Right, I’ve never been on Last Comic Standing, but I’ll take a compliment when I can get one. After rocking a crowd of 7 in the Tenderloin in SF, a guy comes up and tells me that he had recognized me from LCS, and that he just knew it was me the whole time, because he remembers how funny I was on the show. I said thanks man, that means a lot.
Every now and then you’ll get mixed up with someone else in comedy…well unless you have some atypical look for a comedian, like being attractive or looking well rested. I’ve been mixed up with a fair amount of comedians, all of them being Indian. Not sure exactly why, as I am not Indian.
Most often it’s being mistaken for my buddy Hasan Minhaj, which I take as a compliment because he is good looking and has great hair. One night I was going to a show of mine at Red Rock on Sunset, and the bouncer said I had to pay $5. I say, no I’m a comedian performing. He looks at me skeptically, then looks at a show flyer on the door, which wasn’t even for the show that night, but it had Hasan on it. He quickly says, oh so sorry, I see you! Come on in!
Early in my career people would tell me I resembled an established comedian, Arj Barker. It was for a few reasons, because I had semi long hair and semi brown skin like he does, and when I started out I liked to yell on stage, and so did he. But people would come up to me and say I was a lot like Arj because I yell on stage. Funny because I could name about 30 other comedians who yell on stage, but I’m the only one who happens to look like him. People just have a hard time admitting being racist. It really used to frustrate me how much people liked me to Arj, so much so that I stopped yelling on stage just to get them off my back, and eventually I cut my hair. What bothered me the most is that I rarely watched Arj perform, but every time I did I had to admit to myself that I really did like him, probably because we had a similar outlook on things. But what else can you expect from two semi-brown comedians who grew up in the Bay Area? Arg, so frustrating.
However, one time in Pleasanton after a show a hot girl came up to me and said, I just saw you on Letterman! This was right after Arj appeared on Letterman. I was like, ‘thanks, but I don’t…’ She cuts me off, ‘no you were great!’. And so I didn’t say anything else. So we end up going on a few dates. Thanks Arj for that assist! Finally, after seeing each other a few weeks, we are about to seal the deal one night, and I’m feeling guilty, so I tell her that it wasn’t me on Letterman. She takes a step back, thinks about it, and then says, ‘eh it’s okay, I really like you anyway.’ Because as much as I look like any other comedian, this likeability is all Sammy Obeid.