3-Minute Interview: Comedian Rahmein Mostafavi

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People,Liz Essley,3-Minute Interview

By day, Fredericksburg resident Rahmein Mostafavi works for a company that creates museum exhibits. By night, he's a stand-up comedian and producer of comedy shows under his Cool Cow Comedy brand.

How'd you get into comedy?

I was a professional actor for about 15 years, just a regular old theater actor. I was at Shakespeare Theatre Company right out of college; then I did "Shear Madness" at the Kennedy Center. Then I started a family and had three kids, and the theater life is kind of hectic. I decided I'd try to keep my foot on the stage, so I dared myself to try stand-up comedy, and once I did it I was hooked. It becomes like an addiction.

You're Iranian-American. How does that play into your comedy?

It makes it possible for me to threaten the crowd into laughing more, and then if they don't, I make good on my threats. It's an easy place to stand when you go up there and say, "Ha, ha, terrorism, ha, ha, bombs." I do like to make it a point to tell people I'm Iranian-American, because most of the time we're only exposed to negative things about the Middle East. I want people to say, "Oh, that guy's Iranian? He's alright." We fear what we don't know.

You'd think it'd be hard, not easy, to make jokes about terrorism.

It's easy because it's already uncomfortable. When you're cooking up a comedy recipe, one of the things you can put into the mix is tension. I do an impression of a suicide bomber who runs into a coffee shop and his bomb doesn't go off. It's a true story. In my impression, he says he was kidding and orders a mocha frappuccino. Also I've qualified myself to be poking fun at Middle Eastern stuff by saying I'm Iranian. It's a lot of irony.

?-Liz Essley

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