AMIR KAMYAB: Comedian. Actor. Writer.
The SEXIEST Iranian Comedian around.
Why is he so sexy? Let us count the ways:
Do we really have to point out the obvious? Look. At. His. Picture. Its pretty obvious why we are so obsessed.
Amir K. isn’t your typical struggling artist. Not only is he educated, but did we mention how TALENTED he is? Plus, Farrah has a fattie crush on him, so how can we NOT call attention to our favorite clown?
Most importantly, he’s out there breaking stereotypes everyday through laughter. Screw Farrah’s psycho ass, we love Amir K., not just because he’s damn good at accents, but he brings all different types of people together through his passion: his jokes.
The S&F team caught up with Amir K. to find out if he ever had a hard time gaining acceptance from his Persian dad when he decided he wanted to become a comedian (in reality, we just wanted to learn the ways to win over his heart).
- Where are you originally from?
I was born in Tehran, Iran and came out to Southern California at the age of three. I pretty much grew up there and went to high school in Villa Park, and UCLA for college.
After college, I bought a place in Huntington Beach and did real estate for awhile. I ended up eventually moving back to LA and started to follow my dreams, which is stand-up comedy.
- Was it a difficult transition for you when you moved to California from Iran?
I was so young that I didn’t really have a hard time. But, my mom couldn’t speak English when we first came here, so we all had to go through it together. The adapting was much easier because I was so young, it would have been much harder to adjust if I had come as a teen. But at the age that I moved to the U.S., its easier to learn new languages. I can speak Spanish too, so I’m really glad that it happened at that time of my life.
- How did you deal with the cultural conflict of being Iranian and American?
My experience growing up was not typical. We didn’t live in a neighborhood with too many Iranian people. The Iranian culture I knew came from my grandparents when they would come to visit from Iran, and from my parents. My family was never the super super overwhelming Iranian type. We celebrate a little bit of everything. At Thanksgiving, we have turkey and Persian food. We celebrate Christmas too, and eat Persian food and ham. I love it.
I didn’t really have too many Persian friends growing up. In my high school, there were probably three Persian kids and I was two of them.
- Were you ever “hated on” for being an Iranian?
Even if I don’t have a beard, I always have a little stubble…
(Did we mention we love that?)
… and when I’m in places like Arizona or Montana, some people automatically think that I’m some Muslim guy just based on the way I look. Sometimes I’ll play an Iranian character for one of my jokes and its so funny to see how people to respond to that. Even in places like Vegas where so many people from Middle America come to visit, you see these “red-necky” people in the audience and they automatically think I’m the Muslim guy I’m playing.
It’s so easy to get people to preconceive something about you, especially if you speak or look a certain way.
Its always interesting to see how people respond to a certain character — sometimes they really think that you ARE that character, when you’re not.
But, I think I grew up in a pretty cool area. People just weren’t prejudiced. Of course, we joked around, but we all made fun of each other whether we are Iranian, Mexican, Asian, etc. But it wasn’t in a malicious or cruel way, we were just having fun. California is a liberal place.
- Were your Persian parents strict?
I was really scared of my dad. He is your typical Middle Eastern dad. My mom was always cool, but my dad was very disciplined. My parents divorced when I was very young, actually two years after we came to the U.S. So my brother and I lived with my mom in the beginning, and then, when we got older and required discipline, we moved in with my dad. Especially because I was getting in trouble being the class clown.
We still spent a lot of time with my mom during that time, which I thought was a good balance. We weren’t JUST Momma’s boys. My dad was the “tough love” parent, but it was a good love. I’m glad that it happened because it made me into who I am today. My dad taught me to be more street smart, he taught me how to handle business and to do ANYTHING in life.
- How did your family feel about your career change to comedy?
I would have started stand-up a lot sooner had it not been for my father. It has always been my dream to do stand up. But for our culture, its not the easiest thing to do. Your parents respond, THAT’S what you’re going to do? Stand-up isn’t a viable career option for Iranians. They look at you like some street performer. So I did the school thing for my dad and when I first started doing comedy, my parents didn’t see it as a successful career path. But once they saw my show and saw that I actually had talent, they opened up to it.
There is honestly nothing I’d rather do, there is nothing else I CAN do. I’d rather kill myself than not do stand-up anymore.
- Your Persian dad is better than ours because…
… Because he had a mustache when I was a kid. It was really cool. I always wanted to grow one because my dad had a cool one. Then he shaved it when I was about 15 years old. I was disappointed because once he shaved it off, all my dreams were crushed.
- Did you ever rebel?
I didn’t rebel purposely. I was so scared of my dad. I wasn’t scared of any authority other than my dad. So if I got in trouble, if I was drinking with my buddies and the police came, I wasn’t scared of the police… I was scared of my dad. My brother was super studious and he had great grades, and I was just the opposite. I was social, I went to school to hang out with my friends. I think that was my form of rebellion.
I would get in trouble everyday, but I wasn’t doing it intentionally.
- What do you love about Persian girls?
I love Persian girls, but I haven’t been around a lot except at UCLA. Persian girls are really beautiful. That’s my favorite part– how beautiful they are.
- What do you hate about Persian girls?
Sometimes you come across those Persian girls that are super annoying, like those Beverly Hills ones- The Beverly Hills Persian girls are so high maintenance and materialistic. I know its a stereotype, but they are like that in SOME parts of L.A.
- Ever dated a Persian girl?
My girlfriend in college was half Iranian and half Irish– she was from England. Every experience I’ve had with a Persian girl is a different type, they’re never your stereotypical Persian chick. I’m not biased in anyway, I’m definitely not against dating a Persian chick, I just haven’t been in a serious relationship with too many. I don’t have a specific type.
- What’s the worst part about sleeping with a broken heart?
Just thinking about the other person, and going to bed and not knowing if they’re thinking about you. Getting emotional about it and just having them on your mind all the time. Everything reminds you of them.
- Are you a player?
I’m a suuuuuper nice guy. No games. I just like someone in a relationship that likes the fact that I’m a comedian. If you can’t take a joke or handle having witty banter back and forth, or you can’t understand and carry an intelligent conversation, or you get offended by little things, or you get embarrassed about something in public — then its just not going to work. I’m super sweet to you if I’m in a relationship with you. But you have to be on my level, I like witty girls.
- What do you think about one night stands?
Everybody has a one night stand. Its a part of life. Its part of growing up and being an adult. I don’t think its necessarily a bad thing. BUT, its not good to have a one night stand every night, that’s just weird. But I don’t think its a bad thing if you’re young, you meet someone at a bar and end up getting a little drunk, and something happens between you two– and hey, if you realize that you don’t get along with that person after and don’t end up seeing them again, I don’t think its wrong. At the same time, I don’t think you should be putting yourself in those situations all the time.
Just respect yourself and respect your body. Everyone has to have fun sometime.
As long as you’re not a whore about it and just being crazy!
- What advice do you have for the younger generation of Iranians out there?
Its funny– older people get weirded out by my jokes sometimes because my jokes can be inappropriate at times, but the younger people love it. And I think its time for change — its good for us to be pushing boundaries and doing these things, like you guys with this blog. The younger Iranian culture is more Americanized and we should take advantage of these opportunities. It’s all good!
- How do you like your Fessenjoon?
Savory and sweet! Especially on my tahdig!
WE LOVE YOU AMIR K. Keep up the great work. Check him out on his website: amircomedy.com — you will NOT be disappointed.