Monday, March 8, 2010
Fear of a Brown Planet
You may have spotted both guys before on the light-hearted Muslim panel show Salam Cafe on SBS recently, but it was clear that that safe, family-oriented show was not an adequate vehicle for their talents. (This is probably the show's best moment, with Hussain as his "Uncle Sameer" alter ego.) Dealing with uncomfortable truths (or takes on the truth, in any case), their humour is anything but safe, as it takes in race and racism, politics and religion. The pair have previously competed in JJJ's Raw Comedy, with Aamer voted the national runner-up and Hussain reaching the Victorian final.
Nazeem Hussain, whose parents are Sri Lankan, works in a law firm and is a director of the Islamic Council of Victoria, but nonetheless his comedic approach is for want of a better word, goofy. It's light-hearted, with liberal use of a subcontinental accent, yet with serious points to be made. The below clip is not necessarily one of them though.
Aamer Rahman is a youth worker (though like Hussain, he is also a graduate in law) of Bangladeshi background, who happens to be a homie of mine from university days. By contrast to his partner, his comedy is more edgy, and more likely to unleash stinging critiques of white society that undoubtedly cause discomfort to some in his audience.
It's a far cry from the type of broad and unchallenging humour that tends to get a mainstream following in Australia, and their occasionally uncompromising stance towards our society (particularly white people) is not going go down too well with the masses. Some parts certainly didn't sit too well with my sensibilities when I saw them last. But that exactly why they are vital voice; why watch something that doesn't challenge you in the least?
The Age recently featured a story about the comedy duo, which you can read here.
You can get more info on the duo at http://www.brownplanet.com.au/.