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?
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