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Meet Zara Khan

Today we’d like to introduce you to Zara Khan.

Zara, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
It was a dark night, and I was sitting in my therapist’s office, crying. I told her, “I’m so lonely, I want to die.” She looked at me in the eye and said, “I know! You should do standup comedy!”

I said, “I thought you’re supposed to help me with my delusions, not create new ones.” (If you didn’t laugh, that’s okay; that’s technically my first joke.)

I started standup comedy with the hopes of making friends and engaging in a hobby, but the more I did standup, the more I realized that this was my passion. As a mentally ill, Muslim woman, I’m creating relationships with strangers during my set to smash stereotypes. It’s a powerful feeling – one that gives me purpose.

Has it been a smooth road?
It’s been a very rocky road. Islamophobia is a big problem that has interfered with my standup. I produced a show called The Many Faces of Muslim Women, and I received hate comments from people online. Negative relations with other comics who would tell me I’m only successful because I’m Muslim led to decreased self-confidence, isolation, and high stress. But things are a lot better now.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
I am a standup comedian, actor, and writer. I’m known for being the mentally ill, Muslim comic who is single and bad at dating. What sets me apart from others is that I’m driven to do standup not just to make people laugh, but to change people’s views – especially negative and stigmatizing ones.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Orange County is an excellent place to start stand-up comedy. There’s plenty of stage time, less competition, and actual audience members at many open mics. You can bomb all you want. Then, once your material is polished, you go to LA to showcase your set.

Los Angeles could improve by having real audience members go to open mics to support comics (but, they are quite painful, so perhaps that’s not a good suggestion).

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
JBC Images

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