Axis of Evil Comedy Tour Detonates Some Explosive Stereotypes
Maz Jobrani, one-fourth of the Axis of Evil Comedy Tour, has a bit about how people of Middle Eastern descent can't seem to bust through the stereotypes of a post-9/11 world. "You never turn on the TV and see a United Airlines commercial with a Middle Eastern pilot," he says in the routine. "You'll never see one standing there saying, 'Come fly the friendly skies . . .
"'I dare you.' "
The gag is the essence of the Axis comedians' shtick, and just about the whole point of their tour, which tonight returns to the Warner Theatre. The idea, says Jobrani, who is of Iranian descent, is to demonstrate that Arab and Muslim Americans can turn cultural differences, suspicion and even existential dread into comedy and social commentary.
A tall order, sure, but Jobrani & Co. are part of a grand stand-up tradition. Members of "outsider" groups -- including Jews, Italians, blacks, Latinos, gays and Asian Americans -- have been disarming "mainstream" audiences by joking about themselves and their cultural idiosyncrasies for decades.
Even before a Comedy Central special and DVD vaulted them to national prominence (and a tour of the Middle East) last year, Jobrani and fellow comics Aron Kader, Ahmed Ahmed and Dean Obeidallah were mining some rich but uneasy territory. Their subjects range from riffs about terrorism and profiling (what it's like to navigate airport security with a name such as Ahmed Ahmed) to current events and people (rising oil prices, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Israeli-Palestinian relations, etc.). [Link]
DNSI direct link 0 comments Email post: