Originally published Friday, October 3, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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Movie review

"Allah Made Me Funny": Stand-ups riff on being Muslim in America

"Allah Made Me Funny" is a blandly made documentary capturing the live tour of three stand-up comics (Azhar Usman, Mohammed Amer and Bryant "Preacher" Moss) who make jokes about what it's like to be Muslim in America.

Movie review 2 stars

"Allah Made Me Funny: Live in Concert," a documentary directed by Andrea Kalin. 83 minutes. Not rated; for mature audiences. Varsity.

The hard work of being a stand-up comic doesn't need any extra obstacles, but the three comedians featured in "Allah Made Me Funny" share one that they're happy to laugh about: being Muslim in America.

The documentary features extended stand-up performance segments from a live tour of the same name by Azhar Usman, Mohammed Amer and Bryant "Preacher" Moss. Their routines mostly follow a one-track course filled with riffs about stereotypes, misunderstanding and fearmongering over the Muslim faith in the world today.

All three have the fundamentals of personality, likability and showmanship. Usman and Amer, who are respectively of South Asian and Arab descent, spend a lot of time talking about family histories that slammed head-on into growing up American. Their jokes are warm and good-natured, but often stiff and delivered with a style that suggests they could use a little more time on the road to polish. Moss, who is African American, has a more assured presence as he banters about his conversion from Christianity to Islam.

The stand-up routines are blandly captured in front of a house that is clearly sympathetic to what the performers are talking about. There are frequent cutaways to enthusiastic audience guffaws and a sweetened laugh track that's obvious and excessive. The package is a friendly, if lackluster, affair cut together with segments following the comedians into their homes as they develop routines or goof around with family and friends.

Ted Fry,

Special to The Seattle Times

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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