PAAIA- Profiles of Iranian Americans: Maz Jobrani from PAAIA on Vimeo.
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Nobody makes us laugh at our Iranian culture more than Maz Jobrani does. His sharp-witted humor and endearing ability to poke fun at the very serious issues of racism and discrimination seem to be the key to his success.
Credited for helping put the first Middle Eastern show on American television, Maz was a founding member of the Axis of Evil Comedy Tour, which featured some of the top American comedians of Middle Eastern descent. It later premiered as a special on Comedy Central in 2007. After two years of tremendous success in the U.S., The Axis of Evil Comedy Tour headed to the Middle East, selling out 27 shows in Dubai, Beirut, Cairo, Kuwait and Amman.
This Iranian American Berkley graduate is best known for his movie 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.” In television, he has appeared on “Curb Your Enthusiasm”, “The West Wing”, “24”, “NYPD Blue” and much more.
Maz is currently on his solo national comedy tour called “Maz Jobrani; Brown and Friendly.” He has also recorded a 1-hour comedy special by the same name to be released later this year. He is also raising funds to shoot a film titled “Jimmy Vestvood: Amerikan Hero” – a cross between a Middle Eastern “Pink Panther” and “Bend it Like Beckham,” with the tagline “you don’t have to be American to be an Amerikan hero.” (Jimmy can be seen at www.jimmyvestvood.com). Maz also has a recurring part on a new ABC comedy titled “Better off Ted.”
Maz has flexed his comedic muscles 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. His sketch comedy performances at the ACME Theater in Los Angeles were hailed as “devilishly funny” and “extraordinary” by LA Weekly.
This internationally acclaimed actor/comedian 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 his Ph.D. studies 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.
Maz is a 2008 recipient of the WAALM Persian Lioness Award in the arts.
Somehow, with a new son and numerous tours all over the world, Maz manages to remain grounded in his philanthropic ways. For years, he has supported a variety of Iranian American causes, charities, and celebrations. He’s raised money for the Bam disaster in Iran, the Iranian Scholarship Foundation, the Persian American Cancer Institute, as well as many other foundations, all the while uniting everyone through laughter.
Maz's work can be viewed on his website, www.mazjobrani.com.