Disclosure: KUT is a media sponsor of the Austin Film Festival.
“The Muslims are Coming” is a documentary that follows a group of Muslim comedians as they travel through small towns in the South. Their goal is to foster a dialogue about Muslim-Americans through humor.
“We go to places like Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia … you know, places where they love 'the Muzzies,'” says comedian Negin Farsad, the film’s director and star.
Even before the jokes start, as a viewer it’s difficult not to think, “what are they doing?” Early on, Farsad stands in front of a retirement-aged crowd in a sterile church community room, starting her set by detailing what the New York City club scene is like for a Muslim woman. It’s only when the crowd breaks into laughter the audience can take a breath, as tension begins to melt through Farsad’s self-effacing charms.
In a similar manner, vignettes like “Name That Religion” – hosted in town squares by Farsad and his troupe, in a booth labeled “Ask a Muslim” –may cause viewers to cringe a little in anticipation of any controversy. Our stomachs take a rollercoaster ride through the routines.