One on One
Maysoon Zayid
The American-Palestinian comedian and actress uses humour to inspire cultural understanding and education.
Last Modified: 17 Sep 2011 08:50

Maysoon Zayid has forged a new path in comedy as the first person to perform stand-up in Palestine and Jordan, and one the first Muslim women comedians from the US to perform around the world.

Born in New Jersey, US, into a Palestinian family, she was taught to embrace her disability of cerebral palsy with strength and determination that would later prove no goal was impossible for her to achieve.

While growing up she visited Palestine annually with her family, and since then she has established an organisation called 'Maysoon's Kids' to educate and empower young Palestinians also facing the challenges of disabilities.

Her dreams of being an actress began in college where she graduated from Arizona State University with a BFA in acting. Maysoon Zayid pursued roles on-screen before finally deciding that stand-up comedy was her true passion.

Today, the comedian, actress and philanthropist performs worldwide and continues to showcase budding artists as co-founder of the New York Arab-American Comedy Festival.

This episode of One on One can be seen on Saturday, September 17, at 0430GMT.

Al Jazeera
Topics in this article
Featured on Al Jazeera
Your chance to be an investigative journalist in Al Jazeera’s new interactive game.
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Private citizens take initiative to help 'irregular' migrants, accusing governments of excessive focus on security.
Indonesia's cassava plantations are being killed by mealybugs, and thousands of wasps will be released to stop them.
Violence in Ain al-Arab has prompted many Kurdish Syrians to flee to Turkey, but others are returning to battle ISIL.
Unelected representatives quietly iron out logistics of massive TPP and TTIP deals among US, Europe, and Asia-Pacific.
Led by students concerned for their future with 'nothing to lose', it remains to be seen who will blink first.