There’s a good chance you’ve never heard of Ideene Dehdashti, but that’s all about to change. The Michigan born Iranian-American comedian/actor recently created a really funny skit that’s gone viral, and she’s hungry to make her mark on the entertainment industry.
After spending a few days around Ideene, it became clear that she possesses that ‘it’ factor. You know, that thing you can’t quite teach or describe, but easily recognize when you find it in another person: a marked charisma commensurate with a unique perspective and talent. Whether speaking to strangers or friends, she’s always ‘on’. She’s funny, period, and it’s not an act. It’s just Ideene being Ideene.
The Iranian caught up with Ideene to talk about her skit, Iranian culture and future plans:
The Iranian: What’s been the most surprising thing to come out of the “Persian and Proud” skit you posted on Facebook?
Ideene Dehdashti: The support and the feedback! The number of shares from friends, and friends of friends really has made my heart fuzzy. I rarely post anything that I create on Facebook. Ya’ know, I put a picture of me in a bathing suit and next thing I know I’m getting texts from my Ameh to take down the “lokht” photos because people in Iran “harfmezanan.” Those kind of comments get really annoying fast. So obviously it’s discouraging to post anything without worrying everyone and their Persian grandmother is going to judge you. And then, at some point it hits you that you will never be anywhere if you don’t take risks and go for it, so I finally grew the balls — eyyy bitarbiat! Sorry for the language, doktare khoobam, I swear. Let me try it again: so I finally got the COURAGE to post it and it felt awesome.
The Iranian: You are very much a free spirit. Have your parents embraced your non-traditional path?
Ideene Dehdashti: *Hahah* Well, I would like to say “yes” with open furry arms, but that hasn’t always been the case. My parents are adorable and if I had to put them on a spectrum from super strict traditional Iranian parents to chill, I would put them at a 6. I got really lucky, they didn’t force me to do something I didn’t want to, but of course like any Iranian parent they were hoping I would become an engineer or doctor.
I started out in television and my dad was really excited when he thought I was going to be the next Christiane Amanpour. Then one day, I’m living in New York City, working at NBC Universal and I call them up to tell them I’m quitting my job to travel the world alone for one year–mmm, that doesn’t make any parent feel too good, ESPECIALLY WHEN I HAD MY OWN CUBICLE WITH MY NAME ON IT INSIDE ROCKEFELLER CENTER!
The Iranian: So you quit your job, decided to travel the world for fun and lost your cubicle. How are your parents dealing with it?
Ideene Dehdashti: Yea, the cubicle *lol* it’s all about the cubicle. But yea, I’m definitely not your average Iranian daughter and I know it’s hard for them when I’m traveling around the world every other day and other Persians ask them what I’m doing and they have no real answer, because they have no clue. That’s where the pain and stress creeps in, if Iranians could stop being so nosy about what other peoples’ children are doing I think our culture would find a little more inner peace. Thankfully my sister is a doctor, so 50% of their offspring provides bragging rights.
The Iranian: What got you started in this industry or inspired you to pursue television?
Ideene Dehdashti: My entire inspiration and motivation for going into this industry is because of my grandmother. She was visiting the US to take care of me when I was little and I was really upset when she had to go back to Iran. We used to watch General Hospital together and when she was leaving, which was the day before my 1st day of first grade, I remember her telling me that she would be watching from Iran and I would be watching from America so it would be like we were watching it together. So somehow in my twisted brain I did the math and figured out that if I got on television somehow, grandma would be able to watch me from Tehran — so that was that, the decision was made. *laughter* Maybe if someone explained to me that we had completely different TV networks and some channels were blocked there and she’d never be able to see me, maybe this all would have gone down differently. I probably would’ve had a PhD by now…. SIKE!
The Iranian: What would surprise others to know about you?
Ideene Dehdashti: I travel the world asking strangers to do pushups with me, it is as weird as it sounds. There is a video of this coming out soon. Also, I have a pretty nifty PEZ collection.
The Iranian: I know that you go back to Iran often so get this, Tehran was recently voted by Ipsos, a well-respected French institution, as the worst global city in the world — your thoughts?
Ideene Dehdashti: The worst?!
The Iranian: Yea.
Ideene Dehdashti: That makes me really sad. Last year I was living in Dubai for a short stint and travelled to Tehran four times. I love going there. As soon as I step into the airport that familiar smell of B.O. rises up into my senses, and it always makes me smile because it’s an immediate reminder that grandma’ and kabob are near. It’s disturbing — yet, comforting.
As for it being the worst global city in the world, that’s simply not true. Will it ever make it to the top 20 cities to go on your honeymoon, hell no. But Tehran is a beautiful city with a unique personality of its own and until people go see it for themselves, it’ll remain one of the world’s best kept secrets.
The Iranian: Speaking of Iran, what’s the funniest thing that’s happened when visiting?
Ideene Dehdashti: Guys throwing their telephone numbers at me through car windows and having NO ONE in my family realize it. Iranian dudes have mastered the art of this, it’s seriously impressive.
The Iranian: Is trolling a problem for you on social media?
Ideene Dehdashti: I don’t go out of my way to piss people off or hurt anyone’s feelings. I love the kind of comedy where people get a laugh AND a message out of it, that’s where the magic is for me. Comedy is truth+pain. You’re never going to get everyone to like what you’re saying, *haha* especially in our culture and that is the part I need to continuously remind myself.
The Iranian: Who is your favorite comedian right now?
Ideene Dehdashti: Sebastian Maniscalco. Check him out if you haven’t heard of him, he is amazing. He’s an Italian from Chicago and has an addicting accent which apparently I’ve adopted–that’s how much I watch him.
The Iranian: Do you have a go-to dance track?
Ideene Dehdashti: Sara Bareilles- “Brave” – Every morning in my apartment is a dance party, with a side of coffee.
The Iranian: Any tips for asking a cute Iranian guy on a date?
Ideene Dehdashti: I can’t say I’ve ever done that, but I did meet a half Italian-half Iranian once, which by the way IS MY KRYPTONITE. “So, do you cook kabob,” I sheepishly asked. He responded with a sexy smile and said, “No, never. I’m a model and I live in Milan.” And that folks is what I call an “Iranian Unicorn.” He was yummy. Stupid for sure, but yummy.
But sorry, *haha* I don’t think I answered the question. Hmm, a good tip for asking out a cute Iranian guy. Well, here’s some solid advice a wise old man once shared with me. Keep a “khorma” in your pocket at all times and when the opportunity presents itself, walk up to the person and take the khorma out of your pocket and ask them if they want to “date”— it’ll make them laugh and also want to punch you, which to me is a win.
The Iranian: So, what’s your next project?
Ideene Dehdashti: Currently working on a script with my writing partner and also filming episode two.
The Iranian: Any stand-up comedy on the horizon?
Ideene Dehdashti: Yea, my one hour Netflix special should be airing soon. *Hahahah* Juuust kidddinggggggg. Doing some smaller shows in NYC this month.
“Persian and Proud” by Ideene Dehdashti: