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Muslim Comedy Group: Allah Made Me Funny

Updated on February 17, 2013

Laugh with Azhar Usman, Preacher Moss & Mohammed Amer

"When The Improv club in Washington, DC, hosted a touring comedy troupe recently, they made a few changes. A door sign noted no alcohol would be served.

There was no pork on the menu, no smoking, and the show was short. The three comedians were Muslim, and they said they'd keep their act to 90 minutes tops so as not to interfere with evening prayer."

NPR host, Jennifer Ludden, introduces the performers: LUDDEN: So many of your jokes in this act play off people's fears of Islamic terrorism, and I want to play a clip. Here's a bit of you, Preacher Moss. And this was taped about a year ago....

Mr. MOSS: You know, it's a difficult time for Muslims, but it's a difficult time for non-Muslims. They're not sure, you know what I mean?....

Mr. USMAN: I think part of the reason why the tour has become kind of a phenomenon unto itself is because comedy and humor is really the antidote to fear. You know, we talk to people and through our show, particularly non-Muslims will come out and say, `God, you know, I had no idea that, you know, Muslims could be funny or, you know, that you have a humor tradition within Islam or, you know, that this is what Muslims are all about,' etc., etc. And it's because they feared something they didn't know.

Read more of the interview

Background on Allah Made Me Funny

Allah Made Him Funny

As a child Azhar Usman lived "in mostly Jewish Chicago suburb of Skokie, Illinois", where he was born.

His family emigrated to the United States from India.[1] He is a former lecturer, community activist, and lawyer, and is often referred to as the 'Ayatollah of Comedy' and 'Bin Laughin'.

Mo Amer is a Palestinian. The youngest of six children, he was born in Kuwait. When he was nine years old he emigrated with his family to Houston, Texas.

Preacher Moss is an African American, who converted to Islam. He is a comedian and writer. He was born in Washington, D.C.

Amer talks about how hard it is to yell for his nephew "Osama" when he disappears at a Wal-Mart, while Usman jokes about how someone in Iran must have a bustling business manufacturing American flags to burn, and how it's hard to get American Muslim kids excited about a religion whose major holiday requires them to fast for a month.

But the bulk of the material here is either obvious or a little generic-especially the multiple jokes from each about how women are the real bosses in Muslim households, and it's the men who are really oppressed.

from en.wikipedia.org photo from myspace.com

Ashar Usman - Allah Made Me Funny - America's funniest muslim part 1

Allah Made Me Funny - Live in Concert

"The routines are so clean they could have played on the Ed Sullivan show in the 50 s---which is refreshing and so old it seems new."--William Arnold, Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

This landmark concert film follows three acclaimed comedians on stage and off stage as they lift the veil to reveal the humorous truth of what it s really like to be Muslim in America. Mo Amer, Azhar Usman and Preacher Moss poke fun at themselves, their communities, government, human nature and the tricky predicament of living in post-9/11 America.

Featuring music of rising indie scene artists, Allah Made Me Funny: Live in Concert is rollicking good fun and gives people of all cultural backgrounds an opportunity to laugh hard, drop their guard and open their minds. "Allah Made Me Funny achieves its goal of breaking down stereotypes with a tongue-in-cheek grace."--Brandon Judell, Culture Catch. Bonus Features: Live Performances by Preacher Moss and Azhar Usman, plus UPF Trailers. amazon review.

Azhar Usman 1/2

Usman pokes fun at muslims, himself included. He draws laughs when he uses the word "Arabonic" to describe some muttered greetings, and sounds, recognizable by muslims. .

Is it Funny to Make People Laugh? - allah made me funny

Booklist

*Starred Review* It's hard to talk about comedy without sounding, at least part of the time, like a humorless pedant: see Freud's Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious. But it isn't impossible, as British comedians Carr (host of the Comedy Central game show Distractions) and Greeves prove in their lively, intelligent, highly readable, often hilarious coverage of all aspects of what makes people laugh--at least, in the English-speaking world...Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Q&A with Azhar Usman - America's Funniest Muslim Part II

Educated in Communications and the Spanish Language, Usman feels like he fell in love with the American form of Stand-up Comedy, as a protest medium. It's easy to misunderstand the joke if the listener doesn't "hear it." Use of stereotypes is tricky, but the intention is to dissolve stereotypes by showing people how ridiculous or untrue they are.

Review the Tour "Allah Made Me Funny"

From left, Mohammed Amer, Azhar Usman and Preacher Moss in "Allah Made Me Funny."

By LAURA KERN

Published: October 3, 2008

In early 2004 a trio of Muslim stand-up comedians hit the road for a tour called "Allah Made Me Funny," which, through humor, aimed to bring mainstream awareness to the position of Muslims within modern Western society. Hundreds of performances and four continents later, the troupe's efforts travel from stage to screen in a concert film-documentary produced and directed by Andrea Kalin.

The title doesn't lie. These guys know how to tell a joke, often at the expense of their customs, religious holidays, families and themselves. Employing a rare G-rated approach - quite a few bored-looking kids populate the audience - Mohammed Amer, a Kuwait-born Palestinian-American; Azhar Usman, a Chicagoan of Indian parentage; and Preacher Moss, an African-American Muslim convert, each gets his 20-plus minutes in the spotlight (mostly shot last year on a Los Angeles stage).

The remainder of the film finds the comics spending time with family and in front of their computer screens as they prepare fresh material on cultural stereotyping, terrorism, flying post-9/11 and other tricky subjects not regularly regarded as funny business. As with all comedy, individual taste will determine one's own laugh track.

movie review from movies.nytimes.com

Azhar Usman - Allah Made Me Funny - Square the Circle: American Muslim Comedy

Azhar Usman
Azhar Usman

SQUARE THE CIRCLE: American Muslim Comedy [Audio CD]

 

Azhar Usman - Allah Made Him Funny - America's Funniest Muslim Part III

Self-deprecating humor invites the listener to laugh with him at himself, and eventually it enables him to hold up a mirror to the audience so they can recognize and laugh at themselves.

A Poll For Readers

Have You Attended an Allah Made Me Funny Presentation?

See results

America's Funniest Muslim Part IV - Allah Made Him Funny - Q&A Continues

How does profiling affect Muslims - is it racial profiling? How to discuss the "category" of American Muslims.

AMMF says Allah Made Me Laugh

God Does Have a Sense of Humor
God Does Have a Sense of Humor

Author Rob Ballister delivers a touching and entertaining portrait of his journey through dating, growing up in New Jersey, and surviving cancer. Along the way, he learns that God Does Have a Sense of Humor. With an incredibly wry sense of humor, Ballister offers a hilarious look at life, guaranteed to make you smile!

 
Fierce Pajamas: An Anthology of Humor Writing from The New Yorker (Modern Library Paperbacks)
Fierce Pajamas: An Anthology of Humor Writing from The New Yorker (Modern Library Paperbacks)

"Quite simply among the greatest stuff like this ever written . . . There is comic brilliance in these pages. . . . [Fierce Pajamas] is more than worth your time, your money and the potential damage to your funny bone." -The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

 
And Here's the Kicker: Conversations with 21 Top Humor Writers on their Craft
And Here's the Kicker: Conversations with 21 Top Humor Writers on their Craft

(Starred Review) ... a whiz-bang collection of Q&As that will school readers just as often as it provokes laughter. The assortment boasts elder statesmen including Dick Cavett, 93-year-old Irving Brecher (who wrote shtick for the Marx Brothers and Milton Berle) and Mad magazine's Al Jaffee, who reminisces about reading American comic strips during his 1930s boyhood in Lithuania.

 
Laffirmations: 1001 Ways to Add Humor to Your Life and Work
Laffirmations: 1001 Ways to Add Humor to Your Life and Work

Joel Goodman brings you 52 weeks of ideas to strengthen your sense of humor. Each month starts with a humorous insight from Ziggy . The remaining days include quotes and questions, along with practical tips designed to make you smile. Quotes come from legendary greats--Bill Cosby, Goldie Hawn, Jerry Seinfeld and many, many more!

 

America's Funniest Muslim Part V - Allah Made Him Funny - Q&A With Azhar Usman

Discussing the problem of radical muslims on the fringe who condemn all the other muslims. We need to condemn them on the spot.

America's Funniest Muslim Part VI - Allah Made Him Funny - Q&A With Azhar Usman

Whatever is good for other muslim groups is also good for our group. Groups vary in their base, as ours has a more secular viewpoint. Our work is important, all of our humor groups.

Do you feel somewhat familiar with this style of humor, presented by these performers?

Please Share Your Observations - a lens to demystify some misconceptions and stereotypes

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      miaponzo 4 years ago

      Thank you for bringing this topic up to those who may not know much about Muslims :) Blessed!