It’s not often I’m asked to review independent movies. And I’m not talking about “Brad Pitt takes a pay cut to appear in a Coen Brothers” kind of indie movie. I mean an honest-to-goodness grass roots indie film.

So when I was asked to take a look at a screener for Allah Made Me Funny, I thought it was a cool opportunity.

Allah Made Me Funny is a concert movie starring three Muslim comedians – Mohammed Amer, Azhar Usman and Preacher Moss. Certainly after The Kings of Comedy, The Queens of Comedy, The Blue Collar Comedy Tour and even The Comedians of Comedy, gathering a group of comedians who share commonalities is not a new concept. But it’s a welcome one that is poised to take advantage of the heightened awareness of Muslims in our culture.

As these comedians are quick to point out, it became difficult to look a certain way or practice certain believes after 9/11. Which is exactly why a movie like this needs to exist. It takes the representation of Muslims out of the hands of a quick-to-stereotype Hollywood and uses humor as a device that gets people to drop their guard and learn a little something about the Muslim experience.

“Hollywood depicts every Muslim man as what? ‘A terrorist.’ And every Muslim woman? ‘Oppressed,” says Usman. “Clearly these people have not spent any time in a Muslim household because they would recognize immediately that they have these roles reversed! Muslim women are terrorists! Muslim men are oppressed!”

So, wait a minute… You’re telling me that Muslim men have difficulty with overbearing spouses? Hey, they’re just like me!

Mission Accomplished.

Now, before I get too far ahead of myself, certainly the responsibility of educating people unfamiliar with the Muslim faith does not fall on the shoulders of three stand-up comedians. In many instances, there were references made that went completely over my head. But what the movie can do is get a conversation started.

For example, in another bit from Usman, he talks about the Muslim holiday Eid. “The most holy of holy days! It’s kind of hard to ask for a day off from work when you don’t know what that day is!”

As a white kid from the midwest, I have absolutely no idea why that’s funny. I had to Google Eid just to put it into context. (Incidentally, Eid marks the end of Ramadan and I will give myself points for at least knowing what Ramadan is!)

To that end, how funny can a movie be if you have to Google the references to understand them? That’s the tightrope these comedians have to walk, I suppose. But, ultimately, these comedians know that their job is to entertain and the fact that they are Muslim is almost more like wallpaper in the house of their overall persona.

Cut between segments, we get to see these performers at home and with their families. They talk about when they decided to become comedians and the obstacles they overcame. They show them during the writting process, fine-tuning their acts. The movie does a good job of representing these three men as more than avatars for the Muslim faith, but as conscientious professionals and people first.

Allah Made Me Funny is currently showing in select cities now through October 9. If you live in Atlanta, Berkely, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York or San Diego, I encourage you to check it out. If you’d like to learn more about the movie or the comedians, please visit

↓ Transcript
Theater Hopper reviews Allah Made Me Funny on DVD.