CANADA: COMIC FINDING MUSLIM JOKES A TOUGH SELL
His name is Ahmed Ahmed, and when he's not busy convincing Canadian customs agents he poses no terror threat, the 36-year-old Californian tells Muslim jokes for a living.
Funny jokes too, like the one about how he can spot the federal air marshal on every flight he takes in the United States.
"It's the guy who's reading People magazine upside down and is looking right at me," Ahmed told a suburban Washington audience this week.
It's a line the Egyptian-born American comedian uses often as he tries to break the ice with non-Muslim fans still uncertain whether Islam and 9/11 make good fodder for standup shows.
More than five years after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, it seems it's increasingly okay to laugh.
With reports this week that NBC executives are interested in bringing the CBC series Little Mosque on the Prairie to the U.S., Muslim-American comics say they are closer than ever to breaking into the mainstream of U.S. pop culture.
A feature-length documentary heralding the emergence of Muslim and Arab-American comedians had its world premiere this week at the prestigious Silverdocs documentary festival in Silver Spring, Md.