At least to workaday knuckleheads like you and me, comedy seems to be one of the most difficult art forms to master. Sure, it’s easy enough to make the fellas chuckle after a couple of gin and tonics, but to make an audience full of people laugh out loud, that’s just brutal — especially when your comedy centers on the difficulties of being a Muslim in America. That topic is just too damn raw these days.
Or is it?
If you ask Preacher Moss, the leader of the Muslim Comedy Tour, Allah Made Me Funny, he’ll tell you that humor actually comes pretty easily, even in the vexing culture of post-9/11 America. “To make people laugh compassionately is a blessing,” Moss says. His 20-year comedic resume includes comedy writing for Saturday Night Live’s Darrell Hammond, ABC’s George Lopez and Damon Wayans. He also created a one-man comedy/lecture tour called End of Racism.
“Comedy is lyrical and intellectual. Good comedy is not the stuff that manipulates people’s heartstrings, but rather tickles their hearts,” Moss says.
Not surprisingly, there is a social consciousness behind Allah Made Me Funny. The tour also features Chicago native Azhar Usman (nicknamed “the Ayatollah of Comedy”) and Azeem, a stand-up comic and founder of Azeem’s Kids Foundation, a South Carolina-based charity dedicated to helping children who are in foster and juvenile care.
Their purpose is to dispel stereotypes and to use their comedy to provoke discourse. “Comedy is the perfect tool to disarm people and invite them to think outside of their fixed cultural perceptions,” Usman says.
Let the healing begin.
At the Ford Community & Performing Arts Centre (15801 Michigan Ave., Dearborn; 313-943-2354) on Wednesday, Nov. 17. Performances at 7 and 9 p.m. Local Muslim comedian Ramex Habbal will open.Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org