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Address Your Letters To Maz Jobrani


No coverage of foreign affairs would be complete without checking in with our own international bureau, the man who can imitate any foreign accent in a way that perfectly inspires the rage of people who are actually from those places. That's Mr. Maz Jobrani.


SAGAL: Your next story of what got a hot during this last year comes from Maz Jobrani.

MAZ JOBRANI: First there was MySpace, then came Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Vine. It seems every day there's a new social website for kids to keep up with. How is a teen to manage it all? Easy, by multitasking. Vilimandar Patel(ph), a Web designer in Silicon Valley, has come up with the latest website, FootFoot(ph), which allows kids to social media with their feet while they're using their hands to text, Instagram or tweet on another phone.

(Speaking in foreign accent) My daughter was confused. Dad, she said, should I close my Twitter account now that I spent most of my time on Vine? What about Instagram? It's too much to do. And so I developed FootFoot, which allows my little angel to update all of her sites with her feet while she's using her hands to text or maybe even eat her dinner for once.


JOBRANI: The one drawback is that there has been an increase of foot cramps in kids age 10 to 15 recently. Patel was quoted as saying (speaking in foreign accent) if your feet aren't enough, I'm working on a new site that allows you to update your status with other body parts. I'm calling it FaceButt(ph).


SAGAL: Let me just say, Maz, that I know now from long experience that there's nothing our listeners appreciate more, and write in to let us know how much they appreciate, than your ethnic accents.

JOBRANI: Thank you.


JOBRANI: Thank you.

SAGAL: I'm anticipating a wave of real enthusiasm for that.

JOBRANI: I toned the accent down intentionally. I'm actually married to an Indian woman, so if...

SAGAL: That's not going to help any of us, Maz.


SAGAL: Kyrie, later this year, the Italian Space Agency will launch its Futura Mission. And to prepare for the arrival of Italian astronauts, the International Space Station announced it will do what?

O'CONNOR: Send up a shipment of garlic?



SAGAL: They're installing something on the space station for the Italians' comfort and enjoyment.

O'CONNOR: A pasta maker?

SAGAL: Close.

O'CONNOR: Oh, close.

SAGAL: Something Italians like.

O'CONNOR: A decent coffee maker?

SAGAL: Exactly. An espresso machine.


SAGAL: The Americans and Russians might be content, you know, with weak coffee from the space Dunkin' Donuts, but not the Italians. The Italian coffee company Lavazza has designed the world's first, space espresso machine. They called it the ISSpresso machine - ISS, International Space Station.


SAGAL: Yeah. Thank you.

O'ROURKE: Very clever.

SAGAL: Thank you, Italy. Seems excessive, but keep in mind, the Americans make water up there by recycling their own urine.


SAGAL: The Italians were like, yeah, we'll make our own coffee. Thanks.


SAGAL: And American's are like, no, I'll operate it. I had a big Gatorade this morning. I'm ready to do a latte. Let's go.


JOBRANI: I wonder - they must have, like, the nicest spacesuits 'cause I know that Alitalia - that...

SAGAL: Oh, they're fitted. They're fitted, man.

JOBRANI: Yeah, the suits are designed by Armani on Alitalia. It's true. And so I wonder if they have, like, (speaking with Italian accent) hey, ciao bella.


SAGAL: (Speaking with Italian accent) The drape on the spacesuits - very nice.

JOBRANI: (Speaking with Italian accent) This helmet's a little too big. Can you make it a little smaller? I want it feeling good.


JOBRANI: (Speaking with Italian accent) I don't know how to fly this thing, but I look good.


SAGAL: Your next story of fish terrorizing landlubbers comes from Maz Jobrani.

JOBRANI: Just when you thought it was safe to pump some gas, along comes the shark bandit. This sharp-toothed robber has been victimizing gas stations in and around the Seattle area for weeks. Disguised as a shark, this suspect approaches gas station attendants and robs them at teethpoint. His sidekick is a mermaid.


JOBRANI: Ahmed Abdullah Rahim(ph) of the Main Street Shell station was quoted as saying (speaking in foreign accent) I look outside, and I think why is there a shark at Pump Number Eight?


SAGAL: Hold on, Maz? I just want to interrupt. Could you tell the listening audience where you're from originally?

JOBRANI: I'm from Iran.

SAGAL: Thank you, go on.


JOBRANI: But that's a Jordanian accent. So Jordanians, write in.


JOBRANI: (Speaking in foreign accent) Then I look again, and I see there is also mermaid. Before I know it, they're inside. The shark tell me to give him all my money and some beef jerky, or he will bite me.


JOBRANI: Their getaways have been a bit slow, given the mermaid's difficulty in running with a tail. Abdullah Rahim explains (speaking in foreign accent) after I give them the money, I see them run for their car. The shark was fast; the mermaid, she just waddles. But she looked good.


JOBRANI: Police are still searching.


SAGAL: Luke, a Pizza Hut in Australia pushed the art of marketing one step further than it's ever been pushed before when they offered customers a free what if they bought 10 pizzas?

LUKE BURBANK: A date with Paul Hogan, Crocodile Dundee.

SAGAL: No, no, no, no.

BURBANK: My Australia references are a bit dated.


BURBANK: I hope you'll all forgive me.

PAULA POUNDSTONE: No shame in that.

JOBRANI: (Speaking in Australian accent) That's not a knife this is a knife. Remember that?

BURBANK: How about - let's see - this is Pizza Hut pizza so would they give you a free pizza from somewhere else?


SAGAL: We'll give you better food.

BURBANK: I'm getting so close. One more Pizza Hut pizza and then I get a real pizza. Can I get a hint?

SAGAL: Yeah. The little exercise wheel costs extra.

BURBANK: They give you, like, a pet hamster?

SAGAL: Yes, a hamster...


SAGAL: ...Or a gerbil or maybe a lizard or a snake. It all depends on what you like on your pizza. The store said that with the purchase of 10 pizzas, customers would get, quote, "one small pet," unquote, from a nearby pet store. They were obviously trying to reach the demographic of people who are really, really hungry and want to hunt their desert.


SAGAL: The offer was met with outrage by local animal activists. And their restaurant soon apologized and canceled the promotion. The animal activists thought they had scored a victory, but when the next pizza they ordered had really tiny pepperoni...


JOBRANI: That's got to be someone at the marketing meeting, you know, going like (speaking in Australian accent) McDonald's gives a little toys and the boat and the toys. We should give them something a little more lively. Like just give them a little more. And someone's like how about a crocodile? That's too much. Little less.


SAGAL: I don't care what you say, Maz, I just want you to keep talking in your Australian accent. Please continue.


POUNDSTONE: Very realistic.

JOBRANI: It's very easy, you just channel pirate and - (speaking in Australian accent) all right, argh. And then you do a bad Australian accent.

SAGAL: Really that's the secret?

JOBRANI: (Speaking in Australian accent) All right, all right, ahoy all right.


JOBRANI: (Speaking in Australian accent) How bout a little hamster all right, all right. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.