Entertainment

Politics still takes a hit (line) for the Iranian-American comic strip Maz Jobrani

For Iranian-American Maz Jobrani, a stand-up show in Dubai was the first time he has been in front of a large live audience abroad since the start of the coronavirus pandemic – and he feels it. “Doing stand-up comedy is like going to the gym – you have to get up on stage five, ten times a week,” Jobrani said as he sat in a Dubai hotel overlooking Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. “You have to keep going, otherwise the muscles will be rusty.” Jobrani had a calm demeanor during a recent interview. It was far from the exaggerated expressions and dances he knew in his performance. On stage during the recent Dubai Comedy Festival, Jobrani broke an Iranian dance routine for one of Dua Lipa’s striking pop songs, drawing laughter from an audience that wanted to be eager as the coronavirus pandemic continues to rage across the world. The UAE has one of the world’s highest per capita vaccination rates and its economy has largely reopened. Being on stage has become a luxury for comedians, Jobrani said, and some can not perform for more than a year. After venues closed last year, extra creativity was needed. First, Jobrani started doing shows on Instagram, updating his fans on what he did daily during the exclusion, or doing workouts using random objects. Then he tried drive-in programs, which posed the same problem for stand-up comedy as online video calls: “You can’t hear their laughter,” he said. “You have to remind them, ‘If you like what I say, if you like the joke, please honk,’ he says. ‘So people are honking you, you’re telling a joke [and] they will trumpet for you. ‘ In some U.S. states, he has performed at an outdoor performance for a limited audience. At others, he performed indoors. In Arizona and Florida, he performed in comedy clubs, where he said he felt nervous because that was before the vaccine was rolled out. “Comedians need interaction – we’re the best in a room with an audience that laughs, talks,” he said. “And this remote world has taken it away from us, but I think again that we have adapted, a lot of people have adapted.”

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Jobrani, originally from Iran, moved to California with his family at the age of six. Like many Iranians, they fled the country’s 1979 Islamic Revolution. He grew up in the San Francisco area. His acting credentials begin just after the Sept. 11 attacks with a key role in the US action series ’24 ‘, in which he played a member of an Afghan militant group in hopes of detonating a nuclear bomb in Los Angeles. . Later, he stopped taking on such roles, but still played with the theme and set up the comedy tour ‘Axis of Evil’. He wrote a book ‘I’m not a terrorist, but I played one on TV’. His comedy is largely fueled by it and its background. During Donald Trump’s term of office, he focuses on the US president. “You know the last four years I’ve been very political, constantly with the Trump stuff, Trump, Trump, Trump,” he said. “You know the Muslim ban, you know children in cages, and you know what the wrong treatment of coronavirus is.” Jobrani discussed local politics in his interview with the AP, but he did not mention it in his series. “It’s interesting, because what you do as a comedian, you know, is make people laugh,” Jobrani said. Life does not seem to the comedian. He continues to tour and create his podcast ‘Back to School with Maz Jobrani’, spending time with his wife and two children and caring for a dog they adopted during the pandemic. But even if his jokes get political, he says he whips up what he described as all the material – and chaos – of the Trump presidency. “I would say I’m almost exhausted. It’s almost like we’ve been suffering from PTSD for the last four years,” Jobrani said. ‘But the problem is that what I feel is wrong in the world has not stopped, it continues. So sometimes I’m like, ‘Oh God, I need to get back on track.’ ‘