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Maz Jobrani Biography

From The Axis of Evil - Iran calls America

Maziar "Maz" Jobrani (born February 26, 1972) is an Iranian-American comedian 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, on radio and in comedy clubs. His filmography includes roles in The Interpreter, Friday After Next, and Dragonfly.

Maz Jobrani Picture - Middle Eastern Comedian - Axis of Evil

Biography

Although born in Tehran, Iran, Jobrani's parents moved to California and he grew up in Tiburon in the San Francisco Bay area. He attended Redwood High School in Larkspur. Jobrani did not take the conventional route to performing comedy. He studied political science and Italian at UC Berkeley, where he received a B.A. degree. In fact, Jobrani was enrolled in a Ph.D. program at UCLA when he decided to pursue his childhood dream of acting and performing comedy. He has since made appearances on shows like The Colbert Report, The Tonight Show With Jay Leno, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, Talkshow with Spike Feresten and regularly performs at top comedy clubs (in CA and NY) such as The Comedy Store. He also made an appearance as a dental patient on an episode of Still Standing. Jobrani is currently with the Axis of Evil Comedy Tour including Ahmed Ahmed and Aron Kader.

Jobrani makes jokes about racism, mainly racism against Iranians and Arabs, but also makes a lighter note that they are not perfect, stating some of the flaws. His jokes tend to brighten up the stereotypical view of Middle Easterners.

Jobrani is married to an Indian-American woman and they currently reside in California.

Facts

Born: February 26, 1972 (1972-02-26) (age 36), Tehran, Iran
Medium: Stand-up
Nationality: Iranian American
Genres: Observational comedy, Satire
Subjects: Racism/Race relations, Islamophobia, Muslim-Americans, Iranian Americans

From Maz Jobrani's Website

Maz Jobrani has played many characters in flim and televison. Most recently, he played Gourishankar P.V. Subramamiam, an Indian lawyer turned NY cab driver who took part in the plot to rob Mick Jagger in the ABC sitcom "Knights of Prosperity." Prior to that he was best known for his big screen role as "Moly" in Ice Cube's "Friday After Next." He also played Secret Service Agent "Mo" in the Sydney Pollack thriller "The Interpreter," opposite Sean Penn and Nicole Kidman as well as Jennifer Garner's colleague, Glenn, in "13 Going on 30." Additional film credits include the critically acclaimed "Maryam," touted by Roger Ebert as one of the most overlooked films in 2000, the Kevin Costner drama "Dragonfly," and independent films "Season of Madness," "Something Borrowed", "Moonpie" and "Bug."

Television audiences may recognize Jobrani from his role as Mr. Hut, the angry owner of a fast food stand in the town's mall on the Fox sitcom "Life on a Stick." He also appeared in recurring roles on "24" (Season Two), "Life with Bonnie" and "Cedric the Entertainer Presents." His numerous guest appearances include both popular comedy and dramatic series such as "Malcolm in the Middle," "Still Standing," "The West Wing," "NYPD Blue," "Without a Trace," "ER," "Law and Order," and a memorable turn as "The Sikh" in the hilarious 2004 season finale of "Curb Your Enthusiasm."

Additionally Jobrani is a member of the Axis of Evil Comedy Tour, which features some of the top Middle Eastern-American comics in the world. The Axis of Evil Comedy Central Special premiered in 2007 as the first all Middle Eastern show on American TV. The DVD was also released in 2007. The world tour continues and dates can be found at www.axisofevilcomedy

He has done standup on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson," "The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn," Comedy Central's "Premium Blend," and England's Paramount 2 Network. He also performs standup at The Comedy Store and The Laugh Factory on LA's famous Sunset Strip as well as many top clubs in New York, including The Comedy Cellar. His routine has been featured on CNN, CBS, PBS, and NPR; as well as being highlighted in Time Magazine, Newsweek, The New York Times, The LA Times and The Wall Street Journal. His sketch comedy performances at the ACME Theater in Los Angeles were hailed as "devilishly funny" and "extraordinary" by LA Weekly.

Jobrani was raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he caught the acting bug after portraying the lead in his eighth grade production of "Li'l Abner." He studied theater throughout high school, then went on to earn a BA in Political Science and Italian at UC Berkeley. In the fall of 1994, while beginning a Ph.D. program in Political Science at UCLA, he visited the university's prestigious theater program and was immediately hooked back on acting. This led to him dropping out of the Ph.D. program to pursue his childhood passion.

Personal Information

HOMETOWN.....Born in Thran, Iran; raised in Tiburon, CA
BIRTHDATE....February 26

Maz Jobrani Tour Schedule

Feb 13 2009, 7:00P, The Ark, Ann Arbor MI
Feb 14 2009, 7:00P, Lakeshore Theater, Chicago IL
Feb 20 2009, 8:00P, House of Blues, Dallas TX
Feb 26 2009, 8:00P, Cobb’s Comedy Club, San Francisco CA
Feb 27 2009, 8:00P, Cobb’s Comedy Club, San Francisco CA
Feb 27 2009, 10:15P, Cobb’s Comedy Club, San Francisco CA
Feb 28 2009, 8:00P, Cobb’s Comedy Club, San Francisco CA
Feb 28 2009, 10:15P, Cobb’s Comedy Club, San Francisco CA
Mar 5 2009, 8:30P, The Punchline, Sacramento CA
Mar 6 2009, 8:30P, The Punchline, Sacramento CA
Mar 6 2009, 10:30P, The Punchline, Sacramento CA
Mar 7 2009, 8:30P, The Punchline, Sacramento CA
Mar 7 2009, 10:30P, The Punchline, Sacramento CA

Interview with Maz Jobrani

At the age of 12, Maz Jobrani knew he wanted to act. His Iranian parents (surprise) persuaded him to pursue law telling him it was just a "different type" of acting but with a more reliable income. Not wanting to disappoint, he went as far as enrolling in a PhD program in political science before dropping out and dedicating all his efforts into acting and comedy. Now 34, Maz hasn't looked backed. That's because he's starred in everything from The West Wing to The Interpreter and several other shows and movies. And if he's not on a set, he's keeping his humor sharp with regular performances at comedy clubs and on tour with the Axis of Evil [of Comedy]. Maz's persistence and positive attitude are making him a regular and rising star in the industry and has definitely secured his spot in this week's Young & Professional Profile.

What's your story?

Maz Jobrani: I started doing plays at the age of 12. I loved it, and was in a great theater program in high school. For college my parents convinced me that I should do something more secure than studying acting. “Be a lawyer,” they said in thick their Persian accents. “Lawyers act. They have to speak in front of a jury, which is like an audience. And they get paid well.” Not mature enough to stand up to that argument I listened to them and studied political science as an undergrad at University of California, Berkeley. While at Berkeley I took one acting class and realized I still had the bug. Then when I went to the University of California, Los Angeles to get my Ph.D. in political science in hopes of becoming a professor, I snuck over to the theater department and started doing plays again. The acting bug got me and I decided to drop out.

I worked in an ad agency to make some money in the day (just as an assistant) and finally at 26 declared that I would pursue acting and standup full time. I tell people that the day I decided to make that choice is the day I considered myself a success. Anything else that happens in my career is icing on the cake. Since then I have had a chance to play at the biggest comedy clubs in the world. I’m a regular at the Comedy Store, Laugh Factory and Improv in LA along with some of the bigger clubs in New York (The Comedy Cellar). I’ve done many guest stars on TV including on “Curb Your Enthusiasm”, “The West Wing”, “ER”, “NYPD Blue” and many more. I was a regular on the Fox TV show “Life on a Stick” and am now a regular on the ABC show “Knights of Prosperity.” I had good parts in movies like “The Interpreter”, “Friday After Next” and “13 Going on 30.”

What are your day to day responsibilities?

Maz Jobrani: Now that I’m on a show, my day to day will include being ready to shoot my scenes daily. In the evenings I try to do standup at the local clubs. In between all this I try to send out e-mails about bigger shows (meaning theater shows that seat 1000+ people) and I do other press stuff. Lastly, I hope to find time to exercise so that I don’t outgrow my wardrobe (when you’re on a set sometimes it’s really long days – 5am-8 or 9pm). In between all that you end up at the snack table (craft services) trying to eat something that will keep you going – a lot of times that includes anything with sugar.

Most notable milestones

Maz Jobrani: Educational – of course getting my degree from U.C. Berkeley. A great school, I would recommend it to anyone.

Also I spent my junior year abroad in Italy – the University of Padua. This was one of the best years of my life and I think everyone should go overseas in college.

Professional – Becoming a regular at the Comedy Store (I remember being 14 years old, visiting Los Angeles, and being told that this was the club Eddie Murphy used to perform in. His name was on the wall and now mine is too.)

Being in “The Interpreter” with Sean Penn. He is one of the acting legends of our time and I had a chance to be in a movie and in scenes with him.

Doing a guest star on “The West Wing” and getting a chance to perform with Martin Sheen – again, another legend.

What's your niche?

Maz Jobrani: I suppose being Iranian born makes me unique. There are only a handful of us in acting and standup. Also, I can do accents so I’ve had a chance to play other Middle Eastern, Latin, and European parts.

Unexpected learnings along the way?

Maz Jobrani: Aren’t most learnings unexpected? One thing I learned early on and I’ve repeated often is that we get inspired by greatness and mediocrity. What I mean by that is that when we see someone like LeBron James slamdunk a basketball we want to go on the playground and try to slamdunk. On the other hand when we see someone who’s really bad at what they’re doing we think that we can better do what they do. That was one of the first ways I was inspired to get into standup. I was at UC Berkeley and just happened upon a standup comedy competition. The guys competing were so bad that I felt I could do better than them. I promised myself that the next time I had a chance to enter a competition, I would. So I did and that was my first lesson along this journey.

What's in store for the future?

Maz Jobrani: I plan to keep working on the new ABC show as long as it’s running (hopefully for a long time.) I also help to shoot “The Axis of Evil Comedy” DVD. That’s the show with me, Aron Kader, Ahmed Ahmed and Dean Obeidallah. It’s the biggest all Middle Eastern/American comedy tour and we hope to change peoples’ minds about Middle Easterners with this show. We hope to get it on TV and in the stores. Lastly, I have written a screenplay with a friend of mine, Amir Ohebsion, called “Jimmy Vestvood: Amerikan Hero”. It is like an Iranian “Pink Panther” that we hope to shoot and get into movie theaters in the West. Again, our hope is to create a positive Middle Eastern character that can help change minds.

Who would you like to be contacted by?

Maz Jobrani: I wish I could meet Ghandi, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King and Peter Sellers.

Best way to stay ahead

Maz Jobrani: Do what you love. When you do what you love you will be good at it (this is something a great friend of mine pointed out many years ago and it’s very true).

Guiding principle in life

Maz Jobrani: Be good to others. There’s so much difficulty and badness in the world that we don’t need to add to it.

Yardstick of success

Maz Jobrani: Being happy with yourself.

Goal yet to be achieved

Maz Jobrani: I’m just on a ride and get to things that I want as I go. I would like to have “Jimmy Vestvood” made. I would like to continue to write standup comedy that says something (meaning it’s not just fart jokes.) I would love to get to a point where I could produce films and projects where I could cast my friends – like Adam Sandler or Bill Cosby or George Clooney.

Best practical advice

Maz Jobrani: Do what you love. I can’t emphasize this enough. I’ve met some of the most miserable, yet rich lawyers and some of the happiest, yet poor janitors. If you’re doing what you love to do in life then you won’t be worried about the money and if any comes, then so much the better.

Supportive words from a family member or friend

Maz Jobrani: A gentleman who worked at the ad agency I was at nor friend on your ventureamed Joe Rein once told me if there’s something you want to do in life just do it. Don’t wait. I had told him that I was going to wait until I was 30 before I would pursue acting and standup. He told me to go for it right then because I wasn’t getting any younger. That was the light bulb and at 26 I went for it.

Most memorable business experience

Maz Jobrani: Many. One of them was when me, Ahmed and Aron decided to become producers on “The Axis of Evil Comedy Show”, and took a risk to book our first theater show in a 1400 seat theater in D.C. In the past when we had visited that city we had only done shows at the D.C. Improv in front of 200-300 people at a time. We took a big risk, booked the theater and the night of the show we were back stage celebrating the fact that we sold out the theater and had to turn people away. It was a great feeling to aim high and achieve that goal.

Mentor

Maz Jobrani: Ghandi

What motivates you for success?

Maz Jobrani: I love what I do, so where some people say, “wow, you work hard and you’re online all the time promoting your shows, out every night doing standup and really busy with acting”, it doesn’t register with me because I really love what I’m doing. I’m lucky to be able to do what I love to do so that motivates me.

Like best about what you do

Maz Jobrani: Performing – whether on stage or in front of a camera. Or coming up with a great new bit for standup.

Like least about what you do

Maz Jobrani: Waking up early sometimes – to do radio promotions when you’re doing a big standup show and to go to work when you’re on a TV show or film.

At age 10, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Maz Jobrani: Baseball player or soccer player.

What was your first job?

Maz Jobrani: I delivered newspapers at 12 (although I never got paid for it because we had to collect peoples’ subscription fees from them in order to get paid and I wasn’t good at collecting – I was intimidated by this one old dude who kept yelling at me and telling me he’d already paid.)

Person most interested in meeting and why?

Maz Jobrani: Ghandi. He transcended himself and changed the world through peace.

Leader in business most interested in meeting and why?

Maz Jobrani: I enjoy meeting anyone who’s good at what they do – especially if they’re using their skills to help others. Maybe the guy who started “Doctors Without Borders.”

Three interesting facts about yourself

Maz Jobrani: Married to an Indian lawyer. Love to nap. Math was my favorite subject.

Three characteristics that describe you

Maz Jobrani: Peaceful, happy, diligent.

Three greatest passions

Maz Jobrani: My wife, my family, my comedy.

Favorite books

Maz Jobrani: Old – Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. New – Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins. Also, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.

Information about "The Axis of Evil" DVD and TourFavorite cause

Maz Jobrani: Peace

More Biographical Info

Maz Jobrani is best known for his big screen role as Moly in Ice Cube's Friday After Next. He also played Jennifer Garner's colleague, Glenn, in 13 Going on 30, and was seen in the Sydney Pollack thriller The Interpreter, opposite Sean Penn and Nicole Kidman. Additional film credits include the critically acclaimed Maryam, touted by Roger Ebert as one of the most overlooked films in 2000, the Kevin Costner drama Dragonfly, and independent films Season of Madness, Something Borrowed and Bug. He will next be seen in the much anticipated indie film Moonpie, directed by Drake Doremus.

Television audiences may recognize Jobrani from his recent role as Mr. Hut, the angry owner of a fast food stand in the town's mall on the Fox sitcom Life on a Stick. He also appeared in recurring roles on 24 (Season Two), Life with Bonnie and Cedric the Entertainer Presents. His numerous guest appearances include both popular comedy and dramatic series such as Malcolm in the Middle, Still Standing, The West Wing, NYPD Blue, Without a Trace, ER, Law & Order, and a memorable turn as The Sikh in the hilarious 2004 season finale of Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Additionally Jobrani is a member of the Axis of Evil Comedy Tour, which features some of the top Middle Eastern-American comics in the world. The DVD special for this show will be released in 2007. He also performs standup comedy at The Comedy Store and The Laugh Factory on LA's famous Sunset Strip. He appears in venues all over the country and many top clubs in New York, including The Comedy Cellar. His routine has been featured on The CBS Morning Show, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn, Comedy Central's Premium Blend, PBS and National Public Radio, as well as being highlighted in Newsweek and The Wall Street Journal. His sketch comedy performances at the ACME Theater in Los Angeles were hailed as devilishly funny and extraordinary by LA Weekly.

Jobrani was raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he caught the acting bug after portraying the lead in his eighth grade production of Li'l Abner. He studied theater throughout high school, then went on to earn a BA in Political Science and Italian at UC Berkeley. In the fall of 1994, while beginning a Ph.D. program in Political Science at UCLA, he visited the university's prestigious theater program - and was immediately hooked on stage acting, a passion he continues to follow.

Maz Jobrani grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area where he played the lead role of L'il Abner in his 8th grade school play. From there he was hooked. He studied theater throughout high school, and took a break during college, where he studied Political Science and Italian at UC Berkeley. Then, in the Fall of 1994, while beginning a Ph.D. program in Political Science at UCLA, Jobrani snuck over to the prestigious UCLA theater program and dove right into the mainstage play; returning, once again to his true love, the stage.

A couple years later, Jobrani took on his other love, standup comedy, and is now a paid regular at The Comedy Store and Laugh Factory on the famous Sunset strip in Los Angeles. He also headlines the La Jolla Comedy Store and other clubs around the country. His standup has been featured in Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, Oprah Magazine, and on The CBS Morning Show, PBS, and NPR.

Additionally, Jobrani has been busy guest-starring on several TV shows including a recurring role on the current season of the Fox hit 24, NYPD Blue, Without A Trace, ER, Malcolm in the Middle, and others. He also starred in the critically acclaimed independent film Maryam (two thumbs up by Ebert and Roeper), in addition to Bug, Something Borrowed and Universal's Dragonfly as well as a leading in role in the Showtime movie The Medicine Show.

Maz is also a member of the Main Company at the ACME Sketch Comedy Theater in Los Angeles, and his work there has been called devilishly funny and extraordinary by LA Weekly and Backstage West. free video downloads, Axis of Evil torrent

Information about "The Axis of Evil" DVD and Tour

The Axis of Evil Comedy Tour is a stand-up comedy tour featuring Middle Eastern comedians Ahmed Ahmed, Aron Kader and Maz Jobrani, with special guests Dean Obeidallah and Won Ho Chung. The Tour started in November 2005, and was named after George W. Bush dubbing Iraq, Iran, and North Korea, as the "Axis of Evil".

The group jokes about terrorist groups along with being Middle-Eastern in America. Kader and Obeidallah are Palestinian Americans, Ahmed is Egyptian American, Jobrani is Iranian American, and Chung is Korean Jordanian. On March 10, 2007 they were even given their own Comedy Central Special.

The group's current events sense of humor has attracted media attention, they have been interviewed by CNN, NPR, and Time Magazine among others. They toured in several middle eastern countries with Showtime Arabia. King Abdullah II of Jordan has attended their show in Jordan and has conveyed his appreciation to their work.

Amazon.com Editorial Review and Description

Amazon.com

Only strange days such as these could have made possible The Axis of Evil Comedy Tour, a showcase for four Arab-American comedians telling jokes about life for people of Middle Eastern descent in the United States in the aftermath of 9/11.

A mostly Arab-American audience thoroughly enjoys Dean Obeidallah's monologue, in which he describes his homeland as Eastern Palestine, i.e., New Jersey. He also says "Obeidallah" translates as "Servant of Allah," which does not sit well with airport security. In general, he has a few choice things to say about such extreme safety measures as the Patriot Act: "Are the guys in Al Qaeda really going to libraries and reading books? Maybe Chicken Soup for the Terrorist Soul?" Maz Jobrani and Persians

Dapper comic Ahmed Ahmed talks about his own travails trying to fly with a name like his: "I Googled my name and it matches a known terrorist in the Middle East. Right now I think he's Googling me--'Hey, there's an American comedian with my name.'" Ahmed talks about the modern life of a Muslim: "You know you're a Muslim when you drink and have sex but don't eat pork." Aron Kader has fun describing his mixed background as the son of a Palestinian dad and a Mormon mom: "When I turned 19, the Mormons asked me if I wanted to go on a mission. I said, 'Is that different from a Palestinian mission? Because you don't come back from those.'" Kader also recalls his trip to Jordan shortly after 9/11: "I was driving with my cousin, who was cursing the U.S. but asking if I wanted to grab some lunch at Burger King or McDonald's."

Finally, Maz Jobrani is very funny explaining that Iranians are not actually Arab at all but ethnically white, and that while Arabs speak swfitly and aggressively, Iranians speak slowly and cheerfully, "like they're on heroin." Jobrani describes his nightmare with Hotmail after writing a terrorist joke to a friend via email: "I called Microsoft, and they transferred my call to an operator in Iraq, who reminded me there's a war on and asked me what I wanted." All four entertainers have excellent sets, and each carries the same serious message layered between gags, i.e., anti-Muslim prejudice in America is really hurting millions of innocent people. --Tom Keogh

Product Description

In a time when East and West do not seem to understand each other, top stand-up comics of Middle Eastern descent Ahmed Ahmed, Aron Kader, and Maz Jobrani take it upon themselves to single-handedly bridge the gap with an original comedy tour that has become one of the hottest concert tickets in the country. Special guest Dean Obeidallah , who's appeared on "Saturday Night Live" "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" and is a founder of the New York Arab-American Comedy Festival, joins the "Axis of Evil" creators for this sold-out, no-holds-barred event that has made headlines everywhere from CNN to Newsweek.Nothing is off-limits. Whether it's gay terrorists or the difficulty of flying in post 9/11 America, The Axis of Evil Comedy Tour blasts stereotypes with outrageous humor. Maz Jobrani torrent

Free dvd download. Maz Jobrani Axis of Evil

Interview with cast of The Axis of Evil - Maz Jobrani, Aron Kader, and Ahmed Ahmed

I see that you guys aren’t stabbing me with a fork for having to do this during your meal, and I thank you for that. How do you find Dubai?

Aron Kader: I love it. It’s very, very opulent. My relatives in Jerusalem live humbly – no dirt floors or anything, but a very simple life, and this is a big contrast.
Maz Jobrani: People here get our references.
Ahmed Ahmed: Dubai is very modern. It’s a beacon of light, in this sense.
Maz Jobrani: It’s not exactly perfect. But there are problems everywhere you go, right?

So, I’ve done my research or so I hope. I think I can see what you guys have in common. The Middle Eastern heritage, the desire to challenge stereotypes, the dashing good looks. How are you different?

Aron Kader: Different fashion sense. Ahmed is the one who wears the hats…
Maz Jobrani: Are you writing this down? Because he’s joking.

Let’s talk about racism against people of Middle Eastern origin in the United States.

Ahmed Ahmed: It’s huge. There’s nothing funny about being Middle Eastern in America right now. I’ve been called a “sand-nigger,” etc. But comedy about stereotypes is like therapy, in that sense.
Maz Jobrani: I think American co-exist well with each other, all things considered, but there are still issues of prejudice you can’t escape, which is why laughing with people is important, which is why this tour is important. It shatters stereotypes. Someone once told me: “I had no idea that you people even laughed.” We are portrayed as completely humourless and that’s not even the worst of it. You know, my mother has been told, “go back to your country, bitch.” She had an accent, and people with accents seem threatening. This is beside all the stuff you would get at school, as a kid. Kids are brutal. But there are always people who have it worse than you. Like the gas station attendants, think about the crap they get on a daily basis.
Ahmed Ahmed: American racists are lazy too. Someone started targeting Sikhs after 9/11, because of the turbans. Sikhs aren’t even Muslim. It’s like the Joe DeRosa joke about American people thinking that Egypt has oil.

What about relationship weirdness? Ever since I met my Arab boyfriend all of these well-meaning people have been telling me that I must be very oppressed, raped and beaten on a daily basis. Do the women in your lives get similar crap?

Maz Jobrani: My wife is a very intelligent woman, she can block it all out if need be. Our tour manager, however, had people really worried for her when we took the comedy tour to the Middle East.
Ahmed Ahmed: You’ve seen the show, so you know my Egyptian princess joke, right? Girls date you to piss off daddy, and because you’re dark and exotic. A girl says, “Make me your Egyptian princess.” I put a sheet over her head and tell her to be quiet.
Aron Kader: Jokes are good if you know what you’re talking about. Someone close to my girlfriend offers to give me a pack of Camel cigarettes, and thinks it’s the funniest thing in the world. Or else we’ll talk about golfing, and suddenly there are these lame jokes being made about sand.
Maz Jobrani: People base their assumptions about Middle Eastern men and relationships on the Sally Field film, “Not Without My Daughter.”

People have mentioned it to me at least fifty times since I’ve met my boyfriend.

Maz Jobrani: You should watch it. It really clues you in to the attitude.

I watched in high school. It was actually during a lesson of U.S. history. Come to think of it, I’m not really sure how it tied in at all.

Ahmed Ahmed: Speaking of attitude, we do radio shows, and sometimes it goes well, and sometimes it’s ridiculous. People have said things like, “Hey fellas, did you fly in on a magic carpet today?”

You’re kidding.

Ahmed Ahmed: Nope. You probably know that a ridiculous number of Americans don’t even have passports. The ignorance makes sense, in this light.
Maz Jobrani: Here’s something we’ve noticed: the local news always juxtaposes a segment on our comedy tour with a story about angry Muslims chanting, preferably burning an American flag.
Aron Kader: [in sugary newscaster voice] “Thirteen marines dead in Iraq. And on a lighter note…” And she goes on to talk about us.

This is surreal. Let’s talk about happy, joyful things. Such as your comic influences – anyone in particular come to mind?

Aron Kader: George Carlin.
Maz Jobrani: When I was a kid, I loved Eddie Murphy. Career-wise, I think my biggest influence is Richard Pryor. You know what they say about Pryor – he could talk about setting himself on fire and make it hilarious. This is something I admire.

Ok, some people find the next question annoying, but I have to ask: what are your thoughts on Election 2008 in the States?

Aron Kader: Hillary.
Maz Jobrani: I’m a Bill Clinton fan. We need to have him back in the White House in some capacity.
Aron Kader: Bill Clinton probably wasted less sperm than Bush has wasted lives. Since we’re talking about politics, I have this to say: when we make fun of our current leadership, we are not selling out our country. We want to be proud of our country. But the Bush White House is a disaster. It should be OK to say that without being labeled a traitor.
Ahmed Ahmed: Bush is an embarrassment. If I ran into him in a public place, I’d hand him some cash and ask him to stop ruining everything with his presence.

Tell me more about taking the tour to the Middle East. How are things different?

Maz Jobrani: This is the longest time we’ve been on the road, ever. We’re shooting a documentary when we’re not performing. The Showtime Arabia crew is also filming us.
Aron Kader: In Jordan, King Abdullah came to our show. In Cairo, the audience was mostly working class. We did two shows in one day, and a total of 3,000 people saw us in 24 hours alone.
Ahmed Ahmed: In Beirut, I think we ended up sold out before we even had a venue. There are all these popular Facebook groups set up over there; it’s amazing.
Maz Jobrani: And we do interview after interview.

Such as this one. Wherein I’m not even letting you chew your food.

Aron Kader: You should just have some pizza.

No thanks.

Aron Kader: [concerned auntie voice] You have to eat! The leftovers will just get thrown away otherwise.
Maz Jobrani: No, no, write down that we gave it to the children.

I don’t think there are any needy children at Mall of the Emirates in Dubai. At the very least, I don’t see any right now.

Ahmed Ahmed: Dubai’s an amazing place, like I already said. There’s another joke I do that you’re probably familiar with, the one about conservative Muslim families hanging out next to European men in Speedos on the beach in Dubai.

You know, I’m originally from Ukraine, and most men wear Speedos on the beach. They can look quite fetching on the right person.

Ahmed Ahmed: Yeah, but on most people they look not so fetching.
Aron Kader: Especially after you’ve just been in the cold water.
Maz Jobrani: I can pull off a Speedo. For all you know, I’m wearing one right now.

I’ll tell everyone you showed it to me.

Maz Jobrani: Yes! Because you’re Ukrainian! And you get it!
Ahmed Ahmed: OH MY GOD, is that Jack Nicholson over there?

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