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6Qs with Actor-Comedian Maz Siam //

byLana Daoud

mazsiam_webDreams are ageless, and the sky truly is the limit. That is what Maz Siam is making sure we know. FEN got a chance to interview Maz after his laugh-out-loud appearance in the Los Angeles Middle Eastern Comedy Festival. When he’s not playing dead on “The Unit” or taking on a supporting role in shows like “North Mission Road,” Maz can be found writing his next play or perfecting his craft at a local Southern California theater. You can’t miss him: tall guy who looks like he can’t be messed with, then catches you off guard with a roaring burst of laughter.

Must have album or artist: Rolling Stones, anything blues
Extreme hobby: Deciding to be an actor/storyteller at 49
Hamburger or Kifta: Kifta. I love kifta.

1. How did you get into acting?I’ve been surrounded by creative people my whole life…I tried writing as a kid. Then later on, I wrote something with friend of mine.  We were told it was pretty good, then

it was recommended to take an acting class if I wanted to be a better writer, and I just fell in love with it–it’s all part of being a storyteller.

2. How did you hear about or get involved with the fest?
When the festival organizers got into town, they contacted the city of Los Angeles–a part that my niece works for. That’s how I originally heard about it. I submitted, but they did not respond. Didn’t think much of it, but then I saw a Facebook posting of an Israeli friend of mine. She had two auditions, and one was for the Middle East festival. That’s when I thought, “Alright I gotta be a part of this.” I didn’t want to play the nepotism card, but that’s how I got my foot in the door. They said, “fine, but you gotta audition and go through the motions, and be chosen like everyone else.” So I did, and I guess they something they liked.

3. What was the experience like to work with a diverse Middle Eastern cast?
They are some really dedicated people who are very into what they do. I’m really proud to be part of the cast.

4. You’re a pretty big guy, what was your first thought when you found out you’d have to wear very form fitting neon green unitard for one of the sketches?
I bought it! I asked my daughter, Kira, and she made the recommendation for where to get one. I had four different women tell me how brave I was to even be wearing it.  When I came out on the 7:30 show, I got laughs just by standing there. It’s embarrassing, weird, creepy, and it was fun.

5. What significance do you think a festival like this will have on Hollywood and the entertainment  business?
By virtue of the fact that the festival sold out all four performances, and it had such a great response at the Brown Carpet Gala opening–this is what the business looks for. They don’t care about s*%$ in this business except what succeeds.

When something like this succeeds and gets a lot of buzz, that’s when they take notice because they see there’s a market there.

6. Who are some actors and comedians you look up to?
Actors: Daniel Day Lewis, Robert De Niro, Chazz Palminteri, Danny Aiello, Gabriel Byrne. They’re truthful actors who have all succeeded, but started later in life. And comedians: Chris rock, Richard Pryor, Sam Kinison. They all tell stories that comes from a place of pain.


About the Author: Born and raised in Southern CA, boarding airplanes since the womb–Lana Daoud can find herself at home just about anywhere. After earning her degree in History with a minor in Middle East Studies, she entered the world of nonprofits via grant writing and research. Lana is a Muslim-Jewish Text Study alumna, launched by the Center for Muslim-Jewish Engagement (CMJE) with NewGround in Los Angeles. She remains active with the project, and firmly believes in dialogue, education, and the arts as the key to progress. Home is where the next great experience lies, heart belongs to her nieces, roots will always be in Palestine.

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