Amer’s Netflix special
Jacob Waring – Reporter
Mohammed “Mo” Amer brought comedic gold to his Netflix original comedy special, “Mo Amer: The Vagabond.”You would not think of pre-citizenship passport difficulties, dealings with international custom officials, and life as an Arabic refugee growing up in Houston to escape a war-torn Kuwait as funny. Yet, he had everyone
in attendance laughing, and his humor had an educational flair to it.
He explained to the audience that when traveling before citizenship, he had to use Department of Homeland Security refugee documents and visas since he could not carry
a regular passport until he became a citizen. The absurdity of the situation involving airport officials needing a passport when the refugee document was sufficed was hilarious. What trips these officials is the fact that the document says, “This is not a passport.”
Amer at one point, explained how it works to the audience. His explanation was done as if he was speaking to the official directly, who’s telling him to produce his passport.
“In 1948, the United Nations was founded. They created the Geneva Passport that allows
refugees and asylum seekers to travel while they’re seeking asylum from their respective countries,” he said.
He proceeded to say, tongue-in-cheek, he would instead blow up a whole airport as that would be easier. This was his own poised way of tackling that stereotype for laughs.
When watching any comedy special, one expects punchlines. What makes Amer really shine is his experiences of traveling as a citizen, which ends up educating viewers with laughter. One may not know about the Geneva documentation or how mind-numbingly frustrating the whole process can be if you are not a citizen.
Amer’s ability to tap into that aspect of his life experience and his comedic style, and to educate those in attendance with humor shows how talented of a performer he is.
It is clear that this is not lost on him as when he intertwined references to President Trump into his set. He even touched on his viral moment of sitting next to Eric Trump on a plane. He has been a citizen since 2009, but he chose to make previous traveling experiences and difficulties a main feature of this special because he knows his experience is extremely relevant to the political climate of today.
The best comedic material is the kind that everyone can relate to on some baseline level and one can certainly relate to Amer’s traveling troubles in some form. Those who have traveled all at some point either dealt with airports Transportation Security Administration agents or having in our own traveling horror stories.
Ultimately, what made his set work is that it was not a barrage of jokes. Even when
the audience was not laughing, they were completely enthralled by his storytelling that leads to the punchlines. It is this commentary that enhances Amer’s entire set.
It is an hour of comedy that does not hold back. It is genuinely funny, and the audience will come away learning something new or a having better appreciation on an
aspect of life immigrants and refugees face when traveling.
Photo Credit: FJMustak