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It was the tensest moment of Allah Made Me Funny. The show, which also featured the Fear of a Brown Planet boys (hence, Amer), was not a show for politically correct humour. Why should it be? When your line-up consists of a black guy, 3 brown guys, and a Palestinian from Kuwait, political correctness would limit their brilliance, and waste our time. TV serves us enough PC, shows like this should keep it real and poke and ridicule the inconsistencies of the establishment and really push through how it feels like to be a minority. And they better make sure their words bite.
The walk-out showed that this sort of material can still rub some people raw. Local Melbourne act Fear of a Brown Planet, comprised of Amer and Nazeem Hussain, were sharper and more pointed in their observations than the Americans. Their jokes were attack after attack on ‘white people’, proving that ‘white guilt’ continues to be a gift that keeps on giving for ethnic stand-ups. I knew I would’ve squirmed in my seat had I been the target of those jokes. It was one of the rare occasions where you’re better off as a ‘coloured person’ in Australian society.
The Americans held their own of course. What they lacked in savagery, they made up in polish and poise.
You really can’t go wrong when you have greats such as Preacher Moss and Azhar Usman in the house. They make the business of making people laugh seem deceptively effortless. Theirs were more measured performances. They brought some heat to the stage, but didn't really try to burn anything down.
It was an interesting contrast. On one hand, the Melbourne boys brought to the stage a racial approach to humour, while the Americans, pardon the cliché, seemed to want to hold hands and sing Kumbaya. The bigger irony is America’s supposed to be the racist country while Melbourne’s the celebrated multicultural city. You wouldn’t have thought that through the show, not with jokes about Melburnians randomly bashing up Punjabi-speaking commuters in trains.
Maybe it’s just the boys. Maybe Fear of A Brown Planet is a gross misrepresentation of Melbourne, ,and by extension Australia, as an ignorant city full of xenophobes. They may be painting a false picture that no local can recognise, simply making these outrageous statements to get themselves notice. The young crowd of ethnic minorities who whoop and cheer at them may just be happy to see someone who likes them under the limelight for a change. This same crowd of dedicated fans which attend every Brown Planet gig certainly because they like what they say, but maybe also because they can identify with what’s being said.
Maybe Fear of A Brown Planet is actually on to something.