From cubicles to stand-up comedy: City employee gets laughs

Friday night at The Gallery in Little Italy, Bijan Mostafavi is working his craft. And it’s quite the contrast from his day job.

“My favorite thing to do in life is make people laugh,” said Mostafavi.

When it comes to getting laughs, you might not think of a guy crunching numbers in a row of cubicles. By day, Mostafavi works as a senior budget analyst in the Public Utilities Department, a job that includes budget monitoring and, he says, a lot of spreadsheets.

“Everyone says, oh you do budgets? I didn’t expect that. You do math? I didn’t know that,” he said.

Thankfully, his coworkers appreciate his sense of humor. Mark Gonzalez is a program manager who works in the budget section and credits Mostafavi with bringing up the morale of the office.

“He’s a great guy,” said Gonzalez. “He’s been selected several times by upper management to do team building exercises.”

When he’s not in the office, Mostafavi can be found performing on stage at venues across Southern California. On Monday nights he goes to The Geoffrey Off Broadway Ave., next door to the historic Spreckels Theatre in downtown San Diego, to film Tonight in San Diego, a variety talk show that features sketch artists and interviews with local celebrities.

Mostafavi started out making videos and turning his school work into humor in middle school. He says years of practice and encouragement of fellow comedians finally gave him the nerve to try stand-up. His dream is to, someday, own his own comedy club.

“I love the feeling I get on stage when people are laughing, there’s nothing better than that, that’s the best feeling in life,” said Mostafavi. “I’m trying to chase that feeling as much as I can.”