Azhar Usman, a man dubbed “America’s Funniest Muslim” by CNN, holds forth on Silk Road Rising’s stage for 90 minutes in his one-man comedy show, “Ultra-American: A Patriot Act”. This show runs until September 25.
Come Expecting to Laugh
Come expecting to laugh—often and hard.
If watching Donald Trump throwing racist red meat to his acolytes makes your stomach turn, you will find this show a very welcome relief valve.
Know too that next time you go to an airport you will likely never stop thinking of the racial profiling psychological tortures that Azhar Usman and everyone else who looks like him endures.
Racism, corporate takeovers of our culture, drone attacks, ISIS perversions of Islam and more—every joke is layered with searing insights. What especially amazes is that Usman is able to export his comedy worldwide. His super-nuanced understanding of the building tensions in America’s so-called melting pot, now turned pressure pot, seems so “..ultra-American”, in all senses.
Azhar Usman–Living with Dualities
A one-time lawyer turned standup comic, Usman writes, “…I have been negotiating a set of competing identities inside myself: Indian, American, Muslim. What does it mean to be an Indian? An American? A Muslim? In the modern world, no less, where even the questions seem problematic, because I never felt like any of those labels really fit, not as nouns anyway. Perhaps as adjectives. To be Indian is, in a sense, different than calling oneself “an Indian.” Just as being American is a universe away from calling oneself “an American.” I am very comfortable saying that I am Muslim, but calling myself “a Muslim” triggers a whole range of disclaimers, tensions, and, perhaps, disquieting confessions about my relationship with the other billion and a half humans who claim the same label. Several of the assumptions and realities underlying each of those dimensions of identity clash with one another, resulting in contradictions, paradoxes, and confusions: an internal conflict that mirrors the crazymaking world we all inhabit today. What does citizenship entail today? Race? Ethnicity? Religious affiliation? These are complex discussions and debates…”
Taking the complexity Usman notes and distilling it into bite-sized jokes with punchlines is no small feat. This is elegant and masterful and a must-see.
Continuing now through September 25, 2016
Tuesdays at 7:30pm
Wednesdays at 7:30pm
Thursdays at 7:30pm
Fridays at 8:00pm
Saturdays at 4:00pm
Sundays at 4:00pm
Silk Road Rising 77 W. Washington St, Lower Level Chicago, IL 60602
$25 ADULTS / $15 STUDENTS
For tickets call 3128571234 x201 or visit the play’s website www.UltraAmerican.org