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The Lavin Agency Speakers Bureau

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The antidote to our political polarization? Laughter.

Director of The Muslims Are Coming! | Author of How to Make White People Laugh

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The Secret History of Muslims in America

Lavin Exclusive Speaker

Iranian-American comedian Negin Farsad is one of the sharpest, funniest voices on the political scene today. The author of How to Make White People Laugh and a frequent panelist on NPR’s Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!, Negin proves that laughter is the best antidote for our divided political landscape. Her work—including the award-winning comedy documentary The Muslims Are Coming!—has been called “honest and heartfelt” (WIRED) and “smart, funny, and fascinating” (The Wall Street Journal). In fresh, accessible talks on the news of the day, she uses humor to bridge the gap between “us” and “them,” and shows us how we can learn to laugh together.

“Farsad’s fresh and funny voice is perfect for presenting tactics to fight anti-Muslim sentiment in the U.S., and her work is intriguing and enjoyable to read.”—Publishers Weekly

In her feature film, The Muslims Are Coming!, Negin Farsad took a group of Muslim-American comedians on the road in Middle America to do shows, meet the locals, and counter Islamophobia through jokes. The film features Jon Stewart, Lewis Black, Janeane Garofalo, David Cross, and Rachel Maddow, to name a few, and won a humanitarian award from the Arab-American Institute. Negin’s book, How to Make White People Laugh, was called “frank & hilarious” by Salon, while the Austin Chronicle calls her a “master humorist who is equal parts academic and amusing.” The memoir-comedy-manifesto was nominated for a Thurber Prize for Humor.

She continues some of the themes in her book on the podcast Fake the Nation, a political comedy roundtable that is a Vulture critic’s pick and was nominated for a Webby Award, and in her column for The Progressive —an online magazine championing grassroots politics, human rights, economic justice, and a reinvigorated democracy, among other things. Negin is a regular panelist for NPR’s weekly current events program Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! and Neil deGrasse Tyson’s StarTalk.

Negin has a dual Masters in African American Studies and Public Policy from Columbia University’s School of International & Public Affairs, and worked as a senior policy advisor for the City of New York. She was named one of the 50 Funniest Women by Huffington Post and one of the 10 Best Feminist Comedians by Paste Magazine. She has appeared on Comedy Central’s The Nightly Show, A&E’s Black & White, and various programs such as CNN and MSNBC.

Negin has also written and developed series for MTV, PBS, and Nickelodeon. She wrote, directed, and starred in the 2016 feature release 3rd Street Blackout—a rom-com set in the blackout after Hurricane Sandy and featuring Ed Weeks from The Mindy Project, Janeane Garofalo, and John Hodgman. She also wrote, directed, and produced Nerdcore Rising, a comedy about nerdcore hip-hop which has been an official selection of festivals worldwide, earning Best Film, Best Director, and Audience Favorite awards.

As a standup comedian, Negin has performed far and wide, from Town Hall on Broadway to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland. Her other shows include The Dirty Immigrant CollectiveBootleg Islam, and The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: A Romantic Comedy. Queen Rania of Jordan commissioned Negin to make a video as part of a series combating Muslim stereotypes—a series that won the first ever YouTube Visionary Award.

Testimonials

I just wanted to say thank you for all of your efforts with our speaker event. Negin was wonderful! Her workshop was very informative to students and her keynote was so great! She had the audience engaged and laughing the entire time! We actually had the best turnout that we've had since we have been giving these events. Besides being a talented comedian and speaker, she is extremely sweet and full of personality and style!

Villanova University

Speech Topics

Religion
Fighting Islamophobia, Bigotry and What Have You with Comedy

Negin has devoted large parts of her career to comedy that breaks barriers, particularly as it relates to Islamophobia, immigrant rights, and bigotry.

As a policy advisor for the city of New York, she worked on the city’s campaign finance initiative, a program that tries to level the playing field for candidates that aren’t made of money. She took that know-how into her comedy with such works as Bootleg Islam—an off-Broadway solo show about a boozy trip to the Islamic Republic of Iran. She gleaned lessons from her two-person Edinburgh Fringe Festival musical The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: A Romantic Comedy, not to mention her work with the standup show, The Dirty Immigrant Collective.

This work has given Negin tons of anecdotes from the frontlines of prejudice AND a prescription for how to change the discourse. She brings real world activist comedy experience, a dash of comedy philosophy, and a touch of public policy for an engaging and hilarious look at the question of how to learn to laugh together. Here’s a good start: make white people laugh.

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Women in Leadership
How to Become a Working ArtistSucceeding as a Woman in a Really Dude-Heavy Industry

Negin Farsad is an accomplished comedian, writer, and filmmaker. How did she get into this business and stay in it long enough to drop the day job? Negin knows exactly what the pitfalls are, how to avoid them, and how to make a living in an industry that A) not only has a monetization problem (summed up by “the internet”) but B) is extremely “dude-heavy,” with only 8% of above the line functions going to women. Navigating the terrain is difficult and school programs—rightly focused as they are on craft and technique—often miss the boat on how to actually start a career in comedy and/or media.

Negin has won various director awards, has made three feature films, and has written and directed for networks like Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, IFC, BBC, PBS and others. She is uniquely qualified to talk about the nuts and bolts of the industry—getting jobs, raising money to make movies, maintaining sanity, etc.—and can speak to the particular challenges faced by female graduates entering the work force.

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