Friday, December 21, 2007

Axis of Evil Comedy Tour

How about something Un-Christmassy today -- yet somehow germane.  

Yes, I'm talking about the "Axis of Evil Comedy Tour," a comedy trio (sometimes quartet) of Iranian-American Maz Jobrani, Palestinian-American Aaron Kader, and Egyptian-American Ahmed Ahmed.  The sometimes fourth member is also Palestinian-American.

I caught a You-Tube spot of one of their comedy routines and found myself looking for another, and another, and another.  Before I knew it, my morning meditation time had been consumed by stand-up comedy jokes about Iran's president and our president, airport security, and Osama bin Laden as champion hide-and-seek player.

My favorite skit was from Maz Jobrani, who mentioned that he had read about an Al Quaida application.  He wondered what would such an application look like:

Q:  What do you want to do as a member of al Quaida?
A: I want to blow myself up.

Q:  What are goals?
A:  I want to blow myself up.

Q: Do you have any references.
A: They blew themselves up.

Aside from poking fun at pretty much everyone -- themselves, their cultural baggage, the US and its cultural baggage -- they also deliver a real and sobering message.  All people are valuable and basically the same.  Most Muslims are just plain folks with a desire mostly to live a quiet and peaceful life.  They recount stories of spending religious holidays with Jewish and Christian friends -- and all the misadventures that can come from ignorance of each other's customs.  

This troupe -- who takes its name from President Bush's unfortunate State of the Union address in which he named Iran, Iraq and North Korea as the Axis of Evil -- focus on making their very mixed audience laugh together.  They quote a Jewish standup comic who says it's hard to hate someone if you're laughing with them.

The Axis of Evil Comedy Tour does use foul language typical of so many standup routines, so if you see them, be prepared.  On the other hand, I never really found it out of place.  Quite often, the situations they use for their material make me want to expand my vocabulary as well.

If you don't get bugged by colorful language, and if you're open to putting yourself in your neighbor's shoes, go see this group.  Check them out on the web.  You Tube has them, or you can go to their website: