Bo: That's great to hear ! We're all familiar with the traditional wishes
and wants of Iranian parents for their children to either become "agha"
or "khanoom" doctor/lawyer or of course "moandess". Was there any
particular Iranian that inspired you to go into the entertainment or would
you say your mostly a product of your American upringing and
Maz: No, I wasn't inspired by any Iranian to go into entertaiment. Like all
Iranians I was a fan of Samad as a kid, but when I was around 10-12 he
(Eddie Murphy) was on Saturday Night Live and a very funny comedian. I
wanted to be like him, which led me down this path.
Of all the recent Middle Eastern actors and comedians coming into the spotlight since
September 11, 2001, nobody epitomizes the Iranian-American experience better than Maziyar
Jobrani. Jobrani's Axis of Evil Comedy tour which also features talented Arab-American
comedians Ahmed Ahmed and Aron Kader sells out in every city they are featured. He has starred
in movies such as "Friday After Next" with Ice Cube and "The Interpreter" alongside Nicole Kidman
and Sean Penn. From his uniquely funny character "Jimmy Vestvood" to his upcoming ABC tv
series "Knights of Prosperity", Maz Jobrani's comedy is a soothing breath of fresh air in what
seems to be evermore tense political times for Middle Eastern people around the world.
Bo: First off we'd like to congratulate you on the new series which you will be starring in "Knights of Prosperity" set to air in Canada and
the U.S. on Oct. 17, 2006 (on ABC).
Maz: Thanks for the congrats guys. It's going to be a really fun show. As you say, it premieres on Oct. 17 and it's about 6 characters in New
York City who are down and out on their luck and decide to rob Mick Jagger to subsidize their dreams. It's a half hour comedy. One way to
describe it is to say that it's like a bumbling idiots version of "Ocean's 11." You can check out clips on the ABC.com website and we hope to
be able to do it for many years to come.
Bo: Maz some of our readers are familiar with your stand up comedy and film roles that you've played in recent years, for those who
aren't tell us about what got you started in comedy and acting and why you chose showbiz ?
Maz: I started doing plays when I was 12 years old in junior high school. I originally did it because it was fun and you got to hang out with all
the pretty girls. But the more I did it the more I realized how much I loved it. I was a big fan of Eddie Murphy as a kid and wanted to be like him
too. As I grew older and went to college, my parents convinced me to study something more practical. So I studied political science in the
hopes of becoming a lawyer. However, I changed my course in college and decided to go to grad school to get my Ph.D. in political science
so that I could be a professor. Again, my first quarter in grad school, I realized that I did not want to pursue a career iin accademia and so I
dropped out and started acting again. It wasn't until I was 26 when I finally decided to pursue acting professionally. Up until then I had always
done plays for fun. It's been 8 years since I made that choice and I've been happy with it since.
A Closer look at Maz Jobrani -Axis of Evil Comedy, his new tv show and more
by: Amir Nadimi
Bo: Speaking of creative people, you are part of a comedy tour line-up called "Axis of Evil" Comedy featuring egyptian American Ahmed
Ahmed and Palestinian-American Aron Kader. Who's idea was it to create this tour and what made it happen ?
Maz: The group came together around 2000. We were performing at the Comedy Store in Los Angeles and the owner, Mitzi Shore, who is
Pauley Shore's mother and a lady who helped many famous comics develop including Jim Carrey, Andre Dice Clay, Dave Letterman, etc., put
us all together in a show called "The Arabian Knights." As we did that show for several years we kept running into the fact that Iranians aren't
Arabs, so sometimes fans would come up after the show, congratulate me and remind me that we're not Arabs. It was not a major issue, but
we started to throw around other names that we might use and we came up with "The Axis of Evil Comedy Show." Our first show under that
name was on Nov. 11th of last year in DC where we sold out a 1400 seat theater. Since then we've gone on to sell out theaters in SF, San
Jose, Detroit, DC again and will be taping our DVD Comedy Central special on Oct. 14th at the OC Pavillion.
Bo: Yeah, most definitely. If there's anything iranians are hardcore about is distinguishing
themselves from Arabs. In that lite, we're still part off the Axis of Evil of course, so i could
understand why it wasn't a big deal for you considering the present political climate. So what
should viewers be expecting from your latest project this fall on ABC "Knights of Prosperity" ?
Maz: it's a very funny show written by the creators of the TV show "Ed". The creators were also
head writers and executive producers on the Late Show with David Letterman. They've created a
show about 6 blue collar workers in New York who are down and out on their luck. They decide
that in order to subsidize their dreams they will rob Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones. It is kind of
like a bumbling idiots "Ocean's 11". Imagine if a group of people decided to go for their dream
and in order to achieve it they decided to rob a famous person - except no one in the group has
ever robbed anything - they're total amatuers and that's what creates a very funny scenario. I've
constantly been entertained by the scripts and it is truly the funniest thing I've ever worked on.
Your readers can go to ABC.com to view the trailer or to www.jointheknights.com to find out more
about the show.
Bo: The show sounds like it should be interesting! Maz before i let you go, I know it's clichee
but, I have one more question for yo. Where do you see yourself in 10 years from now ?
Maz: I really don't look that far into the future with what I'm doing. I just know that I'm really enjoying myself and am lucky to have that in my
life. People have asked me in the past, "when will you consider yourself successful?" and I've responded that the day I decided to do this
was the day I was successful. I still worked as an assistant in an ad agency making very little money, but I had made the decision that I was
going to pursue standup and acting full time and it was one of the greatest moments in my life. I was happy working all day and then going
out to the clubs at night to do my standup for very little money. Everything else that's happened since has been icing on the cake. I hope to
continue to enjoy what I do and be involved in fun and good projects. If I can accumulate enough experience and resources I would love to
be involved in producing projects as well
Bo: Definitely. I can truly say you're an inspiration to many young talented Iranians out there that may be torn in their career decisions
whether it's by family pressure or personal angst caused by it. You're definitely a well grounded individual with a clear vision and
BODAZEY.COM wishes you all the best in your future endeavours ! cheers to you.
Maz: Thanks for the interview guys. This is the kind of stuff that I could talk about forever, so it's always good to converse with someone
about this subject. I wish Bodazey.com the best.
Maz: No, that's not the case. I liked being and trying to be funny. I started doing plays when I was 12 years old in junior high. Then I did plays in
a good theater program through high school. We did both comedies and dramas. As an actor I liked and continue to like both. It's not so much
about whether I'm doing comedy or drama as much as the quality of what I'm doing. If I get to do projects that are well written and include
creative people then I'm happy.
|LEFT: Amir Nadimi with Maz Jobrani at 2008 Noor Film Festival, Los Angeles
photo: Ali Khosravi
Bo: Is it fair to say that you took a liking more to stand-up comedy than dramatic acting ?