Guest Movie Review – Allah Made Me Funny

I’m out of town this weekend. The fam and I are taking a quick trip with some friends down to Wadi Rum.  If you don’t know what that is, it has less to do with Captain Morgan and more to do with Lawrence of Arabia.  Click here for some info.

In the meantime, my good friend David recently went to see Allah Made Me Funny and has written a review of this short and very funny film.  (If you don’t know David you should check out his blog, Signs of Life.  You can also pretty much blame David for getting me into blogging.)  Anyways, the film follows three Muslim Americans as they tour the country performing stand-up comedy.  I’m a bit jealous as I really wanted to see the film myself. Its release has been much anticipated in some circles.  I’ve only seen YouTube clips like the one below. Click on the arrow to view the clip right here – funny and well worrth the 2 minutes.  Scroll down to read David’s review.

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Guest Movie Review of Allah Made Me Funny

by David Swanson

To be Muslim in America today must be a complicated thing. How does a person retain an Islamic identity while distinguishing him or herself from the cultural caricatures so prevalent in popular culture? American Muslims must tire from constantly explaining the differences between religious belief and ethnic identities or the significant differences between the Islamic sects. I wonder just how patriotic an American Muslim would have to be in order to be accepted as a full-fledged member of the United States. Case in point: this year’s election has shown that it’s not enough for Barak Obama to show that he’s not a terrorist, he also must prove repeatedly that he’s not a Muslim. In today’s American it seems the two are synonymous.

What is an American Muslim to do?

Azhar Uthman - Chicago area Muslim American comedian - search for his clips on YouTube.  He is so funny, I've known about him for awhile now and he always makes me laugh out loud

Azhar Usman - Chicago area comedian - search for his clips on YouTube. He is so funny, I laugh out loud whenever I watch him.

If you are Azhar Usman, Mo Amer or Preacher Moss, you make people laugh. Teaming up for the Allah Made Me Funny comedy tour, these three men belong to the relatively small group of comedians who are both American and Muslim. In the documentary by the same name, we are introduced to the three comedians and their unique stories. While most of the film is spent on their stand-up routines, we also meet the comedians’ families and mentors. Making a living as a Muslim telling jokes in post-9/11 America is fraught with peril. The filmmakers choose to let most of this tension surface during the routines, allowing the behind the scenes moments to fill in the back-story that led to the Allah Made Me Funny tour.

Two things stand out during the comedians’ routines. First, while each man is defined by his Islamic faith, it is the cultural backgrounds that are most clearly evident: Palestinian, Indian, and African American respectively. Having each comedian come from a different cultural and ethnic place allows the less-informed viewer to observe the important differences within the Muslim world. Second, the themes shared by the comedians are mainly about being an outsider in American culture. The crowds’ laughter at jokes about airport security the FBI’s surveillance is a window into the stresses of life in America for many Muslims.

It must be said that this short film (just 83 minutes) is quite funny. As one who is removed from Islamic faith and culture, I found plenty of moments to laugh out loud. Apparently comedy crosses cultures. I imagine this is just one of the important ideas behind this funny and insightful film.

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Thanks for the review David!  What do you folks think?  Anybody else see the film or the comedy tour?  Any thoughts or comments being Muslim and American?  Or being Muslim and a comedian in America?

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One Response

  1. […] about Muslim American comedians.  Brian was kind enough to post my short review on his blog, Pilgrim Without a Shrine.  Oh, and to Brian’s claim that I’m responsible for his blogging… happily guilty […]

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