Between having recently opened for comedy legend Russell Peters, and his onstage impersonation of Gary Vaynerchuk at Vee-Con, Neema Naz is a comedian on the rise.
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Taking the
by Storm

How did you get started as a comedian and tell us about your journey using social media to get your skits out into the universe.

I started about seven years ago, when I was studying in University. During my studies I realized I wasn't doing what I really loved, so I dropped out and started pursuing comedy and acting full time. I never really took risks in my life until that moment and I thought, “you know what? It's time for me to take a risk for once in my life”. That's how it happened and now I'm here.

You have a stand-up comedy tour called "I'm Your Sugar Daddy” coming to cities across Canada this fall. I heard that you sold out all of your Toronto dates; congratulations! Tell me about that.

Thank you so much. I'm going on tour starting September 18th and the first stop is Calgary. The tour runs all the way until October 22nd. All of my tour dates and tickets are available on my website and there are still a few cities that have tickets available. The tour stops are all across Canada and it's my first ever national stand-up comedy tour so I'm very excited. So far the feedback has been really great and we're getting a lot of people to come out and support the live shows which I’m very grateful for.

You're going to be hosting a Tailgate with Rivalry on September 11th. What can you tell me about that collaboration? What can fans expect from the Tailgate?

I love the partnership that we have with Rivalry. They've been very supportive and open to any ideas that we've had from the beginning of the partnership until now.

I'm very grateful and lucky to be able to work with them on a higher level. The upcoming Tailgate will take place at the Wingporium on Sunday, September 11th in Etobicoke.

It’s going to be a really fun interactive day for fans of mine to come and hang out with me and Rivalry. There will be trivia, swag, food and drinks. I'm pretty excited for it!

One of your famous impressions is of Gary V [Gary Vaynerchuk] and you recently opened his VeeCon. Tell me about that experience and how you felt when you were asked to participate.

That was definitely one of the most surreal moments of my life and career. It was a very big milestone for me. Myself, my brother and our whole team have really followed Gary V's methods and advice over the years, so I started impersonating him from the beginning because I liked him so much.

The impressions ended up turning into something huge, where I became one of the best Gary V impersonators out of nowhere online and it got to a point where it caught his attention.

He started to like my videos, comment on them and then he followed me. All of a sudden his team reaches out and I'm at VeeCon onstage with him in front of thousands of people impersonating him. It was one of the coolest moments of my life.

You play your characters so accurately and vividly. Where do you seek inspiration for your characters?

The characters just naturally come to me, to be honest. I never try to force any new characters unless I feel like I can. But every character I have so far has just naturally come to me because it's an extension of how I was raised or being around the people that I was raised with. I pretty much just mimic my friends, parents, coworkers or people I've met along the way. I combine all those people into one and it just turns out that these characters are popular now and they work.

Which character of yours is one of the most fun or a favourite to perform?

That's such a tough question because I like them all equally. It's weird because as a comedian you have ups and downs with certain material or jokes. There are times where I'm in the mood to play a certain character or type of joke, so I'll just do that. But in general, I think I always have fun doing my hockey character Travis Carter who I call "Cartsy". He is definitely one of the most fun characters for me because it comes natural to me. I also grew up around a lot of hockey guys, so it's just funny to impersonate them.

You're in an episode of Amazon Prime’s The Boys. Do you plan to do more acting roles like that in the future? Is that something you want to pursue on top of comedy?

Oh yes, acting is a big passion of mine as well. I have always loved acting since I was a kid. I always envisioned myself being a movie star and playing big roles and I still am actively doing auditions for commercials, TV shows and movies. Eventually I would love to get to the point where I can produce and act in my own movies as well. A dream of mine is to create this big Adam Sandler type crew with friends that I already collaborate with and build an empire.

You recently opened for your idol Russell Peters. Tell me about that moment and what it meant for you.

I mean, it's hard to even put into words because Russell Peters is not only one of my idols in comedy, but also in general life. When I was a kid, I would watch TV with my dad and Russell Peters was the first comedian I saw on TV doing stand-up. It was almost a shock to me, in a good way of like wow, this guy can just go up there and talk about other people like that. It was hilarious to me and was exactly my sense of humor. When I started to pursue comedy it was definitely because of Peters and a couple of other comedians that I really looked up to. So the fact that I'm here seven years later opening for him three nights in a row is a full circle moment for me.

It’s the proudest moment of my life, the biggest milestone of my career and I couldn't be happier to have had that opportunity.

What advice would you give to aspiring comedians, or content creators and artists that want to get started in the industry?

If you're gonna do it you need to be 100% ready to be all in. Otherwise, you're not going to have fun with it. That's another big takeaway for me, that you have to have fun while you're doing this. Pursuing comedy has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done as there can be ups and downs. I had to swim through the trenches just to get stage time, get better material, and make connections. It takes a lot of experience and repetition to get comfortable and find your voice, and it’s so important to have fun along the journey.

Catch Neema Naz on his upcoming I’m Your Sugar Daddy tour or register to join him at the Rivalry Football Tailgate Tour on September 11th at Wingporium (Etobicoke) from 12-4pm.

For more follow Neema on his social platforms @NeemaNaz or visit his website!

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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