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Festival Of Faiths: Using Comedy To Bridge Cultural Divide

Azhar Usman

One effective way of bridging a cultural divide is through comedy. Azhar Usman is a Muslim comic trying to do just that.

Usman has opened for comedian Dave Chappelle more than 50 times, and he's the co-founder of the international comedy showcase "Allah Made Me Funny-The Official Muslim Comedy Tour." He's is in Louisville for the Festival of Faiths and will be performing his standup Friday night.

The Chicago-based comedian talked with me about his path to comedy, his hope for the Festival of Faiths, and growing up in predominately Jewish Skokie, Illinois. You can listen to our conversation in the media player above.

On growing up in Skokie:

“I do a joke that I went to so many bar mitzvahs I started waiting for one of my own and had no context or idea that I wasn’t going to have one. Because growing up, that was what was around me. Now looking back on it, I think I was very fortunate to have grown up in a diverse community.”

On going from law school to comedy:

“I ended up in law school like a lot of people do, you know they call getting a law degree the haven for the undecideds. But during that time is when I really started getting serious about my stand up as well and was touring a lot on the weekends and performing a lot on the road and building my comedy chops.”

Comedian Azhar Usman will perform during the Festival of Faiths on Friday, April 21. There's more information about the festival here.

Bill Burton is the Morning Edition host for LPM. Email Bill at bburton@lpm.org.

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