Comedian Jesse Appell performs at a club in Beijing. Appell won a scholarship in 2012 to study comedy in China and has been performing on the country's small but growing stand-up comedy circuit. Anthony Kuhn/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Anthony Kuhn/NPR

Think of human relationships as entanglements. How do they bind you; how do they reveal who you really are? Daniel Horowitz for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Daniel Horowitz for NPR

Desiree Akhavan plays Shirin in Appropriate Behavior. Akhavan says she chose the name Shirin because it means sweet in Farsi. "Even though she's insane, she has a sweetness," says Akhavan. Desiree Akhavan hide caption

itoggle caption Desiree Akhavan

Comedian Andrea Martin performs at New York's 54 Below in 2012. She published her memoir Lady Parts in September. Michael Loccisano/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

Cameron Esposito has appeared on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, IFC's Maron and E!'s Chelsea Lately. Mandee Johnson/Right On! PR hide caption

itoggle caption Mandee Johnson/Right On! PR

"Every time something pops in my head, I think twice about it and I do it anyway." - Gilbert Gottfried. Joe Scarnici/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Joe Scarnici/Getty Images

Dean Obeidallah and Negin Farsad, co-directors of The Muslims Are Coming! Shereen Marisol Meraji/Code Switch hide caption

itoggle caption Shereen Marisol Meraji/Code Switch