Funnyman Mo Amer tells NPR that when he was nine, he left his home in Kuwait with his mother and sister. “It was a tough time. We fled war in Kuwait and we ended up in Houston, Texas.” When he was fourteen, his father died which devastated the entertainer — his studies started to slip but he had an English teacher who offered a fierce bargain. “[She] said ‘Don’t you want to be a comedian? How’d your father feel if you don’t graduate?,’ just really pierced my heart. She goes, ‘Listen, if you go up in front of the class right now and recite a monologue from Shakespeare, I’ll let you do stand up on a weekly basis in class, but the deal is you can’t skip.'”
In 2006, Amer joined a comedy group of fellow Muslim funnymen, and appeared in the troupe’s concert-documentary Allah Made Me Funny (produced by our parent company, Unity Productions Foundation). Recently, Amer toured the United States with Dave Chappelle, and last year, he released his Netflix special The Vagabond.
Amer says his comedy also serves as a form of therapy. “To have the ability or the platform to speak truths that just gnaw at you on a daily basis, minute to minute, to be able to take it on stage and to make it hilarious, hopefully at least, is very rewarding. And there is something that happens inside of me that knows that this is where I belong.”