18 Mar

Chicago’s Comic: Amer Zahr

Q: What inspired you to start stand-up comedy?

A: I had the opportunity to tell the story of our Arab-American and Palestinian-American experiences effectively. I saw comedians like Dave Chapelle, George Lopez and more who were telling their cultural narrative through comedy.

Q: Describe your first performance.

A: It was an open mic at the University of Michigan in 2003.

Q: Do you have pre-show rituals? If so, what are they?

A: Not really. But I always have to pee like 30 seconds before I hit the stage.

Q: Where in the world is your favorite place to perform stand-up? Why is this your favorite place?

A: Palestine, specifically Jerusalem. The emotion is real and raw among the crowds there and it makes for amazing energy on stage.

Q: What are three of your favorite things?

A: Maqlooba, mloukhiyeh, knafe… look it up.

Q: What is your favorite sammich?

A: A great, herbacious falafel.

Q: What’s one thing people assume about you, that is or isn’t true?

A: They mostly assume comedy isn’t my full-time job. “Oh, you’re so funny. So, what do you really do?”

Q: If you weren’t a comic, what other job would you love to do?

A: Civil rights attorney.

Q: What are some comedy goals/dreams you have on your To Do List?

A: To perform in Gaza.

Q: What quality, trait and/or body part do you really like about yourself?

A: I always try to stay optimistic.

Q: What’s one thing you wish more people knew about you?

A: I have a Master’s degree in Middle East Studies and a Law degree. And believe it or not, they lend themselves very well to my material.

Q: How will you know you “Made It?”

A: I always feel like I’ve made it when fellow Arabs tell me, “Thank you.”


  • Look out for the annual “1001 Laughs Dearborn Comedy Festival” at the Arab American National Museum


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