The jokers in the pack

The jokers in the pack

Here we speak to Maz’s supporting acts K-Von and Eman about their time in the business and trip to Dubai

AS MAZ STATED his support act K-Von has a Persian father and a Scottish mother. His comedy often reflects the clashes in culture that many of today’s younger generation can identify with. His material touches on everything from being raised in a Las Vegas based multi-cultural family to some of his more absurd observations regarding the perils of Internet dating.

How does it feel to be performing in Dubai? Have you been here before? What have you heard of the place?

I’m very excited to be in the UAE for the first time. I’ve heard a lot about the extravagant hotels and shopping, but I’m most excited about the beautiful beaches where I plan on swimming daily. I’m a little nervous because if I go too far I could accidentally end up in Iran and I wouldn’t have my passport on me. There’s just no extra space in my Speedo for important documents!

I’ve also heard Dubai is like the Las Vegas of the Middle East. I’m from Las Vegas so I should fit right in. And of course there’s that famous phrase everyone in America knows, “What happens in Dubai… ends up in Bahrain”.

How would you describe your act?

The media has been describing my act lately as “a new brand of ‘Hip-Pop Culture’ comedy”. I think it will go over very well in a place like Dubai. One warning, Persianesque Magazine didn’t call me the “Bad Boy of Persian Comedy” for nothing.

Does it travel well?

My jokes travel very well. They all fit in the overhead compartment! I’m kidding of course, but truthfully Maz has been kind enough to bring me to cities, states, and countries I have never been and in each place the stories have been well received and it has felt fantastic.

Why did you get into stand-up? What is it about the job that you love?

Stand-up mixes my three main goals… travel, making people laugh, and get paid big bucks. So far, I’m getting two out of three… but I’m not telling you which!

Did you ever have another profession in mind?

The timing was amazing. Maz Jobrani liked that I had a Persian background and invited me on the ‘Brown and Friendly Comedy Tour’ about the same time I received an acceptance letter to law school! I chose to go with Maz. So I’m one of the few that didn’t go to law school because I’m Persian. My family wasn’t thrilled with that decision so I framed that letter and sent it to them as a consolation.

What has been your favourite role in front of camera so far?

The Style Network selected me to participate in a cooking show last year. If you go on my website you will see a clip of it. It was great because they told me I was selected because I made a traditional Persian dish. So I beat out 900 other guys and was able to share Zereshke Polo and Joojeh Kabob with the world. To date it’s one of my most watched videos on Youtube. The only down side is now on every date the women expect me to cook for them!

Are there any crowds you perform in front of that scare you?

I have yet to be in front of a crowd scares me. At the end of the day, this is only comedy. The worst thing that can happen is the audience just stares at you. Sometimes it can be so quiet you can hear people blinking! But in America it’s not like were going to get physically hurt or arrested for a bad joke (thank God!). I think maybe performing live in the courtyard of a prison might make me a little uneasy. Based on some emails I’ve received, inmates don’t seem to appreciate my brand of humour.

What are your expectations for the show in Dubai?

For the last few weeks I’ve been awakening from the same dream. There I am performing in Dubai for all the richest people in the world. Sultans, kings, queens, and foreign diplomats from Asia are in attendance. There are even a few prime ministers hanging out as well. After the show a princess from a far off country that I did not know existed (and can’t pronounce) approaches me. The crowd gasps, taken by her beauty, and parts for her as she walks up to me in slow motion. She looks me in the eye and says, “Excuse me, will Maz Jobrani be signing autographs tonight and which way is the bathroom?”

Eman Morgan began his quest into fulfilling his lifelong dream of being a stand-up eight years ago. Although making a tentative start he quickly rose through the ranks and has now fulfilled his ambition of making a living out of making people laugh. Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, Eman is of Egyptian heritage and grew up in a diverse community. He attributes this to helping him refine the art of performing for anyone at anytime. He is now one of the few stand-ups in the world that performs full acts in both Arabic and English.

When did you begin doing separate shows in Arabic?

I started doing it a couple of years ago and it’s gone really well. It is really tough but at the same time there is a lot of room for growth. I come from an Egyptian background and so Egyptian comedy is in my blood. It was my first experience of comedy - watching Egyptian plays. The routine is completely different in Arabic from English.

How are they different?

In Arabic it’s observational stuff that I see around my house with my mum and dad. In English it is primarily things I have encountered or been through myself. I include some autobiographical material too but it is mainly my experiences when I am performing in English.

Is this your first time to the region?

This is my first time here. It’s been tremendous. It’s been nothing but a great big welcome. There are some great people here and it’s always interesting to see the different people that come to the shows, it’s a warm and humbling experience. In the US I play to a young Middle-Eastern following but here everyone turns up to laugh.

Even though you are an American by birth does it feel like a homecoming at all, returning to your parents’ roots?

My roots are definitely around here and even though I was born and raised in LA, my parents brought me up knowing about Egyptian culture, language and tradition. Even though I am American I still know the culture and respects of the region. My parents did a very good job of instilling both worlds into me.

With what sounds like a traditional Middle Eastern upbringing how did you find your way into stand-up as a career?

I have an addiction to laughing. I am constantly looking for a good laugh and good jokes. I was exposed to laughing a lot very young. I never had a babysitter or child minder so when my mum was doing the dishes she would have me watch Egyptian plays. There weren’t any cartoons or dramas just funny Egyptian plays. All I remember was just laughing and picking up on all the gestures. I started out in 2001 doing sketch shows and produced small plays-anything I could get my hands on. After two years I got up enough courage to do stand-up. I was very self critical but never quit.

And how did your parents react when you told them this I what you want to do?

They were very against it. They wanted me to take a typical well-paid job. They only saw me perform for the first time in September of this year after eight years of doing this. After the show my mum told me that I had made her the happiest she has ever been. It was rewarding to hear that from her because she is very blunt. This was the biggest highlight of my career so far and proved that sticking with it was worth it.

What are your aspirations after being in the business for eight years?

To be honest I have been offered auditions for stuff on TV but I have to focus on stand-up. There are many more things to be achieved. Unlike many people in this business my goal is not to get into film and music through stand-up. I do stand-up because I love it. Maybe in the future I’d like to be a producer and writer for TV but nothing in front of the camera.

What are your thoughts leading up to the show in Dubai?

I’m looking forward to the energy. It is still overwhelming that I get to travel the world and make people laugh.

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