Actress, comedian, and activist Maysoon Zayid visited campus last week to perform a comedy routine called “I got 99 problems … palsy is just one.” Zayid is the co-founder and co-executive producer of the New York Arab American Comedy Festival, and runs the scholarship and wellness program, Maysoon’s Kids. Zayid, who has cerebral palsy, also participated in a discussion about race, ethnicity and disability before her show. Below are some of her thoughts from an interview conducted by Collegian News Editor Madeleine Thompson ’15.
Do you think comedy is the best way to get the word out about protecting the rights of the disabled community?
I really truly am not trying to spread a message. I’m a writer and I’m a comic so it all comes back to writing. … I’ve been writing for my entire life and the story I’m telling is my story. And I think that I’m strongest at doing comedy, so I guess it’s my preferred method, but I don’t think it’s necessarily the best method. … I think [spoken word] is the worst way to mainstream the disabled. That would make me just hate our people.