Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Comic Relief From the Supposedly Unfunny People


Eman of Saudiwoman's Weblog just posted "Burka Woman", much to our delight as readers. The visuals are great, and the more one listens to the lyrics, the more verbal gems there are. I love the self-deprecation of the singer, and the comical look at male-female relationships in conservative Muslim societies (note who is actually being lampooned).


I have also been captivated by this video, which was posted by a number of bloggers:


All I have to do is hear the refrain in my head, and I laugh out loud. The same Arab American comedian did the following take on Arab Americans:


I was first exposed to "Muslim stand up" by the appearance of "British Muslim of Iranian heritage", Omid Djalili, on Canada's Just For Laughs. The whole routine is hilarious, and sends up a number of peoples, including the Quebecker audience, but my favourite parts are the "Muslim nutcase with a hook", and the "voice of the Christian West".


On a more serious note, Djalili has used his fame to speak up, on humanitarian grounds, on behalf of senior Ba'hai religious leaders persecuted in Iran.

All of the above examples of comedy make interesting cultural observations. While some viewers might be offended, these examples are so clearly self-deprecating and over the top that they make their points in a non-hostile manner.


Humour has a long history, along with many benefits and functions, from mental and physical wellbeing to social change; and, much of serious import has been written on it. The same humourous piece may function on multiple levels, and have multiple effects. However, the best humour, including the  most trenchant political commentary, has a "just for laughs" level that engages. It also has a universal quality that allows us to see our core shared human emotional responses and experiences, while dealing with specifics. This is perhaps most socio-politically important currently in breaking down barriers and increasing understanding between the Western and the Muslim worlds. Plus, it's fun!

What are your favourite comedic videos?
What is your favourite type of comedy?
What is the place of comedy or humour in your life?
Are you a Jon Stewart, or a Stephen Colbert fan?
Who is your favourite Arab/Muslim comedian?
Have you attended a live comedy performance?
How did it compare to other formats?
Other comments, thoughts, impressions, experiences?

See Also:
But Seriously Folks, The Arab World Is A Funny Place
by DEBORAH AMOS (NPR)
Changing perceptions through laughter (Arab News interview of Egyptian American comedian Ahmed Ahmed after his highly successful appearance in Jeddah in early December)
Stand-up comedy alive and kicking in Amman
Dubomedy runs Dubai comedy workshop

Abdullah/NidalM's comical photojournals of his photoshoots for Smile Productions in Saudi/GCC:
Maz Jobrani: Brown & Friendly
A Week to Remember – The LOL Tour
And I’m on Tour Again
Rehman & Friends in Dhahran

2 comments:

oby said...

OMG! Too Too funny! Loved this...each one was so different that it is hard to pick a favorite...perhaps "Burka Woman" cause i loved that he growled at her nail polish!!! Proving yet again that woman could be completely hidden from view behind a screen and a man would find her voice sexy!!! He will find something to swoon about even if he makes it up in his mind. Then chi chi Arlingotn Va. yes sooooo dangerous (the 30 Starbucks was so funny!)

I like all sorts of comedy...I lean toward intellectual with a turn of a phrase/double entendre rather than slapstick which my husban loves...that is too out there for me...I like when I have to "get it" rather than handed to me if that makes sense.

I kind of like Sindbad because he is funny without being disgusting...but I like bawdy humor a lot too. Actually my husband and I have very different ideas of funny...things he is laughing at I am thinking what is so funny about that? I guess I like most stuff except three stooges/college boy humor kind of stuff.

Please I wouldn't mind if you posted more of things like this...I had a terrific belly laugh and totally enjoyed it.

Wendy said...

I've seen Omid Djalili on The Comedy Network before and he's quite funny. I also enjoyed the first two videos ... it's always good to laugh!

My husband and I watch comedians quite often and I've seen many live comedy shows. Bill Cosby was always a favorite of mine and I've seen him live 3 times and was never disappointed. Ethnic humour is always funny and there are some very funny Indo-Canadian comedians around right now - both male and female.
I don't enjoy slapstick very much. Jon Stewart I can watch but I don't like Colbert. I used to love This Hour Has 22 Minutes on CBC and the Royal Canadian Air Farce. Rick Mercer not so much.

I truly believe in comedy because laughter is so very healthy!

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