'I don't like punching down': Ali Hassan takes a harder look at his jokes

Comedian Ali Hassan explains why he is more critical of the jokes he performs since the U.S. presidential election.
Comedian Ali Hassan in studio q. (Olivia Pasquarelli)

"As a comedian, I don't like punching down," says Ali Hassan, who has been touring his show Muslim, Interrupted for a while now. But since the presidential election, Hassan says he is much more critical of the jokes he performs. "Now with Trump in it, you have to take a little harder look," says Hassan, "I don't want to victimize people who are already victimized." Hassan explains, "the ultimate worry is that I look like I'm part of the problem." He is still critical of certain elements of his religion and thinks comedy is a good way to tackle challenging issues.

Yet, the comedian admits he is a little uncomfortable bringing his show to certain locations below the border. Hassan says, "you don't have a lot of Muslim comedians coming through Kansas City," and that causes him a bit of trepidation "that is directly related to Trump and the atmosphere he has created." For now, Hassan hopes to push past his own fears and use his comedy to challenge our perception of Muslim culture.

Hassan will perform Muslim, Interrupted in Edmonton on January 19 at the Festival Place, on January 20 in Calgary at the Arts Commons, and as part of Saskatoon's Winterruption Festival on January 21. He will also perform at Regina's Artesian Theatre on January 22. The show will be in Moncton on February 11 at La Caserne as part of the HubCap Comedy Festival and in Vancouver at the Norman Rothstein Theatre on February 24.

Find full show listings here.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?