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Allah Made Me Funny

For those itching to see a Muslim-themed variation on The Original Kings Of Comedy, please enjoy Allah Made Me Funny, Andrea Kalin's document of a comedy tour featuring three Muslim comics: the laid-back suburbanite Mohammed Amer; the boisterous, bushy-haired Chicagoan Azhar Usman; and the lightly politicized Black Muslim Bryant "Preacher" Moss. Kalin assembles a few sequences that feature the comedians at home, talking about their daily lives and their decisions to go into show business, but the bulk of Allah Made Me Funny has been shot at a single concert, with each comic delivering their 20-minute sets to an appreciative audience. There's not much that's notable about the movie from a cinematic or documentary perspective; its success is wholly dictated by the quality of the acts, which by and large are neither awful nor hilarious.

Each comedian does deliver some funny, reasonably unique material about being Muslim in America. Amer talks about how hard it is to yell for his nephew "Usama" when he disappears at a Wal-Mart, while Usman jokes about how someone in Iran must have a bustling business manufacturing American flags to burn, and how it's hard to get American Muslim kids excited about a religion whose major holiday requires them to fast for a month. But the bulk of the material here is either obvious or a little generic—especially the multiple jokes from each about how women are the real bosses in Muslim households, and it's the men who are really oppressed. On the whole, Allah Made Me Funny is rewarding for its few moments of cultural specificity, as when Amer rolls his eyes at the way Muslims bring ancient mythology into routine medical problems. ("I am troubled by a brisk wind; please rub me with olive oil.") But there's little here that's especially cage-rattling or side-splitting. Ultimately, Allah only made these guys mildly likable.

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