Photo Credit: Sanaz Khalaj-Santos

Are you ready for another one?

We are! And we’re about to share the laughter with you.

As part of Maz Jobrani’s famed Axis of Evil Comedy Tour, Max Amini’s witty comedic style stands out in stand up. 

A couple of weeks ago, we had the fun pleasure of getting to chat with Comedy Central’s Mind of Mencia recurring-role-holder, Max Amini on his career and life as an Iranian-American comedian working the mainstream entertainment circuit.

Below is a transcript of our quick chat for your reading pleasure.




SKS: What is your full name?
MA: Max Amini.

Where were you born?
Tucson, Arizona.

Where did you grow up?
When I was 7 years old my parents moved back to Iran and I grew up there till I was 18. Then moved back to the states and lived in Washington D.C. for a few years. After I finished community college in Maryland, I [transferred] out to UCLA’s theater program, and moved to Los Angeles and have been here since.

When was the last time you were in Iran?
January 2008.

Do you speak, read, and/or write in Farsi?
Speak, read and write it.

What’s a funny childhood story you can share?
Well I was always thinking of a way not to go to school. I [would] pretend I was sick so my Mom would let me stay in. After a while I had run out of tricks and my Mom had become a lot more trained as well. So one day it dawned on me [that] if I put the thermometer over the stove and raise [its] temperature then I can pretend I have a fever and stay home.  But, I had not yet learned about mercury and how it would expand and blow up so my Mom would give me the thermometer and come back and see [it had shattered] to pieces! I kept coming up with excuses of how it broke. Finally, I learned how to do it and it starting to work and I tricked my Mom and stayed home a few times. This continued to work till the day I broke my [sister’s] Barbie and she blew my cover! Oh well… moral of the story “don’t break Barbies”!!!

How did you get into comedy?
I got accepted to [the] UCLA Film and TV program and moved to Los Angeles in 2001. That summer I decided to keep busy before school [started] and try something I always thought highly of… “Stand Up Comedy”. So I took a workshop and got myself involved. [The] workshop was 4 weeks long and at the end of the 4th week, you [got] to showcase at a comedy club in front of a live audience of a 250-seater house. It sounded pretty exciting. The first 3 weeks, my material was the worst in class. Finally, the last week before the showcase, I pulled it together. The showcase went so fantastic that  it [gave] me a lot of motivation to continue my dream in becoming a Stand-up comedian!

Were your parents supportive?
My parents have always been very supportive and [thought] for once, I made the right decision. My dad said, “the family’s trouble maker finally became professional at what he’s best at!” They truly believe in me and I feel very lucky to have their support.

What’s the most high-profile event you’ve done?
Did a show in Dubai and I think as far as the venue and the crowd I’d say it’s probably one of the most high-profile venues I’ve done.

What’s the largest venue you’ve performed in?
Axis of Evil show at the Wilshire Theater in Beverly Hills. It was a 2500-seater house.

Who is your favorite Iranian-American comedian?
Maz Jobrani is my favorite and he’s a good friend of mine and we do a lot of events together. I enjoy him on, and off stage.

Who is your favorite American comedian?
I like different comedians for different reasons.  But over all I’d say one of my favorites is Lewis Black.

Who is your favorite classic Iranian comedian?
Mr. Bean… oh wait he’s not Iranian he is just classic! Well then, Arham Sadr… I think that’s how you spell his name

Do you act as well?

Have you played any parts in TV or movies?
I play the recurring Middle Eastern guy on the Comedy Central show “Mind of Mencia “.

What do you hope to accomplish in your career?
My goal is to be able to communicate love and peace through my comedy… gosh that sounded like the Miss Universe’s answer. But I really hope to be able to send positive [messages] out with my work.

What does being Iranian-American mean to you?
It means: an Iranian who lives in America. One who’s most identifiable by his Iranian cultural views and beliefs.

Lavaashak or Gojeh-Sabz?
Lavaashak Fo’ Sho’!

What’s your favorite Iranian dish?
Khoreshteh Bademjooooon.

Can you cook Persian food yourself?
Are you kidding? That’s a whole career of its own!

What’s your favorite thing about being Iranian?
The strong sense of spirituality that lives in our culture.

Are you single?

Do you prefer Iranian girls/women to non-Iranians?
I don’t know… still trying to figure that one out.

What are you working on currently?
Had an event at the Laugh Factory on August 26th “Comics without Borders“. Also writing a feature film.

How can your fans stay up to date about your upcoming projects?
By visiting:

About Author

Sanaz Khalaj-Santos

Sanaz is Founder and Editor in Chief of Persianesque Magazine.