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Comedian Ahmed Ahmed: The Shocking Cultural Fluidity of Laughter

Ahmed Ahmed at the 2010 Tribeca FF (Image credit-Wikimedia Commons)
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Ahmed Ahmed is well-known for being an actor and stand up comedian throughout the United States but he also has an incredible culturally fluid background that influences his work. Being an American-Egyptian has shaped every single stand-up comedy set that Ahmed has written.

In an appearance on the Skavlan Talk Show that is filmed and produced in Stockholm, Sweden, Ahmed talks about the cultural differences between the United States and his passport country of Egypt. He also touches on his documentary film and his religious background, all of which have influenced his comedy career and his belief that when it comes to laughter, we are all alike. 

Ahmed’s Culturally Fluid Life

Culturally fluid comedian Ahmed Ahmed was born in Helwan Egypt, shown here
The Nile River flowing through Cairo (Image credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Ahmed was born in Helwan, Egypt on June 27th, 1970. According to IMDb, the family immigrated to Riverside, California USA when Ahmed was one month old. He did not spend a significant amount of time in Egypt but his parents taught and raised him in a Muslim and Egyptian-cultured household. Because he was surrounded by these cultures while living in the USA, many of his peers berated and questioned his way of life. These questions however would only fuel his comedy scripts later in his life, according to the Skavlan Talk Show interview.

Ahmed Ahmed April 23rd, 2010 Tribeca Film Festival
Actor/comedian Ahmed Ahmed at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival (Image credit: Wikimedia Commons)

At 19 years old, Ahmed moved to Hollywood to pursue a career as an actor and stand-up comedian. After only booking roles as terrorists in blockbuster films he decided to shift his focus toward stand-up comedy. He said: “I helped kick-start the [Marvel] universe, and then they killed me,” when reflecting on his role within the first “Iron Man” movie, according to Naplesnews

‘Just Like Us’ documentary

In 2007, Ahmed began a tour in the Middle East that focused on the celebration of culture and comedy. He, Omid Djalili, Angelo Tsarouchas and Whitney Cummings attempted to bridge the cultural gap with performances in Dubai, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. The tour turned into a film titled “Just Like Us,” which showcased that when it comes to laughter, we are all alike.

During the film’s premier at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival Ahmed said: 

‘Just Like Us’ is about embracing universal film with diversity… It made people think. It made people want to travel to the Middle East since they’ve seen this film. We hope that people walk away feeling good and feeling like we should not believe what the news says about Arabs and Muslims.

Ahmed argues that laughter and humor are culturally fluid. He proves it by performing the same comedy sets in the United States and the Middle East.

Each culture is very different from one another but both laugh during the performances. They also have the same reactions to his material. Just as kstaley writes about Kumali Nanjiani being influenced by his cultural fluidity, so is Ahmed. 

Both comedians’ sets are unique because of their culturally fluid pasts. This sets them apart from every other comedian in the world.

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