Dubai: At the end of his latest special on Netflix, after an hour of raucous laughter, Palestinian comedian Mohammed Amer is back on stage and has decided to tell a very personal story.
“The crowd went crazy and I looked around at the design of the site. On the one hand it was Banksy’s art of a Palestinian girl holding a balloon, and on the other the wall was in the West Bank, and I thought I’ll tell you my first experience of going to Palestine – the first time I went,” Amer told Arab newspaper News “to visit my grandfather’s house.”
The journey took place in 2009, before Aamir’s star rose to heights where he is today as he was not only a major comedian across the globe, but also a co-star on the Golden Globe-winning Ramy series. From the popular DC movie ‘Black Adam’ opposite Dwayne’ The Rock Johnson, co-author, along with ‘Rocky’ star Ramy Youssef, to the upcoming Netflix script series, loosely based on his own experiences.
Amer, 40, moved to the United States from Kuwait at the age of 12. His father died when he was 14, sending him down a downhill spiral, a pit he was only able to get out of when he discovered comedy. Besides comedy, his mom was the biggest support in his life. He paid tribute to her in his first Netflix special “Mo Amer: The Vagabond” of 2018.
On that trip to Burin and Nablus – his ancestral villages – after a delicious meal with his extended family, he looked out the window and saw a mosque that his cousin told him was hundreds of years old. Aamir had intended to pray there and left the house to find a group of men who insisted that the call to prayer be called in the village that evening.
After some hesitation, Aamir agreed to the men’s request. After he finished, the mosque man entered to see the voice of someone who had just heard the roaring across the city. He said he knows everyone in the village, but he doesn’t know Aamir and asks about his father. When Aamir told him, the man looked dumbfounded.
Do you know who installed the sound system in this mosque? The man said to a prince.
“It’s just a coincidence that it became my father’s private,” Amer says. “It was never written, and it was never meant to go that way. I knew then that this story would do well in what I was talking about as general connective tissue.”
When Aamer came home from filming what would become “Mo Amer: Mohammed in Texas,” which is now streaming on Netflix, he remembered he had footage of that trip somewhere, and by “miracle” he was able to track it down. Old hard drive of a friend. Two days before the last movie was sent to Netflix.
When they finished editing the special, the first person to show it to him was his mother. Amer told the story shown on the screen to the audience with tears in his eyes. When he looked up to see her reaction, Aamir’s mother also cried.
“When she saw it, a memorial to my dad popped up, and then she saw that the special was just for him, that was a really cool moment,” Aamir says.
Sharing the experience of his parents and the Palestinian people has always been an important part of Amer’s comedy and his own identity.
“That’s just me. Once you see the experience through your parents’ eyes and what they’ve been through, it’s hard to shake it off.”
Aamir is now at a point in his career where he can share his stories with a wider audience than ever before. It also does so through an artistic medium that is arguably the most empathetic and soulless when done right, allowing viewers to experience his viewpoint and that of the Palestinian people in an incredibly intimate way.
“That’s why I think the art of getting up is so liberating. It was never really about money. I don’t care about money so much.” “Make money is great, I want to do my best, but it’s about telling great stories. I worry less about money and more about clearing my weight. Creating a masterpiece is a worthwhile journey. That’s how I feel. This is where I am now with my status and my TV show.” “.
Aamir never forgot the task he set himself when he first adapted the microphone to his tall body – the days when he first started doing comedy in his early teens and couldn’t find anyone telling stories about his or her experience. Arabs of any origin.
“I got on the podium for the first time when I was 14 and started walking around when I was 17. I immediately noticed there was a big chasm — a big chasm and a hole,” he says. There was absolutely no real representation of Arabs or Muslims at any of these stages. I thought to myself, “Why don’t I show it?”
Decades later, while Aamir remains determined to share the stories of his family and people, part of the true joy of this part of his career is that he no longer has to present himself to all the public. With “Muhammad Amer: Muhammad in Texas” the audience knows him and works well, allowing Amer to spend most of the time making jokes about things outside of his identity.
“I’ve already told my story. Now I can just become a comedian and talk about anything that comes to mind. It’s something I’ve always been waiting for. I don’t just explain where I come from, I really like it,” says Aamir. “I can be myself and then finally flaunt a small village of 2,000 people in it from where my family came from, and I can have a little spice at the end. And honestly, I was still making it hard for myself to be there. I’m speechless.”
“In the end I had my first one for my mom, and the second, which wasn’t planned at all, was related to my dad. I feel like I did the biggest things I wanted to do,” he continues. “I accomplished what I decided to do. Everything else is just gravy.”
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