The title of this well-intentioned movie ought to have been, Allah Made Me “Occasionally” Funny: Live in Concert. This altered title would have been more accurate, and is at least as funny as a good many of the ethnic, racial and otherwise culturally concerned jokes the three fairly obscure comedians that occupy its 80-odd minutes deliver. To be fair, we laughed when we laughed, but we laugh when people slip on banana peels, too. To be even more fair, these Islamic-American comics, including the aptly named Preacher Moss, Azhar Usman and Mohammed “Mo” Amer, are on a jihad to not only make you laugh, but to reshape your perspective about guys like them and their faith. The notion being that Muslims are stoic and dour and not funny is in fact put to rest here—they’re funny enough, but this film is likely to do better business on DVD (bootleg).
Houston, Texas, is the setting for this Islamic comedy concert film, which one imagines is a statement in itself. The good folks of the Lone Star State are not exactly known for their open-mindedness about such things (about anything, actually), but the audience here seemed to be having a nice enough time, even if most of them also were of Arabic decent (note the many hajibs), with a few definitively Anglo types happily laughing, as well.
Mostly, the routines here are derived from the family- and community-orientated material refined by the late Richard Pryor, more recently run through contemporary filters such as Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle; the notion being that if one voices the internal thoughts of antagonists about one’s culture, one defangs not only their own image, but the antagonist’s belief system, as well. It may be true, at least for the duration of a concert film, though one wonders if the notions of diversity and assimilation the filmmakers and comics invoked here made it back out to the pickup trucks once the show was over.
Cast: Preacher Moss, Azhar Usman and Mohammed Amer
Director/Producer: Andrea Kalin
Running time: 83 min.
Release date: October 3 ltd