Posted November 8, 2016 by Felix Chrome in Community
 
 

Welcome to POC Talk

Olympia Comedy with Summer Azim

Hello and welcome to POC Talk! A new column we’ve created for people of color (POC) by people of color! With issues of representation looming large on our minds lately (and who are we kidding, always) our goal is to focus on the unique experiences POC face at Evergreen and in Olympia. We’re here to answer your questions, scour out the best places to buy and get food, help you find shows and events, introduce you to local POC artists and anything else y’all want to hear from us.

We’ll be taking your questions and comments and would love to hear from you—help us shape this column into what our community wants to see! When it all comes down to it we’re doing this for all of you, representation is key so help us bring the realness.

In upcoming issues we hope to fill this column with as many of your lovely voices as you are willing to share with us. This being the case please send us your questions/comments/concerns/ cool, bad, overlooked things you want to see talked about, events to go, and awesome local POC artists to check out! We want this column to be specifically about POC issues; think less how do I educate my white dreaded roommate (or how do I stop being the white dreaded roommate) and more how do I find something even similar to home cooking? Where do I find POC community? How do I make Evergreen classrooms a more welcoming environment? Or even how do I rid myself of white-dread roommate’s numerous micro-agressions? We’re all for helping POC stay strong through emotionally difficult situations, not so much for just educating white people on how to have understanding around our oppressions.

You can submit to POC Talk at poctalk@cooperpointjournal.com

This week I sat down with Summer Azim, local Evergreen badass and all around funny person, to talk about the Olympia comedy scene and navigating comedy and performance as a person of color in this very white town.

Tell me about yourself?

My name is Summer Azim, I’m a Libra, a Loving Daughter and Comedian

How long have you been doing comedy?

Sometime in November I’ll be a year in.

What was it that got you started?

Comedy is something that I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. I was particularly interested in writing comedy but I think that starting with Stand-up is a great way to sharpen your skills as a writer and being funny.

So do you plan to pursue comedy writing as a career?

Yes! Inshallah (God willing). That’s the dream. I’d love to create and write a show about Black girls being weird and badass. I grew up watching a lot of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler and SNL in general and while I loved it, I noted that there was a startling lack of POC sketches or sketches relating to POC. I felt like the landscape of TV humor was very white and I’m so glad to be the age I am now and being able to see people like Issa Rae, Donald Glover, Nicole Byer and Aziz Ansari doing exactly what I want to do.

Would you be willing to pitch a show to me right now, go?!

So my ideal show would follow a Black Muslim woman navigating through life in post 9/11 America and Obama. I would love to have my experiences told in TV show format and in a humorous way.  I’m also really annoyed with a certain type of Black girl being portrayed on TV. Like all power to them, but not all of us love Beyonce, Scandal and Drake. Some of us grew up wanting to be a witch, obsessed with skateboarding, graphic novels and Anthony Bourdain. I want to make space for the weird Black girl who got told she was trying to be white for liking Metallica. I also feel it’s important that Black muslims are more normalized and represented as regular people who do regular things.

I 100% agree with you, representation is so important, with that in mind what’s your fave and least fave thing about comedy?

My favorite thing: The creative outlet. Least favorite: Dealing with YTBoi egos. (Miss me with that, Chad!)

That’s very understandable hopefully that ego misses the rest of us too! Do you have a favorite place to perform?

Vomity, Le Voyeur, Wednesdays 9pm. Getcholife.

Its obvious you enjoy performing in Olympia, how does olympia compare to other places you have performed?

I’ve performed in Portland and Seattle. I would say Portland > Seattle, Olympia > Seattle, Portland > Olympia. Even though Seattle is the closest “big city” we have with a vibrant scene, it can be kind of petty and ignorant. I feel like Olympia is the best place in Washington to do comedy because we have a lot of talent in such a small city that it creates a kind of community.

Because there is a sense of community does living in Olympia affect your comedy?

I feel so grateful to have started in Olympia. The kind of environment here is just so welcoming and supportive. I feel like Olympia pushes you to be more creative with your jokes and not just go for middle-of-the-road, basic-ass jokes.

So olympia pushes you to be more outgoing in your comedy, how do you go about crafting your jokes, what’s your creative process?

I usually have the best ideas about 15-20 minutes after I wake up because I’m in raw Fat Regina George mode. Then after that if I like an idea enough I’ll expand on it and then think about it for a couple weeks, trying to see what works or not. Usually, once I arrive at something I’m okay with at the moment, I write it down word for word and then do it that way until I change it.

I love it! What could possibly be more relatable than “raw Fat Regina George mode” Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me today. Tell us when’s your next show?

I feel like I’m going to be in Tacoma November 6th, or so? Peeled Bananas Showcase

And Tacoma again in December if I don’t go back to Chicago!

Dear White people,  please take a step back, no this isn’t brown-people-answer-white-people’s-questions-hour, we’re asking specifically for submissions from POC

Although racism, neo nazis and issues of police abuse and harassment are major issues within our communities. We really want to try and focus this column on being a place for POC without inadvertently making it all about white people and how they treat us. The thing is we don’t need our eyes opened to these issues we know, live and experience them personally. We want this to be a place where we can be us without it being overshadowed by the dark cloud that is living under white supremacy and being forced to look at life through the lense and from the perspective of white people. This is why when we do cover these issues it will be in the context and from the perspective of POC and POC only.