Friday, November 29, 2013

Allah Made Me Funny and Other Muslim Stand-Up Comedians



I love watching stand-up comedies. Most of the stand-up comics I knew were from Philippines like Pokwang, Vice Ganda, K Brosas and Pooh. When I came to New York I watched all stand-up comedy shows on Netflix. I love Russel Peters, Aziz Ansari, and Kevin Hart.

Then one day, I was just randomly searching for stand-up comedy shows on Youtube and.....Bam! It opens up a line-up of Muslim comedians. There’s actually a New York Arab American Comedy Festival. I didn't know about it before. Even my friends who were born here are not familiar with Muslim Stand-Up Comedians. Comedy become their medium to tell a story of being a Muslim in America. I believe that it is also a positive way to deal with stereotypes and racism.  To tell you more about the growing population of Muslim comedians here’s my list.

 The New York Arab-American Comedy Festival celebrated their 10th annual anniversary last October 24-27, 2013. It was founded by comedians Dean Obeidallah and Maysoon Zayid. You can also check out their documentary "The Muslims are Coming" and their comedy tour "Axis of Evil". The New York Arab-American Comedy Festival has discovered a lot of new comedians and made a positive impact on society. I wasn't able to watch one of their show but next year I will surely come. 


It was a comedy tour started 10 years ago by  Preacher Moss, Mohammed Amer and Azhar Usman. They aim to educate Muslim and non-Muslim about tolerance and acceptance through comedy.In Octover 2005, "Allah Made Me Funny" were honored at the Annual Media Awards dinner of the Los Angeles-based Muslim Public Affairs Council.
                                     
He is a comedian, movie/ TV actor, movie producer. He recently made the movie/documentary "Just Like Us". He also worked with Dean Obeidellah in the comedy tour "Axis of Evil". Ahmed Ahmed also worked with a Jewish Rabbi Rob Alper on a comedy show "One Arab, One Jew, One Stage" for interfaith harmony. 

“We can’t define who we are on a serious note because nobody will listen.
The only way to do it is to be funny about it.”
– Ahmed Ahmed


Public Broadcasting Station made a film about America at a Crossroads STAND-UP: Muslim American Comics Come of Age. They featured the lives of  stand-up comedians that I mentioned above. If you noticed they are Americans who happened to be Muslim but they have different backgrounds and cultures. 
                 
              "Breaking down stereotypes one joke at a time" - PBS.org