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Azhar Usman

Azhar Usman Comedy Video - "Allah Made Me Funny" Movie/DVD Trailer

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Azhar Usman Biography

From Azhar Usman's Website

Azhar Usman is a Chicago-based standup comedian. He is the co-founder of “Allah Made Me Funny–The Official Muslim Comedy Tour,” and he has performed in over a dozen countries on five continents.

Azhar and the Tour have been featured in over 100 major world media, including the following:

Azhar Usman Picture - Middle Eastern Stand Up Comedian

ABC Nightline
CBS Sunday Morning
FOX News Dayside
Comedy Central The Daily Show with Jon Stewart free dvd download
MSNBC Countdown with Keith Olbermann
CNBC Big Idea with Donny Deutsch
CBC The Hour with George Stroumboulopoulos
Al-Jazeera International Riz Khan Show
Al-Jazeera International Frost Over the World with Sir David Frost
NPR All Things Considered
MTV Desi (before it died a horrible death)
The New York Times
The Washington Post
The LA Times
The Chicago Tribune
The Chicago Sun-Times

He has shared the stage with many of his favorite comedians including Dave Chappelle, Jim Gaffigan, Russell Peters, Todd Barry, and the late Mitch Hedberg.

Azhar recently produced a concert/documentary project entitled “ALLAH MADE ME FUNNY–LIVE IN CONCERT,” which is a Kings-of-Comedy-style feature-length concert film. Additionally, he is star and creator of “TINKU’S WORLD,” a semi-scripted alternative web comedy show, and he is also developing a television show and a humor book project.

From Wikipedia

Azhar Usman is a US-Chicago-born Muslim comedian, of Indian origin, and former lecturer, community activist and lawyer and is often referred to as the 'Ayatollah of Comedy and 'Bin Laughin'. He says that his sole goal, through comedy, is to promote better understanding of Islam and Muslims.

He has been performing stand-up Muslim comedy since 2001, and has performed stand-up in many major cities around the US, as well as in the United Kingdom. He, along with Mohammed Amer and Preacher Moss are currently part of the Allah Made Me Funny comedy tour.

His parents are originally from India. He graduated from Niles West High School in Skokie, Illinois in 1993. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Minnesota Law School.

More Biographical Info

Azhar Usman is part of an emerging genre of Muslim comedy in the West. But is Muslim comedy a fashion that will fade away or is it here to stay? We inteviewed him during his 2003 tour of the UK.

Azhar Usman is a lecturer, community activist and an attorney. The mix of vocations is unusual enough, but it's his step into stand up comedy that makes him unique.

Azhar is a practising Muslim and began performing his stand up comedy early in 2001. Since then he has performed in cities all over the United States and the UK.

Unapologetically Muslim and performing to diverse audiences, occasionally not even in English (being fluent in Spanish and Urdu), he's part of the changing face of the American Muslim identity as well as that of American comedy.

Azhar Usman Interview - 2008

Azhar Usman’s Allah Made Me Funny tour has been making positive waves in the US, and now, on November 13, he’s set to have Mumbai laughing

Comedian Azhar Usman’s first attempt at stand-up was a disaster. The second time, he worked up the courage to go to an open mic, in 2001, in Chicago. In Usman’s words it was a “safe room”, meaning that it mostly attracted local singer-songwriters, and only a couple of aspiring comedians, and everyone was supportive. Usman, whose parents migrated to the USA, from India, in the 70s, managed to get a few laughs, and felt he could stick it out in comedy.

Since 2004, Usman, along with Preacher Moss, an African-American comedian, has been part of Allah Made Me Funny, a pioneering Muslim comedy show in America.

The tour, which now includes Arab-American comedian Mohammed Amer, was initially created to serve as a bridge-building tool between Muslims and non-Muslims to address negative stereotypes about Islam and Muslim culture in a post-9/11 world. On November 13, Usman brings his stand-up act to Mumbai. Here are excerpts from an interview with DNA…

You were a lawyer and an entrepreneur. What made you turn to comedy?

Azhar Usman: I didn’t choose comedy; comedy chose me. At least this is how I feel. I’ve found that my background in law and business has actually been extremely helpful in building a career in entertainment.

What, in your view, is the role of comedy in society?

Azhar Usman: To make people laugh. If it can make them think as well, then it is good comedy. But comedy itself is about making people laugh, nothing more, nothing less.

How would you define your comedy?

Azhar Usman: It is very difficult to ask a comic to describe or define his own work. I guess, in an objective descriptive sense, my act is very personal. It is about me, about my childhood, about growing up with an identity that was in flux, and about my thoughts on the world we live in.… Oh, and it’s pretty silly too. Allah made me funny torrent

You have said there is a long tradition of humour within Islam…

Azhar Usman: The humour tradition within Islam goes back to the Prophet Muhammad. He was a man known to smile constantly and one who enjoyed a good joke. Entire volumes exist that describe just about every incident of a joke either enjoyed by the Prophet, or better yet, actual jokes or humourous statements of the Prophet himself. Further, certain companions of the Prophet were particularly noted for their senses of humour, including, for example, a man named Nu’ayman ibn ‘Amr (often referred to as Dahiq an-Nabi, or ‘The Jester of the Prophet’). Against this historical backdrop, Muslim cultures, all over the world, developed their own localised humour traditions. This is not to say that they didn’t have indigenous humour traditions that pre-dated Islam, because they most certainly did, but after Islam’s ideas and faith became predominant in certain parts of the world, then humour traditions faithful to the legal, theological, ethical, and aesthetic boundaries of Islam flourished.

This is true in just about every part of the Muslim world. I would argue that the comedic perspective of Allah Made Me Funny is in some ways contributing toward the expression of an indigenous American-Muslim cultural identity that captures the unique realities of the Muslim diaspora in the West.

When did you start keeping the beard, and why have you stuck to it?

Azhar Usman: The honest answer is because I fell in love with my shaykh, which caused me to fall in love with the Prophet Muhammad, which caused me to fall in love generally with all of the prophets of God, all of whom kept beards.

There are quite a few Muslim comedians in the US and the UK today. Do you think you have inspired a trend in Muslim comedy? Is it here to stay?

Azhar Usman: I think it would be arrogant of me to consider myself as an inspiration to anyone, but certainly I agree that we’ve seen a steady increase in the number of comedians coming from Muslim perspectives, not traditionally represented in comedy. I find this extremely heartening, and I welcome this development. I definitely think it is here to stay as a vector, trend, or trajectory in the “entertainment marketplace”, so to speak. But the fact is that only those acts, which have real underlying talent, authenticity that audiences can connect with, and an undying dedication and devotion to the craft of stand-up comedy will have longevity; the rest will be forgotten as quickly as they arose. This has always been the case with so-called ‘ethnic comedians’, throughout the history of stand-up.

What kind of audience do you see at your shows?

Azhar Usman: We see all sorts of people at our shows, literally from every demographic background and group. We simply expect them to pay attention and give our show a chance.

Thankfully, the majority of people have responded very positively. Seinfeld once said: “Laughter contains thought,” and this is visibly evident in the ways in which audiences respond to, and laugh at different types of comedy material. We certainly hope that people find our comedy material enjoyable, and that they laugh, but hopefully Allah Made Me Funny, doesn’t just make people laugh, but also think.

What took you so long to bring your show to India? Do you plan to bring the Allah Made Me Funny group to tour India?

Azhar Usman: I would have loved to perform in India sooner, but alas, this was the first invitation that actually worked out. I am just ecstatic that it did. We would absolutely love to bring the full Allah Made Me Funny — Official Muslim Comedy Tour to the sub-continent, with all three core performers. I am confident that Indians of all backgrounds — not just Muslims — will thoroughly enjoy the show.

Do you have a favourite Hindi comedy show or comedian?

Azhar Usman: My all-time favourite is probably a one-hour comedy album of Moin Akhter’s, and he does this fantastic bit about going to a cricket match for the first time. Hilarious. I haven’t heard it in years though. As for a proper Hindi fillum, I loved the original Don as a kid, which I found to be absolutely hilarious, even though nobody else seemed to think it was a comedy.

Allah Made Me Funny Synopsis

This landmark concert film follows three acclaimed comedians on stage and off as they lift the veil to reveal the humorous side of what it's really like to be American and Muslim. Mo Amer, Azhar... This landmark concert film follows three acclaimed comedians on stage and off as they lift the veil to reveal the humorous side of what it's really like to be American and Muslim. 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

'Allah' may build cultural bridges "Look at this stage," exclaims Muslim comic Mohammed Amer as he steps into the commodious performance space. "This is a lot of room for a Palestinian!" "Allah Made Me Funny: Live in Concert" is a showcase for Palestinian, Indian, and African American stand-up comics Amer, Azhar Usman and Preacher Moss, respectively, but it's also a popgun shot across the bow in the culture wars. "Allah" seeks to calm xenophobic concerns by showing that the issues and family foibles of Muslims are the same as anyone's. free comedy video downloads

Happily, it's reasonably successful -- and remarkably clean for a stand-up concert film. Usman, his expansive presence made larger by a bushy black beard, probably has the best material of the three. He plays off his appearance ("Not many of you have ever seen someone who looks like me smile before") and eloquently rips President George W. Bush for pronouncing "terrorists" as "terrace." Moss looks primed for Hollywood with his sparkplug stature and polished delivery. He gets mileage out of his physicality and onstage personas, including an angry black weatherman and his mother, dismayed at his conversion to Islam. The interstitial glimpses of the comics' home lives are insufficient; the film would benefit from more in-depth looks offstage.

But it has the potential to be culturally bridging in its way, and that makes looking for Muslim comedy in the Western world worthwhile. Download the "Allah Made Me Funny" DVD. Free Muslim Comedy Torrent downloads. Also, watch the best Muslim comedy online for free! Azhar Usman torrent

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