FamilySearch Press Release:
Improbable Comic Maysoon Zayid Brings Her Powerful
and Hilarious Story to RootsTech 2022
9 February 2022, SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH— Maysoon Zayid bills herself as a comedian, actress, disability advocate, and tap dancer. What she is, is an inspiration. Injured at birth, Maysoon grew up with cerebral palsy. Doctors told her parents she would never walk, so she learned to dance. “You can do it! Yes, you cancan,” her father would tell her, and she never stopped believing it. Her powerful story, told in her unique, hilarious style is sure to delight the worldwide online audience attending RootsTech 2022 (March 3-5, 2022). Register for free at RootsTech 2022 to watch Maysoon.
Maysoon grew up in New Jersey with more than a few potential strikes against her. “In the oppression Olympics I would win a gold medal. I’m Palestinian, I’m Muslim, I’m a woman of color, I’m divorced, I’m disabled, and I am childless with a cat named ‘Beyonce’,” she says with a grin.
But as fate would have it, she was surrounded by immigrant parents, three older sisters, and a nurturing support system, including her Palestinian grandparents and extended family, that set her feet on a path of confidence and achievement. “My disability should have been isolating. The only reason it wasn’t isolating was because I was really blessed and lucky to have a community that supported me, didn’t bully me, didn’t make fun of me, [and] always included me,” said Maysoon.
In the intervening years Maysoon earned a degree in acting from Arizona State University, became a Princeton Fellow, and co-founded and co-executive produced the New York Arab American Comedy Festival and The Muslim Funny Fest. She has been a full-time On Air Contributor to Countdown with Keith Olbermann and a columnist for The Daily Beast. She has appeared on Oprah Winfrey Networks’ In Deep Shift, 60 Minutes, and ABC News. Maysoon had the most viewed TED Talk of 2014 and was named one of 100 Women 2015 by the BBC.
According to her online bio, as a professional comedian Maysoon has performed in top New York clubs and has toured extensively at home and abroad. She was a headliner on the Arabs Gone Wild Comedy Tour and The Muslims Are Coming Tour. Maysoon appeared alongside Adam Sandler in You Don’t Mess with the Zohan and has written for VICE. She limped in New York Fashion Week, is a recurring character on General Hospital, and is the author of Audible’s Find Another Dream.
But of all her accomplishments, she says the legacy she hopes to leave is one of equality, specifically for people with disabilities.
“The biggest thing that my Palestinian heritage did was it created a deep love and dedication to equality. And I think the most influential part of growing up with, you know, kind of one crooked leg in each world was knowing that equality works, it’s worth it, and it’s worth fighting for.”
To enjoy more of Maysoon’s fascinating story, and the rest of RootsTech 2022 for free, register today at RootsTech.org.