Written by Al Bahmani
Comedian Dana Gould once quipped, “Stand-up (comedy) is really an American art form, like jazz and shoplifting.” Jamie Masada hopes to prove him wrong. Currently Masada is looking for the funniest person in the world. Tonight at the Laugh Factory, the show will be streamed live, voting will begin 10pm Central 8pm Pacific and end October 21st 6pm Central 4pm Pacific.
Masada is no stranger to the American immigrant experience, born in Iran he eventually immigrated to the United States in his teens. “My father sold his accordion so I could be here… I worked at an apartment building. I was paid $35 and I would send home $30 to my parents. One day, I walked into The Comedy Store and someone said, “Are you a comedian?” I thought this was a job interview so I said “Yes.” They brought me up on stage. I was so nervous I told all my jokes in farsi.”
This eventually led to other spots on stage and a bit role as Hebrab Comando Number 5 in Neil Israel’s satire “Americathon”. The cult comedy starred John Ritter, Jay Leno, Harvey Corman and was narrated by George Carlin. “I was a young little guy and in 1979. Comics were on strike because the Comedy Store wasn’t paying comics. I had an idea to have a club that would pay comedians. Neil loaned me the money to open the Laugh Factory… It took me a long time to pay him off.”
“I have a dream, perhaps naïve, of bringing the world together through smiles and laughter. Religion, diplomacy, and democracy haven’t succeeded so maybe it’s time to focus on something more universal. And that is why I launched the first annual Funniest Person in the World Competition.” Masada added. “It is my hope, that by the time the competition enters its 5th year, representatives from each of the world’s 195 countries will eventually submit to be part of this yearly global competition.”
“Laughter is a universal language. This is a chance to find alternative ambassadors, the kind that bring diplomacy through a belly laugh. After all, laughter exists everywhere within the confines of culture and traditions. Laughter based on observations , laughter that acknowledges the gap between ideals and realities and laughter at the stereotypes – as well as the oddballs – of the culture, any culture, every culture.”
Ten Comics from South Africa and Wales to France, and Sweden to United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, and Israel and tonight anybody online can vote for their favorites here at www.laughfactory.com.