Comedian Maz Jobrani brings stereotype-smashing jokes to Vancouver
"Every time they show us on TV, they always show the crazy guy burning a flag, going, 'Death to America!'" joked Iranian-American comedian Maz Jobrani in a stand-up routine. "Just once, I wish they would show us like, just baking a cookie. I've been to Iran! I know they have cookies."
Jobrani, one of the most widely-recognized faces of Middle Eastern comedy, is bringing his Brown and Friendly tour to the Vogue theatre on Friday with fellow comedian Reza Peyk. Jobrani gained worldwide attention in the Axis of Evil Comedy Tour, a stand-up show featuring all Middle Eastern-American comics fighting negative stereotypes of the region with humour.
"I really enjoy the energy and vibe of Vancouver -- it feels very cosmopolitan," Jobrani told this reporter over the phone. He said that his fans are a diverse mix of cultural backgrounds, ranging from Middle Eastern to European-American. "It depends on which city, but it tends to be 50-60 percent Persian and Arab, and the rest is 'other,'" he said. "In Vancouver, I'd say it's about 70 percent Persian."
Jobrani often jokes about Iranian and Middle Eastern stereotypes, often playing on differences between Iranians and Arabs, who are often lumped into the same category. In his new material, however, Jobrani said he tries to focus more on human stories of being a newcomer in a foreign country.
"My show is about the immigrant experience, not just the Iranian experience," he said. "But people who come to the show aren't offended by my jokes when they see that the whole point is to put them (Middle Easterners and immigrants) in a positive light. If you look at the media, they never put us in a positive light."
People hoping to see Jobrani live may want to catch him at The Vogue while they can. Jobrani, who has been on a "hectic" touring schedule since 2007, is looking to work closer to home now so he can focus on his role as a father.
"Right now, I'm hoping to find a TV show that would shoot in Los Angeles. I have two young kids -- I just had a second kid, so two young babies, and just because of that, I'd like to stay home a bit."