MAZ JOBRANI INTERVIEW
CoolPersia.com Page 1/4
CoolPersia.com is proud to bring you this exclusive interview with the talented Iranian actor and comedian Maz Jobrani whose work and characters has been featured in many
TV Shows and movies like Sydney Pollack’s
“The Interpreter” with Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn or Ice Cube’s “Friday After Next”...
Read all about his experience as an
Iranian-American, what's going on with him
right now and what we can expect from him in
You were born in Iran but grew up in Marin County, the San Francisco Bay Area. Was this transition difficult for you as a kid in a different environment (growing up between two different cultures)?
I guess that at first it was. I was only 6 when we moved from Iran to the U.S. I played soccer so that helped me blend in. I also think that this was the time I started to get a sense of humor which must have helped me blend in too. Another thing That I would do is I would go shopping with my mom for groceries and while she bought all the fruits and vegetables and good stuff, I would throw bags and bags of chocolate and candy into the cart. I would then take the candy to school and give it to my new friends. You could say I was bribing people into being my friends.
Did you u always had a talent for telling jokes or was it something you gradually got attracted to?
I think at a young age I just saw some of the silly things in life. A lot of my friends tended to be people who had a sense of humor. I like to laugh and that’s been part of my personality for as long as I can remember.
When I watch your stand up shows I see influences of Eddy Murphy’s earlier work like SNL, Raw, Delirious etc... Was he a source of inspiration for you?
Absolutely. I wanted to do standup when I was 17 years old because I’d heard that he’d started out young. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the courage to go on stage for standup at that young of an age. I had been doing plays since I was 12, but standup was a whole other beast. It took me a few more years to try standup. I first did it at 22, then got serious with it at 26.
You have a B.A. in Political Science with a minor in Italian from U.C. Berkeley.
Was this something you always wanted to do, a safety net, or more like what your parents wanted you to do ? (as most Iranian parents want their children to be a doctor, lawyer or mohandes and get a stroke when they find out their child wants to be an entertainer).
College seemed like the natural place for me to go after high school. I wanted to study acting in college, but as you say, my parents wanted me to be a lawyer or a doctor. I had absolutely no interest in being a doctor, so I studied political science in the hopes of going to law school and becoming a lawyer. My junior year at Berkeley I took a year and studied abroad in Italy. There I had this professor that I thought was amazing. I decided I wanted to emulate him and be a professor. So, when I came back to the States I applied for grad school in Political Science. I got into UCLA’s Ph.D. program for poli. Sci., but at the same time I started auditioning for plays at the UCLA theatre department. I got into a few of their plays and realized that acting was my real passion. It had been a few years that I hadn’t really done any because I had followed the path my parents had wanted me to follow. But by the time I started grad school at UCLA I was mature enough to realize I had to do what I wanted to do with my life and that meant acting. I dropped out of grad school and started auditioning for independent films in LA. I then got a job at an advertising agency to help pay the bills. I decided I would act as a hobby and I got into a play. It wasn’t until I was 26 when I decided that I was going to pursue acting professionall...