Saleem uses comedy to cope with real life
September 3, 2013
Stand-up comedian Saleem has put his face into many pies.
Many have seen him on TV commercials for Pringles chips and Foot Locker sports. Some have seen him in ABC’s "Sons & Daughters," Universal’s "Blind Date" while others have seen him perform on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," NBC’s "Last Comic Standing," BET’s "Comic View" and TBS’s "Lopez Tonight."
Park City audiences will get the opportunity to see Saleem live when he and Joanie Coyote perform at the Egyptian Theatre on Friday, Sept. 6, and Saturday, Sept. 7.
Saleem, who lives in Ohio, said he approaches each one of his different appearances like conversations.
"That’s what comedy is," Saleem said. "For example, the conversation with a teller when you walk into a bank is going to be different than a conversation you have with a bartender at the neighborhood pub.
"It’s not that you become a different person," he said. "You just change the way you talk with each other."
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When he comes to perform at the Egyptian Theatre, he will adjust his dialogue to fit the venue.
"The show I would do in a comedy club or a bar gig will be different than what I would do during a corporate gig or a theater, but the shows you see are all very human," Saleem explained.
That’s an important aspect of his act.
"There is a viewpoint that all artists, not just comics, for some reason, is that they are how they are presented on TV or in a movie," he said. "The reality is that we’re all people and how we present ourselves depends on who we are interacting with and what you’re doing at a certain time."
Saleem said comedy has always been a part of his life, beginning with his birth.
"You’ve heard about a breached birth, right?" he asked. "Well, I came out sideways and I’ve been funny every since."
Kidding aside, Saleem said he chose comedy because he wanted to understand the concept of being funny.
"There is more to it than just telling jokes," he said. "I have found that it’s part of an art form that, hopefully, illuminates what’s real in life."
Saleem’s goal is to highlight the ideas he deems important.
"There are lot of the things that society tells us that we need to do, like being conventional and fitting in," he said. "I’m not knocking on those who are able to do that, but I think that being a human being and what makes us special is the fact that we can elevate beyond that systematic living.
"We have creative parts of our lives, and my expression of creative thought comes through the use of words and humor to talk about painful things that are not only in my life, but in others as well," he said. "I use humor to focus on things where I think society and people need to work on. And I have found no other way to talk about the things I like to talk about that will help people, including me, learn how to face the tough things in life."
Which is to say, Saleem takes his comedy seriously.
"The way I do this, and it’s not something that I take lightly, is that I exist in a funny state all the time," he explained. "I think about how I can use my funny gift in a broader sense so people can see what I’m doing and how it’s different than what their perception of what a stand-up comic is."
His personal goal is simple — to be better today than he was yesterday.
"I like to think that I do that," he said. ‘I like to think that I have become a better comedian and reached different people."
One of the ways is to put his life on the table.
"I don’t take anything off, but I do change the things I talk about when it comes to certain situations" he said. "It’s like being a chef. I will serve you what I have and I hope you like it, but I know there will be some dishes that you will really like."
The Egyptian Theatre, 328 Main St., will present a night of stand-up comedy with Saleem and Joanie Coyote on Friday, Sept 6, and Saturday, Sept. 7, at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $19 to $32. For more information, visit http://www.parkcityshows.com.