Lewis Center Fellows

Maysoon Zayid

Maysoon Zayid headshot

Photo by Michelle Kinney

About

Maysoon Zayid is an actress, comedian, writer, and disability advocate. She is a graduate of and a Guest Comedian in Residence at Arizona State University. Maysoon is the co-founder/co-executive producer of the New York Arab American Comedy Festival and The Muslim Funny Fest. She was a full-time On Air Contributor to Countdown with Keith Olbermann and is a guest writer for Vice. She has most recently appeared on CNN’s New Day, 60 Minutes, and ABC News. Maysoon had the most viewed TED Talk of 2014 and was named 1 of 100 Women of 2015 by BBC.

As a professional comedian, she has performed in top New York clubs and has toured extensively at home and abroad. Maysoon was a headliner on the Arabs Gone Wild Comedy Tour and The Muslims Are Coming Tour. She appeared alongside Adam Sandler in You Don’t Mess with the Zohan and is a recurring character on General Hospital. Maysoon limped in New York Fashion Week and is the host of the web series, Advice You Don’t Want to Hear. She is the author of the bestselling memoir Find Another Dream and is the creator of the Book of Bay Ann children’s graphic novel series.

CURRENT PROJECTS

Book of Bay Ann

Maysoon is thrilled to be collaborating with kid lit giant Scholastic on her upcoming comic book series Book of Bay Ann. This fun and innovative series centers a disabled BIPOC 11 year-old that flip flops between a highly fictionalized reality and the dream world.

Maysoon is executive producing the audio version of the Book of Bay Ann to ensure that her comic book series is accessible to all middle grade fans.

Welcome to the DisCo

DisCo is an 8 part docuseries that was developed by Maysoon in collaboration with Crip Camp’s award-winning director Nicole Newnham. Maysoon is executive producing along with Film45 and Endeavor Content. She is also Head Writer and host. Welcome to the DisCo will feature 90% disabled representation on screen and a minimum of 20% disabled employment behind the scenes.

Limping on the Edge

Maysoon is hitting the road again post-pandemic to tour her standup comedy special Limping on the Edge. She will be performing at universities and clubs nationwide as well as globally.

Merry Muslim Mary

Maysoon is a Christmas loving Muslim and has written a soon-to-be holiday classic called Merry Muslim Mary. The Christmas movie follows Miriam as she fights against all odds, and a woman named Joanna, to make a Christmas miracle happen.

Sanctuary

Maysoon has teamed up with iconic director Nancy Savoca on the independent film Sanctuary. Nancy was the first woman to win best director at Sundance. Sanctuary follows the journey of a high-powered Wall Street lawyer played by Maysoon who gets sucked into the gritty world of immigration.

US 99

This road trip buddy comedy flick is set the week between Christmas and New Years 1999. US 99 follows best friends Winter and Xena in their quest to ring in the new millennium in Times Square. The film was penned by Maysoon who will star as Xena, produced by Play House Studios, and directed by the legendary Gail Harvey.

Advice You Don’t Want to Hear

Maysoon’s webseries Advice You Don’t Want to Hear is filmed in Jerusalem. Maysoon plans to head back to the West Bank to film season six and is proud to use all local hires.

sCrips

The sCrips are four talented, disabled actors who read Maysoon’s original works to investors. Maysoon’s dream is to write a script specifically for the sCrips to star in. They will collaborate with her on every step of the project.

New York Arab American Comedy Festival

Now in its 18th year, the NYAACF is co-produced by Maysoon and Dean Obedallah. It is the largest ethnic comedy festival in the USA. This year presents a special challenge since the city’s live venues were shuttered due to the pandemic. The festival hopes to be an integral part of rejuvenating NYC.

Princeton University

Maysoon was named a 2021-23 Princeton Arts Fellow and will be teaching a course in standup comedy for undergraduate students at New Jersey’s Ivy league in the Fall of 2021.