“I hope people realize we all have the same concerns and that we are not the enemy,” Maz Jobrani, a comedian who is also Fawz on CBS show Superior Donuts, said about what he strives to communicate in his work as an entertainer with an Iranian heritage.
Jobrani is the star of his own Netflix special Immigrant – filmed at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts last year – where he cleverly throws stereotypes from all cultures in your face and even takes on the Trump administration, in addition to his television role.
“I wanted to be like Eddie Murphy,” Jobrani said referring to his career. “He had a special filmed at The Kennedy Center, and getting to do that was a dream come true.”
However, before all of this, he came from a humble beginning as a 6-year-old immigrant. He grew up in the greater Los Angeles area with his sister and parents who willed him to become a lawyer.
“When I was in my mid-twenties, I decided you only live one and went for [a career in acting and comedy] one hundred percent!” Jobrani said. He even compared finding his purpose in America to picking an ice cream flavor from the many selections at a Baskin Robin. “It takes time for immigrants to settle in this country to realize they can do whatever they want, like make a living in the arts, because [they] live in America.”
Although success does not come without facing adversity, and for Jobrani it was the obvious fact that he is an immigrant and artist of color, which sometimes brought challenges along his journey.
“Growing up in your culture, you assume that everyone knows your experience,” Jobrani said. “And they don’t.”
Jobrani took pride in working with the creators to make Fawz, a character formerly known as Maz, (crazy coincidence, right?), into a more dynamic representation of a satirical Middle Eastern businessman.
“I thought he should have the accent and say stuff that is outrageous because if it makes Middle America like a Middle Eastern character, then great!” Jobrani said of the primary audience demographic for Superior Donuts.
“If you don’t know someone from another background, go to a restaurant from [that culture]. Meet people. Eat and learn. If you open your eyes and your mind to that, you’ll see that I’m not making it up!” Jobrani said. “And if we can get brown people to continue to reproduce in the U.S., we can Make America Brown Again!”
What lies ahead for Jobrani is creating a way to help spread awareness of Breast Cancer prevention in memory of his sister, who he recently lost to the disease, via her documentary Everything Must Change, and he looks forward to coming back to DC in 2018.
“My pride in DC is the diversity, and the educated, cosmopolitan audience. I feel like they get me!” Jobrani exclaimed.