Fizaa Dosani is comedian, actor, and writer who was born and raised in Florida before moving to Los Angeles, California. Fizaa Dosani has toured widely and has performed on well-known stages around the world. She has also had roles in acclaimed movies and TV shows such as “Dear White People" and "Snowfall.”

Fizaa Dosani recently discussed her career and her hopes for the future via an exclusive interview.

Comedy routine, movies, and TV

Meagan Meehan (MM): You grew up in Florida and come from an Indian background. So how, if at all, did your childhood influence your sense of comedy?

Fizaa Dosani (FD): Growing up as a first-generation American of Indian descent in Florida in the 90's was a unique and inherently awkward experience.

There weren't very many of us in the area at the time. When and where I grew up; the concept of the race felt binary. If you weren't black or white, it was easy to feel like an "other." In school, making people laugh became a way for me to stand out beyond my ethnic appearance, as well as find a type of acceptance.

MM: What was it like to form a routine and break into the circuit?

FD: I dabbled in stand-up as a teen in Florida, years before I considered it as a viable career path. As an adult in Los Angeles, returning to comedy felt like a homecoming. It was also nerve-racking in the beginning. During my first year in the LA comedy scene, I used to have to go to the bathroom up to five times in the hour leading up to my set.

I consistently pushed past the discomfort, which is how I knew I loved doing stand-up. That wouldn't have been worth it if I didn't.

MM: How did you start getting roles in movies and TV shows and how did you contribute to “Dear White People”?

FD: I was a comedian before I was an actor, and that's how my theatrical agents found me.

I started working with them and quickly learned that acting uses a different "muscle" than stand-up. Being a skilled comedian does not automatically translate into being a strong actor. To best take advantage of this opportunity to move into TV and film, I immersed myself in classes for years, trained, and grew.

Something eventually clicked, and I started booking roles. I had fun working on the second season of "Dear White People." I play a culinary science student at Winchester University who facilitates a special date for Ashley Blaine Featherson's character.

Characters, stand-up, and entertainment

MM: You are an actress and a writer as well as a comedian, so what have you written and what sorts of characters do you most enjoy playing?

FD: I'm currently co-writing two original television pilots. During my time in LA, I've collaborated on almost a dozen screenplays thus far. Additionally, I write jokes every day. I have a lot of fun playing unhinged characters with an edge that can be perceived as a loose cannon.

I enjoy grounding and finding the humanity in these types of characters.

MM: Do you enjoy doing stand-up work or film work more? Why?

FD: It's hard for me to compare the two because I enjoy both. A lot of actors have told me that they think stand-up is one of the hardest things to do, but stand-up felt more natural to me than acting initially did. Also, stand-up is exciting because of the immediate, interactive, and in-your-face feedback from an audience.

MM: Generally speaking, how do audiences react to your live shows and what can people expect from them?

FD: Extreme authenticity is important to me. I practice it on stage to give an audience access to my eccentricities and a unique, outside-of-the-box perspective that is my own.

I like to have fun with the audience. People can expect to both laugh and see things from a new point of view.

MM: What are your big goals for your comedic future and your future in entertainment as a whole?

FD: I always try to remind myself that comedy is a service industry and that comedians provide audiences (and ourselves) with a release. My goal is to create a body of comedic work that is not only funny but has the space for an audience to find deeper meaning. I hope to be doing this for a very long time. I have many big goals: comedy specials, television shows, movies, playing Madison Square Garden and Radio City Music Hall, creating mentorship programs for young women of South Asian descent in the arts, and a lot more.

I don't want to limit myself, so I try to keep myself open to opportunities that haven't even been conceived yet.

MM: So, Fizaa, is there anything else that you would like to add?

FD: If you're in Los Angeles, check out the Facial Recognition Comedy show at Westside Comedy Theater in Santa Monica. It's a monthly stand-up comedy show that I co-produce and perform in every second Sunday of the month at 9 PM. The show features comedians who are women of South Asian or Arab descent. It was initially created as a response to many of us being confused for one another simply because of our ethnic appearance. We also tour nationally and internationally, so keep an eye out for upcoming dates. Additionally, we have a weekly podcast called Facial Recognition Comedy with new episodes every Tuesday on iTunes, Sound Cloud, Google Play, and Stitcher.

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Social media for Fizaa Dosani: @FizaaDosani on Instagram and Twitter, @TheFizaa on Facebook. You can also Google her name and find her official website.

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