Funny man Azhar Usman has opened for Dave Chappelle more than 50 times, and headlined the concert film Allah Made Me Funny: Live in Concert which followed Muslim comedians, on stage and off, as they reveal the humorous truth of what it’s really like to be Muslim in America.
In this radio interview, the Chicago-based comedian talks about growing up in a suburb in Illinois which was predominately Jewish, and his path into comedy.
Here are some snippets of the convo:
On growing up in Skokie, Illinois: “I do a joke that I went to so many bar mitzvahs I started waiting for one of my own and had no context or idea that I wasn’t going to have one. Because growing up, that was what was around me. Now looking back on it, I think I was very fortunate to have grown up in a diverse community. My parents both being Muslims from India, did a great job in able to being exposed to my own culture but at the same time made sure I was very integrated with my local community.”
Transitioning from law to comedy: “I ended up in law school like a lot of people do, you know they call getting a law degree the haven for the undecideds. But during that time is when I really started getting serious about my stand up as well and was touring a lot on the weekends and performing a lot on the road and building my comedy chops.”
How Allah Made Him Funny: “2004 rolled around and my paths crossed with Preacher Moss, the creator of “Allah Made Me Funny”, and I came aboard as the co-creator. I shut down my legal practice and went full time into standup.”
On Friday, the funnyman will be in Louisville, Kentucky performing his standup for the Festival of Faiths.