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6Qs with Comedian Maria Shehata //

byMarwa Helal

Egyptian-American comedian Maria Shehata’s sharp and original stand-up, combined with her quick-wit and crowd pleasing conversational delivery has brought her appearances on Comedy Central’s “The Watch List,” Just Like Us: The Movie, among others. She has performed in numerous comedy festivals, such as the New York Arab-American Comedy Festival, and is most recently starring in the showcase of FUNATICAL: Taking Comedy to the Extreme, which aims to break stereotypes and bridge gaps between Muslims, Jews, Christians and other major faiths. Maria’s comedy has taken her from suburban life in Columbus, Ohio, to New York City and now Los Angeles, where she brings to the stage a point of view that is hilarious, unique, and yet still universal.

Now Playing: “Up Up and Away” – Kid Cudi
Last movie watched: Win Win
Birth Order: Youngest

1. Tell us about your role in FUNATICAL and what we can look forward to in this production.
I’m the only female, so at the very least I’ll be balancing out all the male voices.

2. What has been your favorite on stage moment?
Anytime I have an opportunity to do a longer set, 30 minutes or more, are my favorite moments. With shorter sets, there’s no chance to do anything. You get up, your jokes work, they don’t work, you get off stage.

Longer sets allow you to breathe and settle into yourself. You learn who you are.

3. Take us through your writing process?
Most of my writing gets done in the adrenaline rush right before I get on stage.

I get up there and try out a new idea before I have a chance to think it sucks.

4. What is  the greatest lesson you’ve learned from your craft?
Own what you do, stand by your material. If you put it out there like, “ehhh, maybe this is funny,” the audience will be like, “ehhh, I don’t know either.”

5. Who or what has been the best teacher of comedy ?
Stage time in LA and New York. Getting up night after night to small audiences. Making an audience of three laugh is so much harder than making an audience of 300 laugh.

6. Arab. American. Female. Comedian. What does that combination of words mean to you?
SITCOM!!! No, I never got into stand up because I was Arab or female and had something to say about it. I just loved standup. But it’s nice because I have an opportunity to give a perspective that isn’t heard a lot.

For more about Maria, check out her website >>

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