Comedy? From Iran? 

The Norooz New Year's Comedy Show is an Axis of Laughs

What's so funny about Iranians? That's the hasty, easy comeback to the announcement of's Norooz New Year's Comedy Show Saturday night at Julia Morgan Theatre. But Jahanshah Javid has an answer for that.

Ill-considered White House references to an "Axis of Evil" notwithstanding, the East Bay-based communicator feels that "It's important to show our faces, to show we're regular people. For too long we've been stuck in the middle, but now it's time to have a little fun," says Javid, who founded in July of 1995. "We can't be held hostage to either government." Most of the entertainers in the Norooz show (it means "new day" in Farsi, and signifies the first day of spring, the Iranian New Year), and indeed most of's users are voluntary exiles who have left Iran in the years since the 1978-79 revolution against the Shah. California is home to this country's largest concentration of Iranians, in LA and the Bay Area. And they have a sense of humor.

One of the evening's performers, Peyvand Khorsandi, is a London-based writer whose father is a well-known satirist in the international exile community. Khorsandi's monologue, "How to Be an Iranian," is reportedly a hit in Britain. Bay Area female standup comic Elham Jazab, a regular at comedy clubs all over the US, makes most of her jokes about "how Iranian she's not," according to Javid. Also on the bill is a reading by Mansoor Taeed of Iraj Mirza's poetic satire about the chador (the traditional female veil) and the difficulty of falling in love with a woman who wears it. And artist Saman will show up with some new satirical cartoons. A few surprise guest performers are expected, as well. Everything except the poem is presented in English. Says Javid: "I had originally planned a much larger event for October 5, but events intervened." Another casualty of post-9/11 jitters.

The Norooz New Year's Comedy Show takes place at 8 p.m., Saturday, March 16, at Julia Morgan Theatre, 2640 College Ave., Berkeley. Tickets: $20 adults, $15 students, at 925-798-1300. For more info:


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