"Welcome to the frame. I'm John Horn. Yesterday morning. We began again looking for an Iranian American creative type. Who could talk about possessing that identity? During these ten times our news clerk Andrea Gutierrez suggested Azzaro newer bosh a comedian whose bicultural identity is a key part of her stand up Act Zara. I am a feminist Muslim iranian-american. The American comedian. It doesn't always go that way. When Zora took her seat in our studio yesterday afternoon she hadn't heard the news that Iran had just launched missiles at American targets in Iraq? While oh yeah I didn't check the news today And I actually haven't been looking at the news because when the first mention of war with Iran came up I just they couldn't handle the click bait flare of headlines about my family and their lives lives so I just had to turn it off and wait for news from family members. Told me a little bit about your family coming to the states during the revolution where you grew up I was born. In Sacramento of my birth certificate. Is Public Record. Go look it up. My nuclear family lives here. When the Iranian Revolution broke out we couldn't go back And were left in a position much like we are in right now wondering what's the come When can we go back one? We'll things chill out. When can we see my grandma? I aunts uncles cousins and here we are again. I only went to Iran when I was fourteen and there was this window of time where things look like. Maybe they're working out. There was a feminist inclined. Leader her And things looked like maybe it's changing and I got to meet my aunts and uncles and cousins and grandma for the first time and I didn't WanNa leave the it was my first experience of just unconditional love as a teenager in a Nirvana era and we came back home and my dad came into my room and he said Were Staying Watch. Vh One and a catch up because because up until that point I was raised as though we were going to go back because my parents want me to experience a culture shock if we you went back and when my parents decided that we were for sure staying I wasn't at home in any culture and VH1 did help a lot. So I studied theater like you did at UC Berkeley. I ended up doing public radio. You ended up doing comedy. Is there a natural path from cal to what you're doing today. Oh absolutely I studied theater I studied Meta theater. The contracts that create a theater around us places that we don't see theater that are like the news and I just released a report on. Stand up comedy and all the things that we find funny and why it's like a farm-to-table field guide on jokes. Wchs you could find a pop culture. Collaborative website pop co lab dot org slash. Funny is funny and yeah I mean I don't know what's is it like for you to. I feel like anybody who studied theater right now. must feel a little bit out of body because there or is such a theater to everything going on right now that everything is performance in a way. Yes yeah I think that's true. Let me ask you this. I I studied theater and I did as a final project in one class. I had to do stand up comedy I bombed. Do you remember the first time that you went out and did stand up. Was it an open mic. Oh my God. I'll never forget how I was at a place called the Brainwash Caffeine Seabra Cisco it was Like A hazing For All comics. I mean you had to go to the brainwashed. I think people still do and I met Ali Wong. She started the same night as me. Wait Alley was going the first night her own stand up the same notice you yup. That's good company. And she killed it. I totally only bombed and I just wanted to try it again. And that's when I knew I was a comic. I think that's when you know. Is You bomb. And you're like I really WanNa try that again. People always think comics are brave. And I'm like no we have a deluded sense of optimism we're talking with comedians are a nor bash. I WANNA play a little bit from standup piece that you've done. I Say I'm Iranian. People get scared by this. I like to have fun with it. I like to sit in the front row of nuclear physics classes. Excuse me professor this plutonium the crates. I WanNa ask you not so much about that joke but about your own identity and how it became part of your comedy was that always always us. You know it's funny when you played that joke because about two weeks ago a friend of mine was like. Isn't this kind of getting a little old. And here we are With the whole new sense of stakes Identity so very soon in my career as a stand up comedian. I realized that if I don't say who who I am and what I believe in at the top of my set. Everyone will wonder the whole time. I'm talking about farts and WCHS and poop jokes and so whether I wanted to or not I had to understand my political identity and yet you wrote in The New York Times a couple of years ago about how some of your humor was received and how you felt a part of that narrative and this is what you wrote i. I tried to humanize Muslim families with my one woman show. All Atheists are Muslim showing the story of moving in with my white atheist college boyfriend and telling my parents about the message. The audience was meant to be left with was that if total nonbelievers and Muslims can find common ground then everyone in between should be able to unsurprisingly. None of this worked. Yeah because what would end up happening is after shows people would come up to me and say well. You're one of the good Muslims and that it's is that confirmation bias just they would just take me and relegate me to the part of their brain that accepted people and go back to demonizing everyone else. Let's explain the good Muslim versus the bad Muslim. Because that's part of what you talk about. How would you define a no win situation? The the things that make you acceptable or like a friend to one community is what demonize you to another things that make it with one group of people break it with another. There's no winning and regardless your character is up for question it's a witch trial. So what do you say to yourself. What is my role as comic? Do I not worry about the outcomes. How do you process those guns reactions? You know the most powerful the thing that I've come to realize for me is that it's never up to any one individual. I think the most important thing that we as Americans need to know is that we are part collective that we need community. We need infrastructure that there is not one strategy that there's narrative strategy there's cultural change their policy change there's infrastructural change we need all of it and all of it needs to be doing the work and I don't think that it's right to put all all of that weight on any one person's shoulders we all have a role to play and we need to do the best job we've ever done ever this year. You have a great title senior fellow on comedy for Social Change With the pop culture collaborative. What is that? And how are you you finding allies in what it is you're trying to do. I find allies with people who have intersecting experiences With me I am. I am a bisexual"