That's Funny

Comedians Tissa Hami and Amir Malekpour


That's Funny
by Monda

Interviews with Amir Malekpour and Tissa Hami who will be performing standup comedy "There are No Gays in Iran" show with Mehran and Max Amini on Friday March 12 at San Francisco's Cafe du Nord.

When did you first realize you were funny?

AMIR: That's a tough question to ask because it's hard to remember the first time you did anything, except maybe when you had sex, because it was awkward and there were clowns everywhere. I guess maybe that one time when I was a baby, probably 2 years old and I fell out of a moving car and hit pavement. Then I started crying and everyone just laughed and laughed. Just kidding, that never happened. I will say this, for as long as I can remember, I have always enjoyed making people laugh.

TISSA: I was never the class clown.  I was always the quiet kid in the back who made the occasional wisecrack that made the few students around me laugh.  The first time I realized I was funny was in 8th grade, in an American History class.  It was one of those days right before school vacation, when the teacher knows there's no point in teaching anything because everybody's brain is already on vacation.  So, she thought up a fun game for us where we learned American proverbs – things like "a stitch in time saves nine" and "a penny saved is a penny earned." Only she left the end of the proverbs blank and had us fill them in with funny responses, then the class voted for our favorites.  She put this one up on the board: "God helps those who help _________."  One kid said "their parents," another kid said "the church."  I raised my hand and said "him get a Goddess."  There was a pause when everyone in the room fell silent.  Then the room erupted in laughter.  I think they were laughing in part because it was funny, and in part because they didn't expect little quiet (and smart and nerdy) Tissa to say something so funny and somewhat sacrilegious.  Needless to say, my entry won the vote for that proverb.

Does one train to become a comedian? How do you do it?

TISSA: I took a six-session class in stand-up comedy at the Boston Center for Adult Education, but I think my best "training" came from everyday conversations with friends and co-workers.  Unbeknownst to me, I was cracking jokes left and right in reaction to everything we talked about.  I didn't even think I was funny and I certainly wasn't trying to be – that's just how I talked – but everyone around me was always laughing at everything I said.  They were the ones who suggested I go into stand-up comedy.

AMIR: Yes, absolutely. The cliché' answer is that you have to constantly write new jokes and get on stage and perform as much as you can. Its cliché, but it's kind of true too. You pretty much have to be performing somewhere everyday of the week, whether it is to 400 people or 8 or 2. You also have to push yourself to be original. It may surprise people, but anyone can be funny once in a while, but a comedian has to be consistently funny to all sorts of different crowds, pretty much all the time, and still be original. To me the originality and the integrity is just as much a part of being a comedian as being hilarious.

Do you ever crack up at your own jokes when you're on stage?

AMIR: Sometimes, it just depends. But I always have a great time, especially during shows with smart and easy going crowds.

TISSA: Only when I forget my lines.

Are there any differences between American and Iranian audiences?

TISSA: Iranian audiences are hairier.  And blonder.  And more judgmental.

AMIR: I have not had a chance to perform in front of an Iranian only audience; so this will be a first and I am really excited about it. I know some Iranians have come to watch me and have enjoyed it, but I wouldn't know about the difference in the audience. I feel that in order to enjoy my comedy, you don't really need to belong to a certain demographic. As long as you're a smart person who is easy going and has a sense of humor, you'll enjoy it. It's pretty much geared towards people who I would enjoy hanging out with.

What is the difference between Gays and Iranians audiences?

AMIR: I have done a few shows in predominately gay venues and they have been amazing. Like I said before I have had Iranian audience member come up to me and said they enjoyed my act, but I have never performed exclusively to Iranian audiences.  This should be an amazing show. I can’t wait to perform in the show.

TISSA:  Let's just say that there isn't going to be a gay pride parade in downtown Tehran anytime soon.  ;)

Tickets: "There are No Gays in Iran" comedy show, San Francisco, March 12, 2010


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by yolanda on

Wow! So comedy is a diuretic! LOL!


I wish I could have been there

by Latina on

Well hopefully, I will be able to visit in the summer. Who knows maybe there will be something for me to watch.

Good night everyone!


MPD, I was wondering about your frequent trips..

by Monda on

out of you seat...khoob ke khair bood :o)


I'm hoping for some clips on IC too

by Monda on

My daughter had left her camera in the car (as usual) so I was counting on JJ and others with that task.  I can't blame any one in particular though for neglecting to record the event, they were all busy laughing their tails off:o))

Multiple Personality Disorder

Thank Monda & all who helped for a great night of entertainment

by Multiple Personality Disorder on

I had a great time.  I had to pee a lot since the show was so funny.


Khosh Begzareh

by divaneh on

Dear Monda, thanks for the good interview. Would be nice to load some clips in the IC after the event.


Anonymouse, Princess khoshgeleh, yahoo_yabo va Red Wine jan

by Monda on

jaatoono kheili khali mikonim.  Thank you for your comments.


sima azizam,

by Monda on

Yes Tissa and Amir are Wonderful! I appreciate all your help and support with this event.  Looking forward to laughing my head off with you and our others friends Friday night :o)


Admiral's letter to Mr Abdul Aziz Khani

by yaboo_yahoo on

Mr Abdul Aziz, please attend the Gay showing on Friday March 12.  Please dye your hair blond, black and purple.   Wear leather outfit.

Please video tape all Iranian looking folks entering the main venue.

Kindly submit the video to :

Islamic Republic of Iran

Daftere Itelaate Khareji

3245 Mir Damadi Street Tehran IR

For your own safety, be on the lookout for an extremely heavy set lady with curly wavy hair, wearing spandex and jeans on top of it.  She is a biological and chemical hazard especially if she buys any food.  Follow her but keep away from the stink bomb- unfortuately the Fat never burns out.

Yours Respectfully,

Admiral Fardin Hedayat


Great interview, thanks!

by sima on

It's really nice to have a sense of Tissa and Amir before the show. I have not seen either before and can't wait for Friday night. Princess jan we will definitely khali your ja! We'll think of all of the IC regulars who can't be there! We are very lucky.

Red Wine


by Red Wine on

Monda jan thank you very much for this my dear :=) .


Wish you could come :o)

by Monda on

Can't wait to be there!

Anahid Hojjati

Monda jan,thanks for interviewing Tissa Hami and Amir Malekpour

by Anahid Hojjati on


Monda jan, I enjoyed reading the interview.  I have seen Tissa on TV and I also saw a live performance by Max Amini.  They are both great. I am looking forward to the show.


Monda jaan!

by Princess on

Thank you for conducting this interview with Tissa and Amir. The Comedy Night promises to be a lot of fun. I wish I could've been there. Enjoy! Jaaye maa-ro ham khaali koneed.




hey someone, tape record and spread on video

by yahoo_yabo on

I encourage someone with a hidden camera to go and video tape the whole thing....this way you save yourself a buck or two....

looking forward to sharing the video via video sharing technology....yeah freedom means FREE


JJJ's Maryam post can definately be used 2 pick him in audience!

by Anonymouse on

Everything is sacred.



by tissa on

Looking forward to the show!