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Maysoon Zayid

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Maysoon Zayid
Maysoon Zayid in 2015
Birth nameMaysoon Zayid
Born (1974-03-07) March 7, 1974 (age 50)
New Jersey, United States
MediumStand-up, Television, Film
Alma materArizona State University
Years active2000s–present
GenresObservational comedy, Self-deprecation
Subject(s)Arab culture, Marriage

Maysoon Zayid (Arabic: ميسون زايد) is an American actress and comedian. Of Palestinian descent, she is known as one of America's first Muslim women comedians.

Early life


Zayid was born in New Jersey in 1974.[1] She described herself in a BBC interview as "a Palestinian Muslim virgin with cerebral palsy, from New Jersey, who is an actress, comedian and activist".[2] Zayid has been a resident of Cliffside Park, New Jersey.[3] Zayid earned her BFA in acting from Arizona State University.[4]



Zayid started her acting career by appearing on the popular soap opera As the World Turns for two years, as well as making guest appearances on Law & Order, NBC Nightly News and ABC's 20/20.[4]

During her early acting experiences, she found her disability and ethnicity repeatedly limiting to her advancement.[1] Zayid then turned to stand-up and began appearing at New York's top clubs, including Caroline's, Gotham, and Stand Up NY, where she takes on serious topics such as the Israel-Palestine conflict.[5]

She co-founded the New York Arab-American Comedy Festival in 2003 with comedian Dean Obeidallah.[6] It is held annually in New York City and showcases Arab-American comics, actors, playwrights and filmmakers.

In late 2006, Zayid debuted her one-woman show Little American Whore (LAW) at Los Angeles's Comedy Central stage; it was produced and directed by Kathy Najimy. In 2008, LAW's screenplay was chosen for the Sundance Screenwriters Lab. Production began with Zayid as the lead in the fall of 2009.

Zayid had a role in the 2008 Adam Sandler film You Don't Mess with the Zohan.

She usually tours by herself or as a special guest on the Axis of Evil Comedy Tour.[7] She also co-hosts the radio show Fann Majnoon (Arabic: فن مجنون) (Crazy Art) with Obeidallah.

Zayid can be seen in the 2013 documentary The Muslims Are Coming!, which features a group of Muslim American stand-up comedians touring the United States in an effort to counter Islamophobia, as well as various celebrities including Jon Stewart, David Cross, Janeane Garofalo and Rachel Maddow.[8] In December that same year she appeared on the Melissa Harris-Perry show on December 30, 2013, as part of a panel of comedian commentators. She has also presented at the TED annual conference,[9] and her TED Talk has been viewed approximately 1 billion times.[10][citation needed]

In June 2016 it was announced that Zayid would be developing a series about her life with Lindsey Beer.[11]

Zayid has said repeatedly that she wants to appear on the ABC daytime soap opera General Hospital,[10][12][13] and in June 2019 she debuted in the recurring role of Zahra Amir in the series.[14][15]

Arts programs


Zayid spends three months a year in the Palestinian territories, running an arts program for disabled and orphaned children in refugee camps. She helps the children use art to deal with trauma and bridge the gap between disabled and non-disabled children. Eighty percent of the funding for the camps comes from her comedy work.[1]


  1. ^ a b c "Maysoon Zayid: Actor and comedian". Institute for Middle Easuwut Understanding.
  2. ^ "Jerusalem Diary: Monday 7 July". July 7, 2008 – via news.bbc.co.uk.
  3. ^ Heydarpour, Roja (November 21, 2006). "The Comic Is Palestinian, the Jokes Bawdy". The New York Times. Retrieved March 22, 2011. Ms. Zayid, who has a home in Cliffside Park, N.J., recently returned from Hollywood, where she lived while working on developing her one-woman show.
  4. ^ a b "Producers". New York Arab-American Comedy Festival.
  5. ^ "When an American-Palestinian with CP is a laughing matter". Haaretz. Retrieved 2021-06-20.
  6. ^ New York Arab-American Comedy Festival
  7. ^ "American Muslim Comedians Transcend Politics with Humor". Good News Network. 2012-04-10. Retrieved 2021-06-20.
  8. ^ Fox, Jesse David (2012-04-17). "The Muslims Are Coming! With Your Help". Vulture. Retrieved 2021-06-20.
  9. ^ Zayid, Maysoon. "I got 99 problems ... palsy is just one". Ted.com. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  10. ^ a b "My Crooked Journey: Comedian Maysoon Zayid on Disability and Media Diversity". www.arts.gov. 17 March 2016. Retrieved 2021-06-20.
  11. ^ Ford, Rebecca (June 23, 2017). "Comedienne Maysoon Zayid Adapting Life Story Into Series". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 26, 2017.
  12. ^ Perry, David M. (October 8, 2018). "Can a Disabled Palestinian American Launch the Next Big Sitcom?". Pacific Standard. Retrieved May 9, 2019.
  13. ^ Maysoon Zayid: Should Humor Make Us Uncomfortable?. NPR. March 24, 2017. Retrieved May 9, 2019.
  14. ^ "Maysoon Zayid on Instagram: "Today is the day! #DreamComeTrue my @generalhospitalabc #GH #GeneralHospital debut! #TuneIn or catch up anytime @abcnetwork online 😸😻"". Instagram. Archived from the original on 2021-12-25.
  15. ^ Cushman, Dustin (June 21, 2019). "General Hospital Spring and Summer Comings and Goings 2019". Soaps.com. United States: SheKnows Media. Retrieved June 22, 2019.