Once we blamed Yoko Ono. Now we blame refugees

Hate and lies are all the rage. Everyone’s at it. “Obama is the founder of ISIS!” and everyone believes the Trump. “We’re at breaking point” – look, here’s a poster of lots of brown men that look just like your dad, cousin and brother. If you vote out, all these scavengers that come over here for the good life, they’ll be gone in the morning. Continue reading “Once we blamed Yoko Ono. Now we blame refugees”

From playground to warzone

I went to visit a friend of mine in New York last year. We went to school together in the Islamic Republic of Birmingham. We’re both Muslim, but not Fox News Muslim, we don’t secretly preach hatred about white people in our flats on a Saturday afternoon, we do not harbor a secret desire to blow up every Wetherspoons, and we do not have wet dreams about the caliphate. Continue reading “From playground to warzone”

Isis aren’t radicalising girls. They’re selling them fantasy

I’ve been asked to perform my new show in Paris. I love the city. I have been there many times and had so much fun. But I am nervous this time. Comedy is all about timing. Is this the right time to do a comedy show about Isis in the city where they have just orchestrated such shocking terror attacks? Continue reading “Isis aren’t radicalising girls. They’re selling them fantasy”

If you want to know the truth, read the Qur’an, not The Daily Mail

In February 2015 I was in New York staying at a friend’s house. We went to school together. She is Bangladeshi; we’re both Muslim, but we’re normal. We do karaoke, love Barry Manilow, and shoplift on a Friday. We do not harbour a secret desire to blow up Buckingham Palace, and we love Netflix just as much as the infidels. Continue reading “If you want to know the truth, read the Qur’an, not The Daily Mail”

A Polaroid camera transformed my relationship with my mother

When I was eight, I knew everything. I mean I’d read all the Enid Blyton books, been on a school trip to Southport, and had a pen pal in France. I had seen it all. I also thought my mum was really boring. All she did was buy me books, get me private tutors, make me do verbal reasoning tests, and tell me that I was going to be a doctor. And that being a doctor was the only profession in the world; anyone who wasn’t a doctor had never even heard of the word “profession”. How dull. Continue reading “A Polaroid camera transformed my relationship with my mother”

In defence of smutty jokes

When I’m at a gig and things are not going well, I pull out the gag that always saves me: “I have never drunk alcohol in my life, because it’s against my religion – but I have taken it up the Khyber pass a couple of times.” This joke works every time, in every situation – except when the audience is full of mullahs and priests or when I’m performing in Saudi Arabia. Continue reading “In defence of smutty jokes”

Standing up in Cambodia

I have done stand up comedy all over the world.  Occasionally in strange places- a tent, a kebab shop, a public toilet. Other times in precarious places – a cave in Kosovo, the Middle East amid huge censorship and Pakistan amid speculation the Taliban were arriving. The day after I performed in Pakistan a suicide bomber blew up the venue in which I had played, and it wasn’t because he’d seen my act. Continue reading “Standing up in Cambodia”