Writer, actor, comedian, Maysoon Zayid is the co-founder of the New York Arab-American Comedy Festival. In this TED talk, the Arab-American comedian takes us on a whistle-stop tour of her adventures as an actress, stand-up comic, philanthropist and advocate for the disabled….
Maysoon Zayid – Comedian and Writer
Hello, TEDWomen, what’s up?
Not good enough. Hello, TEDWomen, what is up?
My name is Maysoon Zayid, and I am not drunk, but the doctor who delivered me was. He cut my mom six different times in six different directions, suffocating poor little me in the process. As a result, I have cerebral palsy, which means I shake all the time. Look. It’s exhausting. I’m like Shakira — Shakira meets Muhammad Ali.
CP (cerebral palsy) is not genetic. It’s not a birth defect. You can’t catch it. No one put a curse on my mother’s uterus, and I didn’t get it because my parents are first cousins, which they are. It only happens from accidents, like what happened to me on my birth day.
Now, I must warn you, I’m not inspirational, and I don’t want anyone in this room to feel bad for me, because at some point in your life, you have dreamt of being disabled. Come on a journey with me. It’s Christmas Eve, you’re at the mall, you’re driving around in circles looking for parking, and what do you see? Sixteen empty handicapped spaces. And you’re like, “God, can’t I just be a little disabled?”