K-von approaches race through comedy

The Iranian Student Association hosts their first ever comedy night. The Nubian dance team opened the evening followed by KVON the comedian. (Mitchell Lisowski/The Daily Campus) 

To open his stand-up show, hosted by the Iranian Student Association of UConn on Friday, Iranian comedian Kevan “K-von” Moezzi joked that  he’s “by far the funniest half-Persian comedian in the word, probably because he’s the only half-Persian comedian in the world.”  

K-von shared with UConn students that he thinks comedy is that last place where you can address the difficult topic of race in a way that induces laughter, which there was plenty of in the Student Union Theater.

K-von acknowledged that sometimes his racial content might be inciteful to those who are especially sensitive. However, his point was that he uses common stereotypes to make people laugh, not to perpetuate them or hate on people. Blacks, Latinos, Asians, Middle Easterners, men, women, fat people, thin people; none were spared K-von’s wit and sharp tongue. In his eyes, comedy comes from a place of love, so he left nobody out.

K-von’s show started later than planned, following an introductory performance from UConn’s Nubian dance team; but their energy set the tone for the rest of the night. K-von cycled through a variety of content that flowed between spontaneous, improvised  musings, such as when he lifted the stool with the UConn emblem, and some other well-rehearsed jokes.

Being half-Iranian is what inspires much of K-von’s work, not only on the stage, but beyond as well. His upcoming film, “NOWRUZ: Lost and Found” explores the Persian new year through comedy. K-Von comically described situations where it’s appropriate to act more or less Iranian.

“I turn the Persian up,” Moezzi said, “and sometimes I turn the Persian down.”

The example he gave: when trying to impress a girl, he’ll don a “sexy” Iranian accent and he’ll walk like a Persian man, hips thrust forward. When going through security at the airport, he’ll turn the Persian down for the TSA.

Beyond just focusing on his own culture, Moezzi isn’t afraid to delve into the stereotypes and humor surrounding other cultures. One example he gave: who laughs the best. According to Moezzi, Middle Easterners are the worst at laughing. They don’t laugh often in public and make it impossible to tell what they’re thinking. Next is white people, who will sort of give you a “haha” here and there. They’re followed by Asians, who would probably laugh at his jokes more, if they weren’t all home studying. Latinos are the second best laughers, but by far, black people laugh best, putting their whole body into the emotion, according to Moezzi.

“Most of his jokes had a racial undertone, which got boring after a while, but they were all creative,” said third semester business major Michael Crudele from the audience.

He encouraged audience members, if they had a problem with anything he said, to see him after the show and tell him. His number one rule though, “Don’t get offended for other people.” Often, he said, comedy shows are filled by “social justice pioneers,” as he’s dubbed them. Social justice warriors fight for social justice. Social justice pioneers, he claims search for new things to get offended about.

While he strayed little from his theme of race, his own and that of others, audience members were receptive to his diverse material.

“The accents were really cool,” said Rode Bataille third semester philosophy major and member of the Nubian dance team. “I liked how he related his own culture to the crowd.”

This article has been updated from its original version. 


Alex Houdeshell is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at alexandra.houdeshell@uconn.edu.