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Iran In The News And On A Comedian's Mind


The from on Broadcast Center at KPCC. This is the frame I'm John. Here's what's coming up during these tense times for. US US Orion relations Iranian American. COMEDIANS are nor Bosch Finds Hope in comedy. Comedy is a celebration the odd celebration of the tensions of the world and I think one of the reasons why am comedian is because when I'm angry at comes out funny then Yahya Abdul Latina second second made a career change and architectures laws was acting gained. And we'll visit the recording studio of the man behind the DAF tone sound. It's the frame. We'll be right back. 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 self identified bisexual Iranian feminist Muslim woman in a relationship with a SYS- gender and Hetero Barista turned medical student. Why do white boyfriend man? And I've never really fit fit in in any one community or place or box and I'm always finding community in my lived experiences and showcasing. My lived experiences is in my shows and performances and jokes the pop culture collaborative was a great opportunity for me to really look at my life in comedy and how I came came to formulate material the way that I have and you know like why I have my identity up at the top where our notions of humor come from. And what is the the weight of education that we put on people of Color Pupil who we perceive. It's different than ourselves on stage to educate us that slows down our jokes. We have to do all this work to establish a new context for people. That's different than the one there pummeled with in popular media And and it takes time and what a lot of people do is rely on stereotypes. And I think those distillation 's you you know the the oversimplifying narratives that stereotypes are Is One way that I create differences complicating the narrative as much as I I can but that's really tricky because once you start to identify and kind of poke fun at the stereotype you can actually solidify it. I mean I think no matter what what I found is when it comes to confirmation bias people are gonNA walk away believing whatever they want but amazingly I found that it's quantity over quality and the best example of this is Fox News. It's not about how good the argument is is about. How often you hear it? I think the best thing we can do right now is flood the world with gorgeous stories complicated stories messy stories that defy expectation and all the tidy ways we want to create good guys bad guys and the more we do it the more often often we can do it. And the less we focus on how perfect it is. I think that's really you know where it's at so given what's going on do you WanNa go out and grab a microphone or or you WanNa go hide somewhere. All I'm grabbing. A couple of microphones. I'm headed up to San Francisco for sketch fast. You can catch me there this weekend. I'm giving a tedtalk on comedy. Nobody in cinema and I'll also be performing at Ashburton Berkeley. It's what I do. I got to get up on stage in. Share it Zardo Rush. Thanks for coming in. Thank you for having me Zoro. Noorbasha is also the CO host of a podcast called good Muslim bad Muslim. Coolum coming up on the frame actor Ya Ya Abdul Mateen. The second had a case of the Blues as Dr Manhattan on. HBO's Watchmen Welcome back to the frame. I'm John Horn Yahya. Ah Abdul Mateen. The second ended twenty nineteen with a huge role. In one of the year's most talked about shows he was Dr Manhattan in. HBO's watchmen this year. He'll start in two high profile movies. Candyman which is written and produced by Jordan Peele Aaron Sorkin the trial of the Chicago seven in the latter. He'll play Bobby Seale the CO founder of the Black Panther Party. That's a lot of success for a guy who started off the last decade fresh out of architecture school school at UC Berkeley yes. Today's show is all about my calbears. It was at Berkeley where Abdul Mateen considered acting as more of an outlet then then a possible career acting was was really a rejection of architecture and and my architecture experience experience at Berkeley it was a very good experience but I found acting when I needed something different. I WanNa ask you about watchmen. One of the things. That's challenging. I would assume about out this part and this is no longer secret is that you're playing a character who has abilities beyond understanding He is transcendent experience. Experienced time is unique and for you particularly infuriating that said I am simultaneously in this bar. Having a conversation with you and on Europa creating life is one life. I do it with the wave of my ahead. When you're thinking about what you're going to embody about Dr Manhattan and about how he is this godly character but he's it also filled with knowledge and kindness? How do you start to figure out how to embody that Mann's excellent excellent question My impulse was to go to neutral but neutral was boring. Neutral was very very boring And then also I knew do that that the challenge was if if I'm to God like then I am not relatable and if I'm too much like a human than I'm not Su- I'm not add special. He's not a God So I really had to slow down my process into into say well you're quote unquote God. Who wants to be a human woman? and what eventually happened was I can only find that in my scene partner. This is Regina Kings. Yeah I love you. Leeches richest man was already before you even saw me. I don't experience the concept concept of before so there is no moment a moment when you realize I'm in love and I was very happy when I saw it I said Oh. Wow okay. There's a really good balance watchmen. It's so much about justice and the way that we'd look at people and particularly the way we look at people like skin skin and you're doing another project that trial the Chicago Seven Monte seal is his tried and treated as if he's not a member of the real world man he is put in prison for contempt of court so even if Aaron Earns Harkins movie is about the trial. I suspect. That's not what it's really about. It's about freedom of speech freedom of speech. It's about being active and seeing seeing something and putting yourself on the line it's about not being passive. Unfortunately I believe the film will resonate in two thousand and twenty. You know when I think right now Definitely Americans even in the world then we have so many comforts that keep us from really speaking out to a against a lot of the injustices in the World Auden and it's definitely The movies definitely saying. Hey wouldn't you if you see something wrong then we gotta get out. Sometimes you gotta take to the streets you gotta put yourself put your comforts on online. We're talking with Yahya Abdul Mateen. Second I'M GONNA ask you out some other projects. Okay so I remember a couple years ago talking with Keith. Stanfield about get Out and he told me being on the set of that film was Super Creepy. That's creepy as it was to watch the film. It was just as creepy to be on. So is the same thing being true for an actor in candy man I I wouldn't I wouldn't say creeping. I wouldn't say academic I could definitely see that being the case and get out. I could definitely see get out being a creepy atmosphere CANDYMAN was was can't even was sneaky. And it catches you it catches you off guard. You know you say Oh oh this is this is not just about the jump scares also you know this is not just about I'll say this subject matter that we're presenting on the surface you know. There were several everyday wear. I left home toward the end of the and I say oh. That's why this movie is important when you are as busy as you are and People WanNa hire you. You're doing a matrix movie Jordan peele thing. Aaron sorkin watchmen. How do you step back and make sure you have perspective on the choices? You're making gene and that they fit in not just in terms of like I want to do some action movie but that you were doing things that are meaningful to you. In the long run I recently switched over to a new agency and One of the first things that I told them I said. Hey Man if you I said I really liked my career thus far but if I take aac mall my projects in my hand and throw them out on the table. I said it doesn't really say anything that says that I can that. I'm versatile actor in that. I can book jobs if I stop there. I think that's that's success as an actor if I look myself in the mirror and I say well how do I want to be remembered. Or what is my cause and and say we'll what do you say that I want my work to represent something larger than myself. Then that's when I have to say okay. Well now we have to be more strategic and say well would we WANNA do next. And that's sort of where I am right now and IT'S A. It's an interesting negotiation because I kind of want to have it all honestly I wanna be able to to say you know what I was just want to go and be a clown this week and I wanna go have fun. And that's not about anything but expressing freedom and putting joy and laughter out into the world and at the same time. I want to be able to do that and then go pick up something like the trout. The SOCOCO seven and talk about a different type of freedom took about the freedom that we fight for Ya. Hi Thanks so much for coming on the show has been definitely pleasure. Gobert yet Gobert said we go you can neck see Ya ya Abdul Katina's second in candyman. It's scheduled for a summer release coming up. Dab Tone records is based in Brooklyn but a lot of it sound comes out of a studio in Riverside in California. Welcome back to the frame. I'm John Horn. If you've listened to music of Sharon Jones and the DAB kings Charles Bradley or the band antibodies. You probably know about Dab tone records the Brooklyn based Indie label was co founded by Gabriel. Roth musician producer and engineer. Who is now based in riverside the frame contributor betto Arcos visited Ross recording studio and has this profile of the man behind the dapper tone sound? It's a Wednesday afternoon dependra studios located needed under second floor of a building in downtown Riverside. Producer Gabriel. Roth is at the helm playing Oregon as the San Diego Based Group V. Sacred Souls rehearses rehearses a song. They're about to record today. Most of the Dapitan records operations is in Brooklyn but about a decade ago. Roth moved here to set up shop and in the past year he noticed a reemerging music scene in southern California. I started to meet more and more musicians out here in kind. Discover this kind of local. Seen this kind resurgence of this. It's hard to say. Resurgence has always been here in California. This kind of Solbes oldies seeing. You know which is you know. Mostly mostly Chicano seen with just a lot of a lot of people out here that have always been into oldies and old soul records. CARRUTH was born into San Bernardino area and grew up in Riverside. And when I was seventeen I moved to New York and I was there for most of my adult life in two thousand one roth and saxophonist. Saxophonist Neal sugarman launch dapitan records and ushered in a revival of soul music since then the label has released more than fifty albums and one hundred and thirty forty five of soul are Mb Funk Gospel Rock afrobeat and Latin Music one adapt owns biggest. Artists is soul singer singer. Sharon Jones Roth produced and wrote most of the songs for her group. The DAB case he recorded hundreds of songs with Jones including fish in the dish from the album natural fish dishes a song I wrote for Sharon and she just dug a teeth into it. Man is a beautiful just hearing the joy when she sings but Jones died about three years ago from pancreatic cancer plan behind Charon was probably the No throwing my life and it was probably in in a lot of ways they always be the high point of my career. You know with her passing. There's there's definitely a little bit disorienting trying to find my footing because I mean it's not as much as like all I got to try to figure out how to make money or hustle or finding other singers and it's not as nothing to do with that it's more about just kind of taking a real step back and be like what do I really have to contribute at this point. You know what I mean. I'm not trying to do what I did again. Another artist whose career was launched by Dapitan records was soul singer. Charles Bradley sadly he died about a year after after Sharon Jones. Charles Bradley has a lot of great songs. Man in you I found a love. That's great one man The world was obviously a big win. The telephone songs one of my every voice you way across the ocean and my love Bradley in Jones put the Brooklyn based label on the map but somewhere along the way roth started to feel a tug in two thousand ten. I believe My wife and I so you know we had. We had our daughter Penelope and stuff and we went to live our lives. We moved back out here moved back to riverside raw found an old building downtown Riverside and rented part of the second floor. There are no computers in the studio. All the music is recorded on analog tape. It's a process that takes a little bit longer a little bit more more more time consuming working with tae working with all the same time twenty nine year old Simone. Guzman has been working as an engineer with depth on record records for the past seven years. The sounds doesn't sound like it. Sounds like recorded by a bunch of people in the same room and they were all and throwing ideas so that in looking back at the success of his work with all these artists Roth now forty five. Says he's in a different phase of his life and career. He has the resources to contribute to the RN be seen in southern California. I'm in a great position to help these younger artists who actually have their own seen. That isn't my scene. There's nothing I create. It's not something that I take. Credit Force lay claim to put my flagging necessarily. But it's something that I feel like you know I I kinda was where they were. Were twenty something years ago me and my friends have kind of seen getting. Oh you sing backgrounds on my record and I'll play based on your record and you know these kind of bands that are working together in in starting to appreciate similar music Dan Flores as a singer in two eastern groups the AL tones and decent sears. Both groups have been recording adaptive studios in Riverside. First of all it's a dream anyone ever asked me what label or anything. I WOULD WANNA do is they would be zone anything associated because I'm a huge fan of all their access ext and next spring the music of both are and be groups will be released on a new dropped on imprint called Penrose for the frame. I'm bet the articles and that is all for today. Don't forget you you can follow us on facebook and twitter. You'll find as at the frame. I'm John Horn. Thanks for listening or back here tomorrow at the Broadcast Center

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