Despite the growing hatred between Israel and Iran, there is still one Persian issue that we can all agree on: Asie Mohtarez is funny.
Mohtarez came to the U.S. following the Iranian Revolution in 1979 and she is now blowing up New York comedy clubs with jokes about her family, her religion and her New Jersey upbringing. The Brooklynite sat down with Heeb to talk about her formative years, her introduction to corrupt politics and the importance of “bro-ing out.”
So what’s your story? How did you end up a comedian?
Oof. This is like online dating profiles, where you go to fill it out but then you’re like, “I have no idea what I am about at all.”
I was born in Iran during the revolution, or like a little bit after the revolution. My parents moved to that States when I was about 5 or 6. I won a certificate for learning English in one month.
Very well done.
Thank you, thank you very much I hope somebody still has it. So then they moved to New Jersey of all places.
How was growing up in Jersey?
I excelled in math and science like a good Persian kid. I had a really big nose and like really big hair ad a really big mouth–
So people thought you were Jewish?
Yeah, let’s say I fit in with the Italians and the Jews really well.
As soon as I was in honors and AP classes and stuff, all my best friends were last named Horowitz, and I just found my home. We played Dave Matthews, smoked Marlboro lights and used a lot of LA Looks in our hair. We were cut from the same cloth. I got on really well with my friends because we had in common dysfunctional families.
So what was your foray into politics like?
I graduated college with a socio-political philosophy degree. So after school I worked on Capitol Hill and it was amazing. I met like the Dalai Lama and Sandra Day O’Connor and Colin Powell, which blew my mind. I wore a lot of suits. I worked for a great member of congress. I worked really hard to get that job and I worked really hard at that job. But then my boss went to jail for accepting bribery.
Yeah, but before that time I had started taking improv classes at the DC improv. I would just say inappropriate things; some people would find it funny some people would be like, “Oh my G-d.” My mom was always pulling me into conversations. My mom would be like do that accent, or do that accent or do that dance for us. I was like a monkey. So after my boss got indicted I moved to New York.
I realized I don’t envy female screenwriters or whatever what I envied was comics and that’s what I would watch on TV and on the computer and read about. So I took a stand up comedy class. Comedy was probably the first thing that I was interested in enough to keep doing.
So what were you doing in Scranton last week?
I pay my bills by being a professional makeup artist. So I was there doing hair and makeup and some wardrobe for a movie that a bunch of my comic friends shot. And it was really a great experience.
In New York if you want to hang out with people you have to go to a bar or some fuckin’ rooftop party. And it was really nice to just hang out together around a table on a patio or in a backyard, and just bullshit. It’s nice, as a woman, to have some male energy. It’s good to balance being around your girlfriends the whole time and go shopping and talking and ra-ra-ra with hanging out with dudes and just… oh, bro-ing out. Yes, bro-ing out. Maybe next time they’ll actually cast me.
Asie Mohtarez blogs at http://asie.tumblr.com and will be appearing at Al and Mia’s wedding on Long Island this Sunday, September 5.