Analysis | Aamer Rahman: ‘There’s an expectation of non-white comedians to pander to white audiences’

Over the past few years, Aamer Rahman has gained a reputation as one of the sharpest and most politically outspoken comedians working today, He spoke to Ceasefire while on his recent UK tour.

Interviews, New in Ceasefire - Posted on Monday, July 28, 2014 14:38 - 5 Comments

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Aamer Rahman Interview

It isn’t often that a ‘foreign’ comedian, with almost no television or film exposure here in the UK, can sell out consecutive nights in London’s acclaimed Soho Theatre. Even rarer is a comedian who is unstinting in his commitment to address themes and issues important to black and brown audiences that share his experiences, rather than  pander to the sensibilities and expectations of white audiences, despite the latter being the primary fanbase of any comedian seeking mass appeal.

Aamer Rahman is both of these things, and more. During his brief trip to the UK, he contributed to radical political events in the capital and received a four star-review from The Guardian, which apparently led to the number of white audience members at his shows to shoot up considerably.

Confronting the politics of race and imperialism head-on, he remains unapologetic in his criticisms of governments in Europe, Australia and the US. In an environment in which Muslims in particular are the target of demonisation from the media and criminalisation by the state, Aamer boldly ridicules NATO, Israel, numerous Western governments and Anglo-American pop-cultural icons. Ceasefire caught up with Aamer Rahman in his dressing room before one of his London shows.

Adam Elliott-Cooper

Adam Elliott-Cooper, a writer and activist, is Associate Editor of Ceasefire and a doctoral researcher at the University of Oxford. His column on race politics appears twice a month. He tweets at @adamec87.

Usayd Younis

Usayd Younis is Ceasefire Digital Editor. He is a radical film-maker, creative web developer and activist. You can find his website at usayd.com. He tweets at @usayd

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Interview | Aamer Rahman: ‘There’s an expectation of non-white comedians to pander to white audiences’ | Floating Complexity
Jul 30, 2014 11:58

[…] via Interview | Aamer Rahman: ‘There’s an expectation of non-white comedians to pander to white audi…. […]

stephen whale
Jul 31, 2014 6:25

thanks for this video- you could have showed a bit of the stand up that is making this man legendary in Australia- i believe this is part of the reason we are seeing a shift and the Middle Eastern/ Indian appearance- especially in the citys in Australia largely goes unnotticed. We are definitely in a period of adjustment….but i lived in sydney in 1999 and 2000 and was surprised how many inter culture relationships there was with young people of all different backgrounds. So I think some of the problems that are talked about are really just a minority and older generations refusal to accept the modern Australia…
people arent fundamentally racist here- though the level of attacks on muslim men would have increased after 9/11. I believe racism is a much bigger problem in England….that is my opinion. Having visited there and got to know a good few English people over the years. The superior mentality is washed down in Australia- we have quite a bit of the Irish , Welsh and Scottish belief that bascially we are shit!! ha ha

tanya
Jul 31, 2014 10:59

Respectfully,stephen whale, i would disagree.
Australia maintains this sort of national facade of multiculturalism and racial equality while at the same time advocating for racist policy. Australia has a horrible history of racism, from it’s colonial conception in 1788 and the murder of indigenous australians, to events like the Cronulla riots, racist attacks on indians, our treatment of asylum seekers and refugees (mandatory detention centers and offshore processing which has now devolved into complete refusal to accept refugees), and the continual abuse of indigenous rights (the northern territory intervention). This is ongoing, and as part of mainstream white dominant culture much of our interactions with marginalised groups is sort of this debased “you against me”, “white civilization against brown anarchy” sort of thing which is used to consolidate national identity against the “foreign illegal muslim terrorist asylum seekers.” The terrible Other. We see reflections of this in the underlying conservative rhetoric present in all the media we consume and which I see kids in my class echo these ideas back at me. As a muslim teenager growing up I see discrimination everyday. Racism in Australia is not just minority groups and it’s a far cry from being over. I guess i’m trying to say I think its very easy to hold this perspective when you come from a white middle class background – the dominant culture here, but as part of the alienated Other this is something you experience very regularly. Aamer’s words a very accurate reflection of current Australian society.

NAEl
Aug 2, 2014 0:45

Israel started these crimes, take a look for this one:
Photographer from ‪#Gaza‬ captured his own death by ‪‎Israeli‬ missiles! ‪#‎GazaUnderAttack‬ ‪#‎PrayForGaza‬ ‪#‎AJAGAZA‬
http://zidtv.com/watch.php?vid=222782a99

A Little Link Love 8.6.14 | politics & fashion
Aug 6, 2014 13:21

[…] 3. it’s refreshing to see sociopolitical commentary wrapped in humor and comedian aamer rahman is one of the best. you might remember his standup routine critiquing imperialism went viral last year, and he continues to be a conscious entertainer ridiculing NATO, israel, western governments and american pop icons during sold-out shows.  check him out in an interview with ceasefire. […]

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