Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Iranian comedienne - Tissa Hami

Take one look at Tissa Hami and you think Iranian!. And you're right. But she's a fiercely funny Iranian American standup comedienne...

Tissa Hami is one of the world’s few female Muslim stand-up comics. Her unique act and fresh perspective on life as an Iranian-American woman leave audiences in shock and awe. From Islamic fundamentalists to white liberals to good old-fashioned racists, no one is safe from Tissa’s sharp wit. (source)

After the 9/11 attacks on America, Hami felt the need to get active in promoting another view of Muslims in America to the one constantly being shown in the media. Since starting as a standup comic she's worked around the US and taken part in the Randomly Selected and Coexists? comedy tours and featured on a PBS documentary.

A Muslim comedienne and wearing a hijab automatically makes me think of Shazia Mirza from the UK. Their comedy is very different though. Tissa Hami fits in closely with the American standups around the Axis of Evil comedy tour, whereas Sharia Mirza's comedy is more awkward and crude. Shazia Mirza no longer wears a hijab, and for Hami it's part of her act (similar to Omid Djalili starting in mock Persian broken English). Hami has come to be seen as something of a novelty, like Matisyahu (the Hassidic reggae star), in a setting where you'd least expect to find a Muslim woman. In this Australian documentary she talks about what motivates her.

With Dean Obiedallah

Tissa Hami on Mid-West Travel

Standup : American Muslim Comedians Come of Age

Find out more about Tissa Hami on her website:

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