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Rachel: What brought you to DC?
Mariya: I moved to the DC area in 1994 with my parents and sister. We were refugees from Ukraine. A long-lost relative (the daughter of my great grandmother’s sister, who escaped to America on a ship during the Holocaust and grew up here) sponsored our visas.
Rachel: So you’re a comedian. How did you get into that?
Mariya: I don’t have a straightforward answer about how I got into comedy. I have always loved to write (prose, poetry, journals) and have always found humor in day to day existence. Especially with my weird life as a still assimilating immigrant. I thought it might be fun to say things out loud instead of just writing them and one day decided to try it, in total secret from my family and friends, at first.
Rachel: We hear you’ll be preforming again soon. Can you give us more details?
Mariya: I am actually booked to do another great Jewish event at The Science Club next Wednesday June 26th – https://jwi.org/shtick. It benefits Jewish Women International – a multifaceted charity working to prevent domestic abuse, promote women’s leadership and financial savvy, and many other great causes. Best way to learn about my upcoming shows as they come up is to follow me on Twitter: @mariyaalexander or on FaceBook: Mariya Alexander. I host a monthly show at The Pinch on 14th Street in DC – every 3rd Thursday of the month. People should definitely check it out!
Rachel: What is your favorite Jewish food?
Mariya: Latkes are my absolute favorite, but I have to say, I am one of those weirdos that actually likes gefilte fish
Rachel: Who is the coolest Jew?
Mariya: The coolest Jew is without a doubt Howard Stern. He is my personal hero.
Rachel: Finish the sentence: When the Jews gather….
Mariya: I have to be honest, I don’t really know. I didn’t grow up with other Jewish children. I learned about Jewish culture through literature and comedy, and my grandparents’ heart-wrenching stories of WWII. The USSR almost robbed me of my heritage, and I am tremendously grateful for being here in the US and being able to figure out what being a Jew means to me today. One aspect of Jewish culture that stands out to me the most is our capacity for humor, even, or perhaps especially, in difficult times. I hope that through comedy I can learn more and teach others about not only what it means to be a Jew, but rather, human.