Scott D. Pierce: Laughing with the Axis of Evil

Have you heard the one about the Mormon Palestinian?

Published: Saturday, March 10 2007 12:20 a.m. MST

"The Axis Of Evil Comedy Tour" is a funny idea.

Four Arab-American stand-up comedians telling the kinds of jokes only Arab-Americans can. Jokes about what it's like to get stopped in airports and get treated like you're a terrorist.

There's Maz Jobrani ("The Knights of Prosperity"), who was born in Iran; Ahmed Ahmed, who was born in Egypt; Palestinian/Italian American Dean Obeidallah.

And Mormon Palestinian Aron Kader.

"My Dad comes from a Palestinian family and my Mom comes from a Mormon family in Utah. Any Palestinian Mormons here?" Kader asks the audience at the taping of "The Axis of Evil Comedy Tour," which premieres tonight at midnight on Comedy Central. (It's fascinating to hear the audience gasp — not because of the Palestinian thing, but because of the Mormon thing.)

Kader is the son of Omar Kader, a Provo native who is a former professor and administrator at Brigham Young University.

The elder Kader is the director of the United Palestinian Appeal and the former executive director of the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee. The younger Kader gears most of his act to his Palestinian side, but takes aim at his Mormon roots as well.

After joking about how unusual it is to see Arabs at a standup comedy performance, he says that Mormons also lack a sense of humor. "They just feel guilty immediately if they laugh. 'What am I doing? I have to repent,"' Kader says. (Well, it's supposed to be funny.)

He goes on to say, "When I turned 19 ... they pulled me aside — they didn't want me to feel left out. So the Mormons asked me if I wanted to be one of those Mormon missionaries.

"You know, the Mormon missionaries? 'I ride a bike and wear a name tag and sleep in a bunk bed with another boy for two years. I part my hair on one side and I read one book and now I get it,"' he mocks. (It's hard to imagine that very many people in the audience really get that jab, but they laugh nonetheless.)

"They're like, 'Have you thought about going on a mission?" Kader continues. "Yeah, look, to an Arab a mission is a whole different deal. Generally, we don't come back from those. Thanks for asking."

Kader's act is actually the weakest of the four in the special. (Obeidallah — who seems to be low man on their totem pole — turns in the funniest performance.)

Kader's best line comes early: "If I have a boy, I'll definitely name him Al — Al Kader."

That's pretty funny.


E-mail: pierce@desnews.com

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