Pssst-- have you heard about the queer Kardashian? The brainchild of Chicago comedian Fawz Mirza, Kam Kardashian began as a joke over drinks and has grown into the subject of an ongoing web series. In the last week of a Kickstarter campaign to fund additional episodes, Mirza took time to talk to Our Town about her background in law, the Kardashians as culture-makers and how she’s going to abandon us like everyone else does.
Our Town How did spending your early life in Indiana shape you as a comedian?
Fawzia Mirza Being a Canadian transplanted to Indiana then transplanted to a huge collegiate environment like Indiana University in Bloomington, then moving to Chicago, going from a clothing size 13 to a size 0, going from being a lawyer to an actor, going from not dating at all to dating women - it ALL affected my outlook and comedic brain. And I mean, when you once were the husky girl, the result is overdeveloped personality: you become the funny one to compensate.
OT You started in law. Seems like a lot of lawyers are attracted to acting and actors to law. Why do you think that is?
FM I think lawyers are attracted to acting because lawyers didn't start out as lawyers, they started out as people who went to law school. And a lot of people go to law school a) not knowing what they want to do with their lives, b) not sure they want to practice law and in my case, (and many other good, respectful Asian babes), you can add c) wanting to make my family happy. I also worked at a law firm where the half the secretaries were guys in comedy. Some of the funniest and most successful comedians I know I met there. Lots of joke-making, sleeping under desks and emailing each other haikus. Taking depositions pales in comparison.
OT As a comedian, what attracts you to the Kardashians?
FM It's nothing new to be inspired by pop culture icons. They offer so much material on a daily basis. And the Kardashians are funny. They are THE MOST famous family on the planet. And they do ridiculous things. And, let's face it, I don't care what you think about them as a family, but Kim alone has 14 million twitter followers (MORE than OBAMA! ) internationally and can single-handedly shape trends for an entire population of people. Love them or hate them, they effect our culture. I like to make people laugh, but not in a way that is mean or negative. The Kardashians are an easy target, being so public, for that kind of humor. Why wouldn't the family, who has so many sex tapes, flings, divorces, babies and secrets, why wouldn't they have a long lost lesbian sister? Of course there's a KAM.
OT What does the omnipresence of the Kardashians say about our culture?
FM People say Kim is famous for being famous. Well, that is a part of the American celebrity trend - anyone can be a star; anyone can have a hit single, make a movie, be on TV, have 1 million hits on YouTube. It IS possible. I mean, one such recent "star" is the Pakistani guy who sings "One Pound Fish" - what did he do? He was a fishmonger who sang a song. And I LOVE my brown Pakistani brother for it! Unfortunately, we as a culture place so much emphasis on looks, on clothes, on sex, on money. I think the widespread popularity of the Kardashians is part of that misplaced emphasis. I like to be positive, though and I think one positive trend in this societal obsession with the Kardashians is that people are attracted to new kinds of women. And look, as a woman of color, anytime a brownish woman is considered sexy, and iconic, I feel like I win a little bit somewhere.
OT I sort of feel like if one of the Kardashians was going to be a lesbian it would be Khloe. This is not actually a question. Scott is probably also a lesbian.
FM Khloe could totally be a lesbian. She's tall. She could play for the WBNA. That's why I think she married Lamar, to live her dream vicariously through him. Scott is all lesbian. He actually looks like a few lesbian friends of mine. Although, I think Kim was probably a LUG - a lesbian until graduation. I mean, who isn't?
OT What’s been most interesting about creating/working on your web series?
FM The team of friends I work and collaborate with are amazing. From my partner in the series who is also the director/editor Ryan Logan to my cinematographer who shoots and takes all the photos, Amanda Clifford, we get together and produce content we LIKE to make, have FUN making and then hope others enjoy. This series also gives me a chance to work with some of my favorite funny people in Chicago, Like Mary Hollis Inboden and Mark Raterman.
OT Are you going to leave me and head to LA like every other comedian I open my heart to?
FM Maybe. But if it happens, I promise to be gentle. And I'll buy you dinner first. Maybe I'll take you to Devon for Pakistani food and I'll feed you with my hands. Do you like naan as much as me?
To contribute on Kickstarter go here. The clock is ticking!
A writer with an MFA in Creative Writing from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Sarah Terez Rosenblum freelances for sites like Pop Matters and
afterellen.com Her debut novel, “Herself When She’s Missing," was called “poetic and heartrending” by ALA Booklist. Sarah is also a figure model, Spinning instructor and teacher at Chicago’s StoryStudio. Inevitably one day she will find herself lecturing naked on a spinning bike. She's kind of looking forward to it actually.
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