Maz Jobrani: The Lighter Side of Life and Immigration
When comedian Maz Jorbrani, one of the stars of the CBS sitcom “Superior Donuts,” makes his Las Vegas stand-up debut at the World-Famous Laugh Factory at the new Tropicana Las Vegas Saturday June 30 through Tuesday, July 3, audiences will see that the funnyman has many other things to “fry” – among them, immigration and social issues.
A 20-year veteran of stand-up comedy, Jobrani’s well-oiled routine will be no “holes” barred when it comes to those subjects. The comic, who in “Superior Donuts” plays a Middle Eastern businessman trying to buy a donut shop, is, in reality, of Iranian descent and recently filmed his first original Netflix standup special, “Immigrant,” at the Kennedy Center, which is currently available for streaming. He has also put out three other solo specials on Showtime including: “Brown and Friendly”, “I Come in Peace”, and “I’m Not a Terrorist, But I’ve Played One on TV,” as well as appearing in movies.
“’Superior Donuts’ was just cancelled after two seasons,” Jobrani says. “It was great working with legends like Judd Hirsch, Katey Segal, Jermaine Fowler, and David Koechner. And as an actor of Middle Eastern descent, I was excited to get two seasons because nobody died in the first season!”
Jokes aside, Jobrani notes that being from his part of the world, when he was starting out, he got a lot of offers to play terrorist roles. He did a few then decided he didn’t want to do them anymore. And it worked out fine with bis eventually landing his role on “Superior Donuts.”
“One of the best words you can use in Hollywood is no,” he reveals. “People listened when I said I didn’t want that kind of part. I think a lot of actors are afraid to say no. But I have guided my own career that way and created my own opportunities as well. I’ve written four or five comedy specials and can say what I want to say.
I wanted to be a comedian since the age of 10,” he continues. “Growing up, I idolized Eddie Murphy. My immigrant parents wanted me to be a lawyer, not a clown. I went to UC Berkley to get a degree in political science but dropped out of political science. My parents were very disappointed. I was the oldest son of six children so there was a lot of pressure on me to be the man of the house. I helped raise my four younger brothers, which has helped me to be a better parent. I have two children, a son, 10, and a daughter, 7, who are half Iranian and half Indian – my wife is from India --and I love being a parent. It has been the best thing ever for my career. And when we got married, my wife was a lawyer so it made my parents happy.”
Jobrani says that his comedy is inspired by his day-to-day life experiences – his kids, his wife, parenting, and the news. He also does a lot of ad-libbing with the crowd while on stage.
“I liken it to taking a train ride and talking to the crowds on the train,” he explains. “We take a detour and then get back on the train.”
In reference to his political comedy and Netflix special, “Immigrant,” Jobrani says that immigrants love America and that’s why most are here. He also cites that they are usually fleeing bad situations and that he thinks they are good people.
I want to show that while people are vilifying immigrants, a lot of us are successful and doing good things,” he emphasizes. “As a society, we need to have compassion for those who want the American fiber and dream. I may have lost some fans because of my jokes about Donald Trump but as many as I lose, I gain on the other side. My job is to express my opinion and have a point of view. It’s who I am.
“The whole point is that with freedom of speech, we should be making fun of our leaders. In Iran, I’d be in prison. The beauty of the United States is that we should have fun; we should laugh. I have been heckled at times but, quite often, I’ve been able to resolve it without kicking someone out of my show. I’m making fun of Trump, not your grandmother. So relax.”
Donuts aside, Jobrani takes the cake when it comes to creating side-splitting laughter.