It sounds like the setup line for a joke: Three Muslim comics are coming to town to do a benefit for a cemetery.

But hold the ba-dum-bum. The “Allah Made Me Funny” tour really is three stand-up comedians who riff on the travails of being Muslim in post-9-11 America. They’re performing Thursday in Richardson.

And, yeah, they realize that it sounds funny to have a comedy benefit for a burial ground for local Muslims.

But seriously, said Azhar Usman, one of the comics, it makes perfect sense.

“Mainstream America has been notoriously noted for having a death-denying culture,” he said. “This is something that Muslim culture has never had. “

So he figures he’ll drop some death jokes into the show.

“Oh, yeah,” he said, laughing. “You’ve got to make it relevant.”

And relevant is what the tour is all about. The comics take on serious issues: Tensions between African-Americans and immigrant Muslims. Fears of Muslims since Sept. 11. Fears of non-Muslims since Sept.11.

“What I’ve found is that there’s a lot of fear on both sides,” said Mr. Usman, a Chicago-bred lawyer-turned-comedian.

“The underlying reality that leads to fear is ignorance. Our tour is trying to bridge that distance by addressing the questions of ignorance on both sides.”

Mr. Usman is a first-generation American his parents were born in India. The other two comics, Preacher Moss and Azeem, are African-American. (MORE)


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