Fareeha Khan is calling from Applebee’s

Fareeha Khan is a comedian and artist based in New York City. She’s been on Comedy Central’s “Tight Five” presented by Ilana Glazer, has toured her stand up with Man Repeller, and was featured on the NBC showcase at the Women in Comedy Festival. Her humor writing has appeared on MTV Decoded, Reductress, and in the book Every Body. She has acted in sketches on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Comedy Central, and Adult Swim, as well as several indie short films, including 1/30, which was executive produced by Lena Waithe. Her short film she created, wrote, and starred in, Break Up, Baby, was a NoBudge 2021 pick and Vulture said she has “an enchanting onscreen presence” in it, which was pretty cool. She self-publishes zines, essays, and comics exploring the search for meaning in the trappings of capitalism, which you can find right here.

What’s your first impulse when someone says “women aren’t funny”?
You fucking dumb idiot. Cannot even give this idiot any of my attention because we are all slowly dying and that is a waste of time.
Favorite response to a heckler or troll?
Dude, are you okay?
BRIEFLY describe your worst gig (noting that you survived).
Sadly I bombed pretty hard at the Indian Community Center in Rochester. All the aunties and uncles were literally soooo nice, but I really had to learn that Brooklyn-style, alt, weird-ass, existential comedy is not for everyone.
Duly noted.
Was there one person who inspired you to go into comedy? If so: Who, why, how?
Before I got into comedy, I was really trying to please my immigrant parents. I tried really hard to be a normal girl with a normal job.
I was a miserable paralegal. Three years in, I was nearly dead. So my brother was like, “why don’t you try comedy? you’ve always had a weird sense of humor.” And that helped a lot.
What were you like as a teen?
Dude, I was funny. But I did not have any comedy goals yet because I was a shy weird brown girl and did not know that was possible.
I was really into prank calls though and was honestly really good at them. I successfully convinced many kids at my school that they had stood up a woman at Applebee’s who had been waiting there for 6 hours.
That’s my best bit. My friends loved it and that was my early experience of getting laughs from an audience and loving it. 🙂
How has being funny helped you in your offstage life, either recently or when you were younger?
I think finding something that I’m good at has given me a lot of confidence I didn’t have in my youth. It’s really nice to make something of yourself. It helps with the existential crisis of wondering if life has meaning.
Favorite response to “What’s it like to be a woman in comedy”?
Umm, IDK… I am surrounded by other women and queer people and I don’t talk to that many straight dudes. So honestly, it’s pretty fun.
When you were coming up in comedy, what helped you stick with it?
Having fun with my friends.
Starting and running my own open mic that was only for women, queer, non-binary folks – that’s where I made all my friends who are still my friends today!
I really don’t think I would’ve stuck with it if I didn’t have that mic because all the other mics were overrun with white boys and the jokes that landed there weren’t the same as the jokes that landed in our room.
I love a bubble tbh. It’s nice in the bubble. I love my dudes.
Best comedy advice you ever got?
Everything sucks. Just do you.
Worst comedy advice you ever got?
You gotta hustle and do every show every night or else!!!! (That’s a fast track to burn out and … I just don’t believe in the capitalist construct of “hustle culture.”)
On your deathbed, what transcendent advice would you croak at a young comedian?
Nothing matters as much as your relationships!
Not the industry, not a special, not winning over some cool comedian you wish liked you. Don’t neglect your personal life, you sweet young flower!!!!!
What single word always cracks you up?
Dubious – funny-sounding 🙂

Maggie Scudder runs the Editorial Content at GOLD. She is a writer, comedian, and NYC transplant. On her podcast, Edward is a Vampire, she is staunchly Team Rosella (RosalieXBella); on her TikTok, @wereplayinggames, she is very competitive. She loves sourdough toast, walking on boats, and the rule of threes.