Nazeem Hussain

Jan 12 2016. view 662


 
Full Name - Nazeem Mohammed Hussain 
 
Hometown - Melbourne, Australia 
 
Status - Offline 
 
Birthday - 21st April 
 
Idols - Mohammed Ali, Dave Chappelle, Malcolm X 
 
Passions - Chocolate, comedy, community. 
 
Favourite Colour- Brown, duh! 
 

What made you become a comedian? 
 
I’ve always enjoyed making people laugh. I never set out to become a comedian… I actually studied law and science and worked in a corporate law firm. I did the comedy thing on the side, after hours, often straight after client meetings – throwing off the suit before jumping on stage or in front of a camera. I was like a Sri Lankan Clark Kent… except instead of saving lives – I made jokes about white people… same thing really. 
 
Your parents' reaction, when you told them? 
 
When I told my mum I’ve left the office-job to do comedy full-time, she thought I was joking. She thought I was trying to make her laugh with disbelief. “Very funny Nazeem, you want to quit law to become a clown?”. After the initial shock wore off, she became my biggest fan, and every week I’m on TV, she’ll spend most of the time calling and messaging her friends to watch me – and she ends up missing most of show herself. 
 
Your comedy show Legally Brown has been very well received. What have you planned for Sri Lanka? 
 
I’m coming early to Sri Lanka to get a feel for the place, and to hang out with my family and cousins who live here – so I can make jokes about their lives. KIDDING! I’ll change all names. The show will be about my experiences as an Australian-born Sri Lankan Muslim, and life as a brown person in 2016. 
 
Have you got into trouble for with your YouTube clips? What has been the biggest issue you have fallen into? 
 
In one of my YouTube videos, I joke about not drinking alcohol – so I often have random Australians approach me on the street offering to take me out for a beer. I once had a guy threaten to kiss me unless I took a sip of his beer. It wasn’t much of a threat – I kissed him first. I’ve also had ISIS members tweet me telling me my jokes aren’t Islamic. One time another ISIS member tweeted back saying “actually, I think he’s funny”. My YouTube video caused ISIS members to fight amongst themselves. I like to think I’m helping ISIS destroy itself. 
 
Can you speak Sinhalese? 
 
No, machang. 
 
What are the secrets for telling everyday jokes in order to get the biggest laughs? 
 
I guess that’s the trick of comedy – being able to tell an audience something they already know, but packaging it in a way that is surprising. The funniest things in life are everyday, and mundane. People laugh with you, when they can relate to what you’re saying. 
 
What is the difference between trying to write jokes and develop stand-up comedy material? 
 
Stand-up comedy is a conversation between a comedian and audience. It can be personal and revealing. On the other hand, jokes can be told by anyone, not just the author. 
 
Do you watch your videos, and do you crack up, do you find yourself funny? 
 
I hate watching myself, especially on TV! I know that as a performer, I’m supposed to be able to watch myself back… but my voice is too annoying – and my face does all sorts of weird things when I’m on stage, or trying to be funny. But yes, I crack myself up all the time. I don’t really need an audience, I am my own audience in my own head most of the time. 
 
What are your thoughts on Sri Lanka? 
 
I love being Sri Lankan, it is very central to my identity. There are really very few places on the planet that have the sort of diversity, cultural history, and energy that we have in Sri Lanka. Also, about 20 years ago we won the World Cup – we legally have bragging rights for a further 80 years. 
 
How was life in Australia, when you were a child? 
 
Life as a brown kid in predominantly white Australia is not a bed of roses. If anything, it’s a bed of roses with lots of thorns stabbing into you as you wonder why you don’t have an actual bed like all the other kids. Nah, that’s harsh – I enjoyed growing up in Australia, despite the obvious racial tensions. It’s an interesting place – a first world country built off the backs of migrants and Indigenous people – who are still treated in many ways like second class citizens. Despite that, multiculturalism in Australia is awesome, and I grew up with kids whose parents came from all over the world. I even have a friend from Lichtenstein (wherever the hell that is!) 
 
Who inspires you for the work you do? 
 
My family, friends, and people I meet. 
 
What plans for 2016? 
 
I’ll be touring Australia, NZ, the UK and Asia, as well as the TV stuff. I also hope to go to the gym at least once every few months, and eat less than a slab of chocolate a day. 
 
Tell me about your television and radio career. 
 
Legally Brown is my TV show, which is a stand-up based show with sketches and character stunts, and it airs on SBS across Australia. I also present on Triple J Radio – which is a national youth station. 
 
Tell me about the time when you won the Melbourne International Comedy Festival Best Newcomer Award in 2008? 
 
I won the Best Newcomer Award at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival back in 2008 for the show Fear of a Brown Planet. It was a huge honour, and it was great to be recognized amongst so many other fantastic comedians from around the world. 
 

Your Pick 
 
Sweet or Sour? 
 
Sweet 
 
Sushi or Smoked Fish? 
 
Smoked fish 
 
Chicken Nuggets or Chicken Fingers? 
 
 
Nuggets – there’s a greater chicken to bread crumb ratio. 
 
French Fries or Salad? 
 
Ummmm…. Is this a trick question? Obviously French Fries! 
 
Pringles or Lays? 
 
Pringles 
 
Coke or Pepsi? 
 
Coke 
 
Black Coffee or Cream and Sugar? 
 
You mean milk and sugar. Yes – Coffee with milk and four sugars.


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