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. ;)
|Recently by Monda||Comments||Date|
|Dance in Iranian Movies|
|Jun 17, 2012|
|Feb 08, 2012|
|Sing for You|
|Jan 17, 2012|
|نسرین ستوده: زندانی روز||Dec 04|
|Saeed Malekpour: Prisoner of the day||Lawyer says death sentence suspended||Dec 03|
|Majid Tavakoli: Prisoner of the day||Iterview with mother||Dec 02|
|احسان نراقی: جامعه شناس و نویسنده ۱۳۰۵-۱۳۹۱||Dec 02|
|Nasrin Sotoudeh: Prisoner of the day||46 days on hunger strike||Dec 01|
|Nasrin Sotoudeh: Graffiti||In Barcelona||Nov 30|
|گوهر عشقی: مادر ستار بهشتی||Nov 30|
|Abdollah Momeni: Prisoner of the day||Activist denied leave and family visits for 1.5 years||Nov 30|
|محمد کلالی: یکی از حمله کنندگان به سفارت ایران در برلین||Nov 29|
|Habibollah Golparipour: Prisoner of the day||Kurdish Activist on Death Row||Nov 28|