doing that show but it goes sooooo long sometimes when we tape. One time I had drank a bunch of coffee and water before we started and it kept going and going and going. The whole time I was on stage in front of 600 people holding it in because I had to go too. Finally I couldn't take it any more so in the middle of the whole show I told Peter "I gotta pee!" And they just kept going without me while I ran offstage to take care of business. It was kind of embarrassing, but nature was calling! And you can get to know me for my standup if you just go to youtube.com/mazjobrani and check out my clips.
I've seen you live twice in San Jose (most recently last week) and laughed so hard both times. I was amazed at all the new material you had created. Can you elaborate on your process of writing? How does a bit start and evolve?
Thanks. I usually have something happen to me that I find funny or I read about something that I feel like I want to talk about on stage. Then I take that idea to the stage and just talk about it while recording it on my iPhone. If I'm in LA working out I will get on stage about 5-8 times a week and do 15-20 minute sets where I'm working on the new stuff. As the weeks go by the joke starts to take shape and then I bring it on stage. I also like to talk to the audience a lot so that creates new material as well.
What's the best thing you've ever heard on Wait, Wait ?
Any time Paula rants I crack up. I also did it once with Brian Babylon and his Obama impression was priceless.
What comedian has made you cry? (Either from laughing or just, you know, from crying.)
JB Smoove and Brian Holtzman have made me cry from laughing.
Thanks for representing Iranian Americans. I'm half Iranian and half German-American and grew up in an area with kids named Ryan, Chris, Jeff and John, like you and I just wanted to fit in during the early 80s. What were the details of the reason your family left Iran? How did you feel as you adapted from a child of Iran to a child in the US?
NOTE: I found out that making a flowchart of how to hijack a plane was not a good topic in computer class.
LOL on your NOTE :)
My family left Iran in late 1978 because of the revolution. My father had been a successful businessman under the Shah and had many friends in government. I think he might have gotten in trouble with the new regime. So we fled. As a kid I think I adapted pretty quickly. I played sports and tried to be funny. I also used to bring a lot of candy to school and give it out to the other kids so I learned to bribe people early. That said, any time my parents were around I would feel so embarrassed because I felt like they were "outing" me and my immigrant self. I think you'll really relate to my book. I've had a lot of other people who emigrated to the US tell me they related to my stories. I hope you get a chance to read it.
Are you muslim?
No. I was born in Iran but my family was pretty secular. My grandmother was kind of muslim, but I would say that she was muslim-ish. I have relatives that are muslim, but I don't practice myself.
Maz, thanks for being here sir! I'm the host of a movie based podcast and would love to have you on for a 30 min. conversation. Would you be interested? We just had on Jamie Kennedy, and I would be incredible to add more stand-up/actors to the mix. Thanks to you, good sir!
Sure. Hit me @mazjobrani on twitter and we can try to arrange.
Black and Blue or White and Gold?
Hey Maz! First, I just want to say that the Axis Of Evil 2007 special was my family's go-to stand up DVD for a good 3 years! My mom especially thought it was hilarious being a Lebanese-American. Thank you for bringing joy to my family and our guests!
Recently I re-watched the special and realized that the public perception of Arab-Americans has changed noticeably since it aired. For example, nobody makes jokes about arabs and airplanes as often as they used to. My question is: what are some of the biggest changes in the image of Arab-Americans that you've noticed?
Thanks for watching the special. I've been to Lebanon and done shows there and I love it. I think that we have made progress as Arabs and Iranians and people from that part of the world in general because there are more young people from those backgrounds getting into Hollywood. That said, it seems like anytime we make some progress an organization like ISIS comes out and gets a ton of new coverage and then people are back to lumping us ass terrorists and savages. I think it will take time, but I feel like we are making progress. By the way, let your mom know that I've done 2 other specials Brown and Friendly and I Come in Peace and I mention Lebanon in both. There's also a whole section about Lebanon in my book. I think you guys will enjoy it!
Do you watch 'Shahs of Sunset'? How do you think that show represents Iranian Americans?
I don't watch it. I'm not much of a reality show fan. I don't think anyone watches thinking "this is how all Iranians are." The people watching reality TV kind of have an understanding that this stuff is exaggerated and over the top...I hope!