Trump Hole Cap

It is one year to the day since he took office and Trump, who is surely now more punchline than presidential, continues to (and I am paraphrasing the great cartoonist Mr Fish here) dismantle civil society, urinate on international law, stockpile weapons of mass destruction, rob the poor to feed the rich, stoke the flames of racial injustice, seize control of every female private part in the country and claim it as government real estate, continue our collective slide towards doomsday due to his moral degeneracy, and lift every regulation designed to protect the environment against total and complete annihilation.

And let us not even get into the continuing Russia investigation, the allegations of an affair with an adult movie star and the subsequent hush money that was paid out, the ongoing craziness of his tweets, and all of the rest (of which there is sooooo much). Trump is doing all this in a desperate attempt to secure his place in history as the most stable of geniuses.

All of these shenanigans provide great inspiration for comedians, who have a myriad of subject matters and news storylines to play with. As I have probably said before more than once, rather than news channels who clearly have their own agenda, it is these stand up comedians who are in many ways the true voices of reason, a point which the Muslim –American comedian Hasan Minhaj recently noted:

Comedians are playing a more significant role in reporting and commenting on current events. The big thing that a lot of comedians are forced to do is, we’re forced to do things like primary reporting. Like CNN and Fox News, that’s where you go to get your sketch comedy on…It’s like bizarro-world, CNN is Comedy Central and comedians are like, ‘Why aren’t you reporting the truth?’ It’s forced all of us to elevate our game. – Hasan Minhaj

I guess what that means is if you are laughing then you are learning, more than you would if you watched the actual news. In that light, please find below some of the best satirical quotes about Trump that I have recently come across. These quotes may not make you laugh out loud, heck they may even make you wince and shudder as you realise this is what the slow dismantling of western democracy looks like, but at the very least I hope they make you nod in agreement. Enjoy!

NB Please be warned that some of the language below maybe a little offensive.

Trump Norwegians

A lot of people, a lot of agencies, in fact entire cities, are choosing to ignore Trump and just get on with their agenda. And that has been Trump’s biggest achievement. Clinton proved you can be a president without morals. Bush Junior proved you can be a president without an IQ. Obama proved anyone can be president. And Trump has proved we don’t need a president. – Rich Hall

According to Trump everything is so unfair. His favourite word is unfair. He’s the luckiest guy in the world and he’s got this chip on his shoulder. That’s what I don’t understand that his whole attitude is: when will white men born to great wealth finally catch a break in America? – Bill Maher

After Oprah Winfrey’s Golden Globe speech many in the public are calling for a run at the presidency in 2020. Can’t we just have a regular one for a while? Just a regular boring old white dude president that smiles and shape shifts into a lizard at night? I’m tired of all these fun ideas for president. I miss boring politics. I miss when people would ask me “Hey, did you hear what the president said?” And I’d be like “No!” – Michael Che

Comparing Trump to Hitler is a bit of a stretch because Hitler managed to get elected without the help of the Russians. – Rich Hall

My job is to make jokes about the news but Trump saying something racist isn’t exactly news anymore. It’d be news if Trump said “You know what we need more of in this country? Haitians!” And by the way, he’s not the only one here that thinks like that. I’ve lived in this country my entire life and I’ve been asked to go back to Africa several times, and it’s never been because they thought I’d enjoy it there. But Donald, you do realize how rich these places are in resources, right? They’re in bad shape because they’ve been robbed and exploited for centuries by Western powers. So the President of the United States calling Africa a “shithole” is like telling a kid you molested “Boy, did you grow up to be weird!” – Michael Che

I look at Trump and the billionaire oligarchs he surrounds himself with as addicts. I do believe they are addicted to wealth, and that wealth addiction is no different from crack addiction. It fills an empty void. They will sell their grandmothers. They’re literally selling our entire country’s health for more. I remember Garry Shandling saying in 2007 that when we put people in office who are addicted to money and power, we might as well be giving a bunch of cokeheads a mountain of cocaine and saying: ‘Divide this equally among your people.’ I see it proven true every day. And we’ve raised an entire generation to worship money at any cost, no matter how it’s made. – Sarah Silverman

If you are what you eat then I guess Trump has eaten a sex offender and about 2 million Wotsits. – Nick Doody

In 2006, only months after Melania has given birth to their son, Trump is sleeping with this porn star, who was also cheating on her boyfriend, and the boyfriend knew because this porn star used to go home with orange on her collar. – Bill Maher

In any other administration, evidence that the president paid hush money to the star of “Good Will Humping” during the election would be a scandal. In this one it has, so far, elicited a collective shrug…Sleeping with a porn star while your wife has a new baby, then paying the porn star to be quiet? That’s what everyone expects of this president. – Michelle Goldberg

In August 2017 Trump began his ongoing verbal war with Kim Jong-Un and that notched the doomsday clock a bit forward. He said he would unleash “fire and fury” on North Korea “the likes of which this world has never seen.” I’m not sure where he first came up with those words “fire and fury,” probably a flavour of Doritos he was eating in bed at the time. – Rich Hall

In March 2017 the Pope himself shot of a series of passive aggressive tweets suggesting that Trump should think about building bridges and not walls. It’s not good when the Pope starts cyber bullying you. The Pope is someone who forgives people when they try to shoot him. How did you manage to get on his bad side? – Rich Hall

In the Chinese calendar 2018 is the year of the shithole. – Bill Maher

It says a lot about where we’re at as a country that in the last few days it was reported that a porn star was paid to stay quiet about an alleged affair with Trump, and for 38 minutes people in Hawaii thought they were about to get hit with an incoming missile, and neither of those is the biggest story in the news right now. They have of course been overshadowed by the fact that Trump referred to Haiti, El Salvador, and African nations as “shitholes.”– Seth Meyers

Trump Hush

Melania is my favourite member of the Trump family, mainly because she hates Trump. She just married a guy she thought was going to die. – Jena Friedman

Michael Wolff, author of the controversial book Fire And Fury, has done the impossible: he has made America read again. – Bill Maher

People say Trump is dangerous, but it’s a tough call. A lot of people have compared Trump to Hitler but if anything Trump is more like Bin Laden, just in the sense that they both used their daddy’s money to ruin the New York skyline. – Jena Friedman

Sometimes Trump is so stupid that it’s not even funny…Either Trump is lying about the visa lottery or he’s a dumbass who doesn’t know how it works and I really don’t know which one it is. – Trevor Noah

The argument can be made that America is kind of breezing along better than you would expect, and it is. But the ship’s captain doesn’t get to take credit for the weather. – Rich Hall

The fact of the matter is that Trump is just such a dick. When he has finished being president, whenever that is, America is going to say “Me too.” – Larry Wilmore

The only reason we have heard of the book Fire And Fury by Michael Wolff is because of Trump constantly denouncing it on Twitter. It is quite common for people to sell a book by calling it “The book Taylor Swift doesn’t want you to read.” But Taylor Swift doesn’t then tweet to her 86 million followers “This is the book I don’t want you to read!” All you need to do now is insult Trump and you get the sort of publicity that money can’t buy. – Nick Doody

The Republican Mitch McConnell said early on Trump will sign anything we put in front of him. So Trump just becomes for everyone in some way a useful fool. Now the problem with that is he is the useful fool but then he goes wacko and says something which destroys everybody’s plans to use him. – Michael Wolff

The porn star said Trump would only use a condom if Mexico paid for it. She also said that if you have to have sex with a guy like Trump you just shut your eyes and pretend it’s Harvey Weinstein. – Bill Maher

The problem with Trump is that you right a joke at two o’clock and by three o’clock he has negated it by doing something even stupider than what you wrote at two o’clock. – Rich Hall

This is all about personality. It is a cult of personality. His voters like the stuff he is doing. They don’t care when Sarah Huckabee Colonel Sanders comes out and lies to everybody. Trump will say something like “The earth is flat” and she then comes out and says “Nah! That’s the liberal media twisting his words. He said the earth is flat right here. You heard what he said.” – Larry Wilmore

Trump began Martin Luther king Jr day at his golf club in Florida. And what better way to celebrate Martin Luther King than with the whitest thing you can do: golf at a private club that’s named after you. – Seth Meyers

Trump has lived up to one of the promises in his inaugural speech: “I am looking forward to contaminating your every single thought and action. Every waking and sleeping moment of your existence, I will be there. I’m going to be like a weevil, crawling out of an infested egg sack, gnawing away at the pit of your basest fears about the future of America and the world. Trust me folks, it’s going to be tremendous.” – Rich Hall

Trump has praised himself for selling F52 fighter jets to Norway, even though the F52 only exists in the video game Call Of Duty. – Nick Doody

Trump is a narcissistic sociopath who is only interested in feeding his ego. – Larry Wilmore

Trump is now a part of my life, he is like a character in my life, a character who might kill me, but a character nonetheless. – Trevor Noah

Trump is the only human being who can make American Jews want to move back to Germany. – Judy Gold

Trump is the only man ever to pay a porn start to keep her mouth shut. – Bill Maher

Trump said to one journalist that he is “the least racist person you have ever interviewed.” The least racist person you have ever interviewed? Trump having cleverly chosen there an interviewer who had been cryogenically frozen since conducting a last interview in Germany in 1943…We are at the point where this man couldn’t be more racist if his Amazon recommended products were bedsheets, crosses, and fire. – from the BBC TV show The Mash Report, 18 Jan 2018

Trump was in Puerto Rico throwing out rolls of paper towels to people and yelling “There’s a lot of love in this room,” which I believe was a re-enactment of that Moscow hotel room tape that is floating around. – Rich Hall

Trump’s ‘cognitive ability’ normal, he’s just a prick, says White House doctor…Trump has no obvious mental health issues, he is just a dreadful bastard, the White House doctor has confirmed…Professor Henry Brubaker, of the Institute for Studies, said: “We have a tendency these days to assume people that we don’t like are somehow mentally impaired, when actually the simplest answer is that they are just turds.” – from, 17 Jan 2018

Trump’s lack of self-awareness is almost adorable. He lies all the time. It’s like listening to OJ Simpson complain about the loopholes in the justice system. – Michael Che

What Trump lacks in eloquence he makes up for by just making up nick names. Like Crooked Hillary, Rocket Man Kim, Sloppy Steve Bannon, Sleepy Eyes Chuck Schumer. The guy has invented more characters than your average Bruce Springsteen lyric. – Rich Hall

When Trump does a speech we never know what he is going to say. No one knows what he is going to do, including himself, which I like. I feel like then we are all in the same place. Trump will be like “Nobody knows. Not even me.” Democrats, Republicans, I don’t care who you are, everyone clenches their butt cheeks when he speaks. Because it could be anything, he could start a war or he could make peace. You don’t know. – Trevor Noah

With any other president having an affair with a porn star would be the end, but with Trump we are all like “Wow! Trump in a consensual affair! I think he’s pivoting.” – Trevor Noah

You want immigration to be merit-based? Your job isn’t even merit-based. Your whole life has been the opposite of merit-based. You’re a celebrity billionaire despite the fact that you’ve declared bankruptcy six times and you’re president despite being wildly unqualified. If you want a merit-based immigration system, fine, but then you should have to go back to whatever bog your family crawled out of and get in the back of the line. – Seth Meyers



Frankie 2017

Well, 2017 has come and it has gone. In some ways it wasn’t too bad a year. There were no nuclear annihilations. Mother Nature, though furious in 2017, has given us a bit more time. And the global economy, even in the era of Trump, is in some ways growing (the rich are getting richer, as they always do, which is why stock markets are breaking record after record, and the poor are getting poorer, as they always do, which is why global debt hit an all-time high of over $233 trillion). But not everyone saw it like that.

Here is cartoonist Tom Tomorrow with his review of 2017…

Tom 2017

And here we have Time magazine symbolising 2017 with this caricature of Trump with his hair on fire…

Time 2017

In a rather scathing and brilliant article about some of the main characters populating the news, the Guardian columnist Stuart Jeffries says 2017 was the year we reached “peak arsehole”. Jeffries goes on to say:

What this implies is that 2017 is the year of the asshole. And a brief survey of the self-serving, overwhelmingly patriarchal, sometimes sexually exploitative and otherwise loathsome public stances taken by the year’s most prominent jerks – among them Harvey Weinstein, Donald Trump, Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Kevin Spacey – suggests this to be the case. – Stuart Jeffries

A more detailed and hilarious review of 2017 was provided by Andy Zaltzman, again in the Guardian. In the article, How To Laugh At The Year That Was, Zaltzman said:

From Trump to Brexit, 2017 has been both a gift and a curse for comedians…As the first year in history in which the most powerful person in the world has been an internet troll with access to a Twitter account, 2017 has been even more newsically unrelenting than its predecessor, role model and inspiration, 2016…Satire, therefore, has had a busy year. – Andy Zaltzman

And here we have cartoonist Mr Fish on the troublesome cross over from 2017 to 2018…

Fish 2017

Whatever people think of 2017, one thing is for sure. It was a big year for comedy. In fact, 2017 was a monumental year for stand-up comedy, with the “comedy bubble” showing no signs of bursting any time soon. Here are just a few examples: Dave Chappelle was given $60 million by Netflix for 3 stand up specials, comedy show Saturday Night Live had it highest ratings in decades, Larry David and his show Curb Your Enthusiasm were back, Tiffany Haddish burst on to the scene, once former comedy giant Louis CK burst his bubble through no fault but his own, and those stand-up comedians not caught up in sexual harassment allegations became the moral voice for many of us, especially in the States with late night chat show hosts like Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel, Trevor Noah, John Oliver, Samantha Bee, Jim Jeffries, Seth Meyers, James Corden, Jordan Klepper, and Conan O’Brien.

Add to this a huge number of stand-up specials, including gigs from Jerry Seinfeld, Sarah Silverman, and Netflix specials from Muslim comedians Hasan Minhaj (Homecoming King) and Maz Jobrani (Immigrant), to name just a few. This glut was fuelled mainly by Netflix releasing a new hour-long stand-up special every week throughout the year. HBO, Comedy Central, Showtime and other American networks also continued to release new specials throughout 2017. Because there were so many of these specials some journalists found it difficult to choose a year-end list of the best. One such journalist was Garrett Martin who, writing in Paste magazine, said:

There are more people doing comedy in more venues and through more media outlets than ever before…in the past it was pretty easy to watch every major special that aired; in 2017, that would require a real commitment…Last year our year-end list had 10 stand-up specials; this year we had to cut it down just to get to 25. All of them are worth watching if you’re a fan of stand-up, and illustrate how wide-ranging and diverse this kind of entertainment has become. – Garrett Martin

But which one was the best? Well, according to Brian Logan of the Guardian, Frankie Boyle’s show Prometheus Volume 1 (performed at the EICC in Edinburgh) was the best. My take on this remarkable show can be found here. And this was Logan’s gleaming year end review:

For dark times, do we need dark comedy? Maybe, maybe not, but if you put a gun to my head (very much the apt figure of speech), I’d have to cite Frankie Boyle’s Prometheus Volume 1 as the funniest comedy show I saw this year. I tried to resist it. I listened to the angel at my shoulder, reminding me how much I enjoyed fun-lovers such as Spencer Jones and mild-mannered wags like Phil Wang. But in comedy as in music, sometimes the devil gets the best tunes. And this year, in his familiar guise as a beardie Glaswegian with middle-aged spread and a husk for a heart, Boyle had some crackers.

Depending on what you’re looking for, a lot and a little has changed since the shows with which Boyle began his standup career. He still aims to appal as much as amuse. If you think there are subjects from which comedy should shrink (sexual assault, to cite an obvious example), this wasn’t the show for you. But whereas shock and horror were once the means and the end of Boyle’s shtick, and were cheaply spent on snide gags about celebrities, now all the brutal quips about Tories, slaughtered Arabs and succubus Windsors are there in the service of a radical worldview. Radically cynical, maybe. Radically morbid. But radical nonetheless.

His comedy probably isn’t going to save us, of course. But at least, as the waters finally close over our benighted civilisation, Boyle’s cackling barbs ringing in our ears, we won’t be able to say we weren’t warned. In the meantime, well, the jokes are just so funny: pithily expressed, baroque of imagination, each one landing like a sharp jab at whatever nerve you’ve left unprotected. In a year when many of us felt like grabbing strangers by the lapels and screaming, “What’s happening to us?!”, Boyle’s comedy came closest to distilling that feeling into joke form.

 – Brian Logan, 17 Dec 2017, Guardian, from the article The Top 10 Comedy Shows Of 2017

When Boyle was given the task to do a year end show he said:

I’m so delighted to be doing this show as that little period between Christmas and New Year is something that I’ve always wanted to ruin for everybody. – Frankie Boyle

A little later, in a teaser clip advertising the show, Boyle described 2017 thusly:

2017. A year of contrasts. Some of it was terrible, as was all the rest of it. So not much of a contrast really. Join me and my guests as we look back on a year of contrasts. – Frankie Boyle

So who better to review the year 2017 than one of the best and darkest comedians currently doing the rounds, the always original Frankie Boyle. As usual I have chosen my favourite quotes from the show, transcribed below. And please be warned, some of the language may be a little offensive, but I hope that does not detract from you enjoying these quotes. Also, the quotes are from Frankie Boyle unless otherwise stated. Enjoy!

NB I have blogged about Boyle’s New World Order shows before, but this particular one is a year-end review.

Theresa May looks crushed, doesn’t she? Her body language is amazing. I didn’t realise it was possible to limp with both legs.

It’s been a year of sexual assault allegations. Harvey Weinstein checked himself into rehab on a ranch. I think the last thing this world needs is Harvey Weinstein learning how to use a lasso. “Harvey! Harvey! That’s not how you mount a horse!”

Kevin Spacey really went for it, didn’t he? Imagine at this point in history, being adjudged such a sex predator that you’re not allowed to play the President of the United States.

It amazes me, really, that Donald Trump hasn’t been assassinated. Especially when you consider quite a lot of his security are concentrating on stopping Melania from making a break for it.

Trump’s loved by the Klu Klux Klan and by evangelical Christians. Which is strange because he’s the perfect argument both against white supremacy and for abortion.

We had Brexit, led by the least among us, Boris Johnson, a sort of malevolent baked Alaska, and David Davis, a man who seems to suffer from the same lack of imagination as his parents.

This year Britain was the number three exporter of aid to Yemen. There’s a famine in the Yemen. And at the same time, the number two seller of arms to Saudi Arabia, who are causing the famine in Yemen. That’s like shooting someone in the face, then spooning porridge into the cavity.

Tonight I’ll be making a proposition that sums up my view of the year, and that proposition is…2017 is the year no-one will look back on fondly because we’ll all be dead.

This year, one figure dominated the news more than any other…Donald Trump. He may have to shit by Cesarean, but he’s still the most powerful man in the world. This year, he announced US withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement, championed tax cuts for billionaires, and supported an alleged pedophile as a Republican candidate for the Senate. Trump is like a fat bee bashing around inside a greenhouse, repeatedly failing to understand why the world doesn’t work as he thought it did. Like any good authoritarian, a lot of his hatreds are simply projection. He has targeted North Korea for threatening its neighbour to the south, promising to expand its nuclear capability, and assassinating people abroad. Despite the fact this was pretty much Trump’s election manifesto.

I don’t know if you know, but Trump’s brother died from alcoholism, so Trump avoids alcohol because his brother was an alcoholic. If only his brother had died from being a massive cunt.

Sara Pascoe: Trump doesn’t worry me anymore. You know that thing about how once you see how sausages are made, you don’t want to eat sausages? Politically, he’s showing us how the sausages are made. Politics has always been poisonous and toxic and awful, and they’ve always had nuclear buttons and they’ve always been pigs. Now you can see it. Now we all know.
Mona Chalabi: But the thing is, it’s not affecting his popularity.
Sara Pascoe: People like sausages. That’s the problem.

Do people worry that Trump a Russian mole? I mean, it would certainly explain why he can’t speak English.

Miles Jupp: I find him amazing to watch. Just that level of sort of rage. I think a lot of it’s to do with his diet, probably. He only eats fast-food. He’s basically full all the time of salt and sugar. So any behaviour you see is a direct symptom of that. Like a child that’s had too much jelly he gets very, very high and then he has these sort of miserable crashes. And then he presumably consumes no roughage…whatsoever, which is why most of his real fury is reserved for when he’s on the lavatory. Tweeting. He’s tweeting there. He’s angry, he’s lonely. I shouldn’t imagine he’s the sort of person that has books in his loo. The only thing he’s got to do is read about himself on the internet and then get angry and then let it all out.

Katherine Ryan: Trump’s a dangerous man. If you tell him he can’t do something, he’ll do it. I think men like Trump should be told, you know, you can’t make a woman your age climax. You can’t do it. And then they’ll just spend their whole lives trying. “You can’t tell me I can’t make a woman my own age climax.” And then they’ll have to spend time around women with educations and opinions. And then it might solve things a little.

Trump moves like a sort of walrus on a Segway or something.

Black Americans are near the top of Trump’s list of adversaries. Somewhere in-between Muslims and common decency. But Trump’s nemesis this year has been North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

North Korea have developed nuclear warheads. But basically, at the moment, their delivery system is £3 million worth of stamps. And they’re trying to say that, oh, eventually, they’re going to be able to hit LA which means we’ll lose, what, James Corden and half-a-million rapists?

Many of us thought that Donald Trump would walk away with the title of the Worst Person Of The Year, but we were forgetting about one man…Piers Morgan.

Meanwhile, the news in Britain was dominated by Brexit. In March, Article 50 was triggered, leading to fractious Brexit negotiations between the UK and the rest of the EU. The prospect of Brexit has already managed to get immigration down and exports up…by making the pound worthless. At the moment, Britain is in a strange position, where we seem to be sanguine about foreigners owning our infrastructure, we just don’t want them picking our fruit.

They are becoming increasingly divorced from the general public, the Tories, I think. The average Cabinet Minister, the only reason that he keeps a photo of his kid in his wallet is so that he doesn’t pick up the wrong one at the end of term.

Jeremy Corbyn is often criticised for his scruffy appearance, so he was a surprising choice for the cover of GQ magazine…I’ve always kind of hated GQ. It seems to me to be just a watch catalogue. Do you know that thing, those guys that are like, “I used to just be a prick, now I’m a prick in four different time zones. I’ve gone from being a prick to a highly-muggable prick.”

There’s a theme throughout the general election of a growing disconnect between the Conservative Party and the public. They’re almost going in opposite directions. One of the new figures is Jacob Rees-Mogg, a sort of living Monopoly logo. A composite drawn from the nightmares of 18th-century mill workers…I think we sort of underestimate him, because subconsciously, we all think, any minute now, he’s about to be arrested by Poirot.

In October, Hollywood and the entertainment industry were rocked by multiple allegations of sexual harassment against film producer Harvey Weinstein. This led to a cascade of people coming forward with more accusations against big stars like Kevin Spacey, Louis CK, and Dustin Hoffman. Time magazine named the victims who’d spoken out about sexual misconduct, the Silence Breakers, as their people of the year. And then ruined it by making Donald Trump runner-up, like he was chasing them.

Katherine Ryan: When the Bill Cosby stuff happened, the reason he looked so confused going into the courtroom is his whole attitude was, “Well, no, all my friends were raping people, I don’t really understand. Back then, it was just frowned upon, like smoking weed. But now you’ve transported me into this whole world where it’s unacceptable.” It’s like society’s moving more quickly than these men are.
Sara Pascoe: At the beginning of Weinstein’s apology speech it literally says, “It was different back then,” that rules have changed. As if someone else has moved the goalposts. And again, he’s accused of rape at the most serious end of the assaults and things he’s been accused of. Literally saying to everyone else, “You’ve changed the rules.” Which is different from saying, I’ve done something utterly wrong, or lots of things wrong.
Mona Chalabi: I also think the thing that’s really scary is the first allegation against Weinstein was 37 years ago. The timeline it’s taken for these things to pick up speed is really depressing.

Frankie Boyle: The thing is, I worry though, will it change? This might all just go away because the institutions don’t seem to be changing.
Mona Chalabi: I think one of the things that’s frustrated me is that it’s just been high-profile, celebrity men. And we know that most reports of sexual harassment and stuff, they’re in things like retail, accommodation. So, like, hotel workers, those women are an in incredibly vulnerable positions, and things like manufacturing. But, in three out of four of those cases, the women are threatened with retaliation if they keep on moving it forward. Like, seven out of ten cases just never, ever go reported. So we’re only seeing the very, very tip of the iceberg here.
Frankie Boyle: What I don’t see in it though is, where is the idea of justice in this? So, these people haven’t been charged with anything, there’s not real justice for the victims. Basically, at the moment, we’re allowing them to set the agenda, where they go, “I’m going away for two weeks to a hotel.” That’s not how crime works. You know? “I’m going to try and not do any more armed robberies, I’ve got a week in at the Hilton, hopefully going to turn over a new leaf.”
Sara Pascoe: I think that, especially, with Harvey Weinstein, I think it isn’t a rehab thing, I think the crimes he’s been accused of are very, very serious. And Kevin Spacey as well.
Frankie Boyle: Are they on the same ranch? Surround this fucking ranch. Wait until Woody Allen pops round for a game of ping-pong and surround the thing like fucking Waco.
Miles Jupp: It’s basically like a safe house. I mean…it’s a place for perverts to hang out together.

Katherine Ryan: I’m blown away by how many men are outraged that they should have to mediate their behaviour so that the few women in their office can feel safe. Safe! It’s just safe, we don’t want to feel powerful, we don’t want to abuse you. “What, and now I’ve got to stop hugging them? What, the way I look at women’s got to change?” If the way you LOOK at women has got to change, what sexual eyes are you giving them?

I stayed across from Trump Tower for a wee bit and I’d forgotten just how blasé Americans are about guns, because he was president by then, it’s just surrounded by snipers and soldiers and stuff. And this woman walked up to a group of, like, ten soldiers and went, “Is there a Starbucks up there?” The guy gestured with a sniper rifle, “Yeah, it’s up there.”

So, as the year drew to a close, and everybody got ready for Christmas, high-street baking chain Greggs released an advent calendar. It featured this profoundly misguided image of three wise men surrounding baby Jesus, who was replaced with a sausage roll. See, I think they’ve gone too offensive there. Because how they going to top that next year? It’s going to have to be a sausage roll flying into the second tower. Like, Princess Diana’s car being forced off the road by a steak bake.


Guz Apollo.jpg

As far as Muslim stand-up comedians go America has some big hitters, with the likes of Hasan Minhaj, Maz Jobrani, Azhar Usman, Dave Chappelle, Preacher Moss, Aasif Mandvi, Aziz Ansari, and many others. Britain also has its fair share of up and coming Muslim comedians such as Tez Ilyas, Imran Yusuf, Aatif Nawaz, Prince Abdi, Shazia Mirza, Adil Ray (aka Citizen Khan), Humza Arshad (aka Diary Of A Bad Man), Ahir Shah (who was recently featured in the Guardian), and again many others.

Another name to add to this British list is that of Ghulam Khan, better known as Guz Khan, Guzzy Bear, or Mobeen (a comedy character he sometimes plays who is a somewhat typical Muslim living in Small Heath, Birmingham). Khan really came to prominence in June 2015 when, whilst performing as Mobeen, he made a video expressing mock outrage at the apparent use of the racial slur “Paki” (short for “Pakistani”) in the 2015 film Jurassic World. He called for a boycott of the film when one of the lead characters Vivian, played by Lauren Lapkus, shouted “the Pachys are out of containment” (the Pachys in this case being dinosaurs of the type pachycephalosaurus).

In the video Khan recounts a recent awkward trip he and his friend took to the cinema to watch the film. He also raised the point that the phrase could sound exceptionally racist to the untrained ear. Unexpectedly the video went viral. Within six days it was watched over 340,000 times on YouTube and over 700,000 times on Facebook. After the newspaper the Birmingham Mail publicised the story Khan was interviewed by radio stations as far and wide as the United States and Indonesia. Here’s the video in full:

More recently Khan has created a four-part television series called Man Like Mobeen for the BBC. It was released on BBC iPlayer in December 2017. Such is his popularity that the series is scheduled to make its terrestrial TV debut this weekend, straight after the football show Match Of The Day on Sunday evening.

In the series Khan again plays the role of Mobeen, the 28-year-old Muslim from Birmingham “who has a job, doesn’t know any terrorists, is pretty excellent when it comes to social skills and…maybe, just maybe, dealt drugs for a little bit.” He goes on to say that “Mobeen epitomises the funny yet complex realities of life for young working class men and women in Britain today. Inner-city Birmingham, in which the show is set, gets almost no positive representation in the media. Man Like Mobeen will at the very least give a ‘real’ depiction of life in the ends.” I have yet to see these four episodes, so no doubt I will be talking about them at a later date.

Also, on the last day of last year, the BBC aired the stand-up comedy programme Live At The Apollo. Performed at the Hammersmith Apollo Theatre in west London, this particular episode of the show (series 13, episode 5) saw Guz performing alongside fellow comedians Henning Wehn and Lucy Porter. The performance most definitely marks Khan’s arrival in the British mainstream comedy scene. Below is the performance, along with some of the transcript. Enjoy!

Let’s, ugh…Let’s lighten the mood a little bit. Let’s talk about terrorism. Terrorism…


Listen, one of my main issues with terrorism is simple, right. It’s got people that have known me my entire life doubting my credibility, all right? It’s a mad thing…And I will let you know, all right, you guys are a little bit worried at the moment. I’ll make it explicit for you. I am not a member of Isis, all right? I’m not, OK? I’ve nothing to do with those people, I don’t follow their ideology. That’s cos I’ve got six months left on my Al-Qaeda membership. I’m loyal…


Where did they go!? My gosh!

One of the worst things about terrorism is how it’s got people doubting my credibility, people I’ve known my whole life, all right? I want to give you an example. I’ve got a neighbour, OK? She’s called Maud, she’s known me for 27 years. And because of the media narrative, the way that the media portrays Muslims, minorities, Black Lives Matter…the world is very divisive. Who in this room just wants to live and get along? Make some noise.


Exactly, we all want to, all right? But the media has got people doubting me, all right? So, I’ve had my neighbour 27 years, we’ve got a…It’s a nice, simple thing, it’s a neighbourly thing to do, all right? A regular Friday wheelie bin ritual. We grab the wheelie bin, drag it down to the end of the driveway, have a quick natter, go back in. It’s what neighbours do, innit? It’s what neighbours do, all right?

This particular Friday, Maud is like clockwork, but she was late. And I’m thinking, “Is Maud OK? I hope she’s all right, usually she’s like…”

The bin was stinking of shit but I thought, “You know what, I’m going to stay here, I’m going to be a good neighbour and have this conversation.”

Three minutes later, boom! She kicks open the door, she’s stressed, she’s flustered. I said, “Maud, is everything OK?”

She says, “No! No, Guz, everything is far from all right. Have you seen the news?”

I’m like, “Listen, Maud, a lot of my cousins are on there, I don’t watch that shit, you know that…It brings back a lot of bad memories for me, Maud.”

She says, “Guz, it’s the Izis.”

I-Z-I, she’s from Birmingham, that’s how she spells it. “It’s the Izis. They’ve been doing terrible bloody terrorisms again, them lot.”

I was like, “Listen, that’s bad, I don’t agree with those people and, you know, I hope they’re brought to justice.”

She says, “You say that, Guzzy, yeah, but you’ve got to tell me something, babes. You’re nothing like them, are you?”

I said, “What? Maud, you’ve known me 27 years, baby, I’m nothing like them, stop buying into the media narrative, stop buying into the news, I’m me, Guz, your neighbour.”

She says, “I know, I know you say that, it’s just that from very specific angles…”


“…it’s a very Bin Laden look you’ve got going on there.”

I said, “Hey! I don’t even look like that guy. Very racist!”

She says, “Guz, I know, I’m just being silly, I’m just being silly, but you just do me one more favour, though, babes, OK? It’s just more for my Rod, really, yeah? If you hear anything about it before the news does, just let me know.”


Live At The Apollo, what does Maud think is going on here? That all Muslims are in one WhatsApp group? Because, blud…that’s a very big WhatsApp group! That’s 1.8 billion participants, to be specific. That’s a lot of blue ticks to keep hold of.

“Imran, Imran are you there, bro?”

Which Imran am I addressing? There’s 33 million Imrans in the group!


Guys, I’m out. My name’s Guz Khan.


Thank you. You lot need to…I’m a confident guy, I’m a confident guy, you need to remember the name, guys, cos I’m going to blow up. Not like that, you pricks. Say Guz Khan, thank you!


 – Guz Khan, from the BBC comedy show Live At The Apollo


Hasan John

Hopefully this is the first of many blog posts about comedians tackling Islamophobia through their stand-up comedy. First up we have Hasan Minhaj and Maz Jobrani…

I am a firm believer in the power of comedy to change the common narrative for the better. Here’s a quote to further my point:

If you laugh, you change. If you change, the whole world changes around you. – from the documentary Laughology (2009)

And that is one reason why I keep a nerds-eye-view on the Venn diagram intersection between stand-up comedy and Islam. Crossing my line of sight recently was an article about Hasan Minhaj, arguably the most famous Muslim comedian in the world (no, Omid Djalili is not a Muslim, he is a member of the Bahai faith, and the likes of Aziz Ansari, Kumail Nanjiani, Wajahat Ali, Azhar Usman, and others, aren’t quite getting the spotlight as much as Hasan currently is).

The article is called Hasan Minhaj Tackles Islamophobia With Comedy and is about a recent comedy gig he did on December 6th 2017 in the Turner Auditorium at the Johns Hopkins University East Baltimore campus in Baltimore, Maryland. The talk was the final event of the 50th anniversary Milton S Eisenhower Symposium’s 2017 speaker series, which also saw speeches from the likes of American Muslim activist Linda Sarsour, TV news host Joy Ann Reid, and Ohio governor John Kasich.

As well as being a regular throughout 2017 on the Daily Show With Trevor Noah, earlier this year Hasan hosted the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, and on December 4th 2017 he was named one of Foreign Policy magazine’s Global Re-Thinkers. FP claimed that “at a difficult time for Muslims and immigrants in America, Minhaj has found an effective way to describe a side of the United States that its current president ignores and rejects.” In the FP article Hasan describes himself as “an angry optimist” whilst FP describes him as “the 32-year-old pompadoured Daily Show correspondent,” “an avatar of the bizarre political moment,” “a protagonist of the American narrative,” and more importantly “the right comedian for the wrong time.”

Maz Cover

All of this reminded me of similar articles where Muslim comedians use their comedy to point out the growing Islamophobia that exists all around us today. One such article that came to mind is called Fighting Islamophobia With Comedy. Written way back in March 2015, this particular article is about the comedian Maz Jobrani, another American comedian who is rather effectively using his humour to tackle anti-Islamic bigotry.

As well as an acclaimed comedian, Maz is also an actor and author (his book I’m Not A Terrorist, But I’ve Played One On TV: Memoirs Of A Middle Eastern Funny Man was released in 2015). More recently he hilariously hosted the 45th International Emmy Awards Gala in November 2017 in New York:

Anyways, as always the two main articles mentioned above are well worth reading in full, and a selection of my favourite quotes from these articles are presented below. Enjoy!

Fighting Islamophobia With Comedy

Robin Wright, 08 Mar 2015, Atlantic Monthly

Maz Jobrani is challenging extremist ideology and Muslim stereotypes, one punchline at a time. – Robin Wright

Jobrani’s journey reflects both the problems and the potential in using comedy to bridge the cultural chasm produced by Islamic extremism. In growing numbers, America’s Muslim comedians are using a sassy brand of humor to reach across the abyss. In the United States, their shticks both ridicule extremism within their own faith and challenge American stereotypes of Muslims. – Robin Wright

Comedy turns out to be a sly way of challenging autocratic rule and a potent antidote to the sophisticated social media campaigns of the Islamic State and al-Qaeda. – Robin Wright

He lambasted the 2009 Christmas Day bomber who tried to blow up a Northwest flight from Amsterdam to Detroit, noting that the bomb carried in his underwear was proof that the guy was an idiot. Jobrani imagined the final conversation between the hijacker and his terror-masters. “Ah, excuse me. I have one, ah, one last question for you,” the terrorist says. “You say my reward in heaven will be seventy-two virgins. So do you think, maybe, we could put the bomb somewhere else? I mean, I really think I’m going to need my penis.” The crowd roared. – Robin Wright

Jobrani and other Muslim comedians take their mission as seriously as their craft. “For us,” Jobrani once told me, “the goal is not simply to make people laugh. It’s also to have people, when they leave the show, go, ‘Wow, that guy was funny, and he was Middle Eastern, and he didn’t try to kidnap or hijack us.” – Robin Wright

Comedy comes from tragedy, and being Iranian in America from 1979 on had been quite tragic. In stand-up comedy, I was able to take the reality and exaggerate it. – Maz Jobrani

Comedy was therapy for both Muslim performers and non-Muslim audiences. “As the weeks went on, I realized there was an important role comedy would play in healing the tragedies of September 11. Comedy can help people cope,” he wrote, “and many people were coming to the clubs to laugh out the stress.” Comedy brought back “a voice of reason to an irrational time.” – Robin Wright

Hasan Minhaj Tackles Islamophobia With Comedy

Emily McDonald, 07 Dec 2017, John Hopkins News Letter

NB All the quotes below are from Hasan Minhaj.

I can’t speak to my mom in Urdu on a plane, because people are afraid of terrorism. Fear of terrorism is the reason why we don’t let refugees into the country. We’re currently on our third travel ban because of that fear.

There is a double standard in the way terrorist attacks are portrayed in the media today. White terrorists are usually called “lone wolves,” while Muslim terrorists are branded as part of a terrorist organization. How is every crazy white dude just part wolf? How are all these guys just coincidentally Team Jacob? I don’t get the double standard. A brown dude goes crazy, we get teamed up. A white dude goes crazy: 12 individual wolves have gone cuckoo — if only there was a pattern.

The term “terrorism” is used disproportionately to describe acts of violence by people of color. There are over 100 definitions of the word terrorist, but in 2017 it’s been racialized to basically mean brown people, right? People who look like me, with beards. Coded language to describe things we’re afraid of is used a lot. You turn the news on, you hear words like ‘thug,’ ‘gangster,’ ‘illegal,’ ‘president.’

After the recent mass shooting at a Las Vegas concert, CNN was quick to question whether the attack was the work of ISIS or another terrorist organization, with little evidence to support the claim. I don’t expect anything more from CNN, they write headlines the way my dad writes emails. 1000-point font, incomplete sentences, random conspiracy theories. Vegas Shooter ISIS? Hasan Call Home, Mom Misses You.

Statistically, people in the United States are very unlikely to die of foreign terrorism. This statistic plays a key role in the refugee debate. How likely are you to die of foreign terrorism? Because that’s the crux of the debate. You are more likely to die from choking, lightning, crossing the street, furniture. You’re literally more likely to be killed by furniture than a terrorist organization. Despite these statistics, many Americans still oppose allowing refugees to immigrate into the country. People are still scared of terrorism, because I’m giving you a rational argument to an irrational fear, and we know that never works. We all argue with family members on Facebook. We love irrational fear in America, we’ve got other ones besides brown people: zika, Tsars, swine flu, anthrax, shark attacks, pirates.

A common argument made against the immigration of refugees is the idea that they do not share typical “American values.” If Muslims really don’t adopt American values, why do 92 percent of them say they’re proud to be American? Why do 72 percent of them say you get ahead with hard work? Why do 82 percent say they’re concerned about extremism? And why do U.S. Muslims accept gay marriage more than Republicans?

Immigration and diversity are fundamentally American values. The real question isn’t whether refugees can accept American values. It’s whether Americans can accept American values. Immigration is a fundamental American right, and yet it doesn’t get the same applause or attention as, say, freedom of speech or guns. We’re a nation of refugees, immigrants and free thinkers.

The current screening process for Syrian refugees includes an intensive background check and a two-year waiting period. If these people are willing to wait in line for over two years to enter this country, we owe it to them to at least look at their application.

The beauty of letting everybody in, no matter where we come from, as long as they go through proper procedures, is that people can practice their religion how they choose, not how someone else chooses. And when it comes to American Islam, that’s where it’s taken shape in really dope and innovative ways.

If after all that, you still want to ban refugees or Muslims, the reality of the situation is that we’re already here. We already control every aspect of your life. Think about it: food, transportation, medicine. We’ve got it on lock. We could’ve gotten you on every corner, but we didn’t. So you’re welcome, America.

Comedians are playing a more significant role in reporting and commenting on current events. The big thing that a lot of comedians are forced to do is, we’re forced to do things like primary reporting. Like CNN and Fox News, that’s where you go to get your sketch comedy on…It’s like bizarro-world, CNN is Comedy Central and comedians are like, ‘Why aren’t you reporting the truth?’ It’s forced all of us to elevate our game.

I like the recent increase in diversity in comedy. I think it’s awesome to get every single different perspective, because a lot of times you’ve got your blinders on, and there are blind spots we all have to different communities. I will say I think we need more female voices of color in comedy.


Muslim Woman Alone

Along with watching all the fancy TV adverts, it seems there is a new Christmas tradition: highlighting the issue of loneliness at this time of year. For many, Christmas is about joy and time spent with their families. For others, it can be one of the loneliest times of the year.

Whilst this tradition of highlighting loneliness has been around for several years, especially among charities such as Age UK, this year the issue has taken even greater prescience due to the findings of the Jo Cox Loneliness Commission. The Commission is named after the British politician who was brutally murdered in June 2016 by a white extremist (I wrote about this tragedy in a previous blog post). Jo was in the middle of setting up the Commission to combat loneliness before her tragic death.

Her hope for the Commission was to turbo-charge public awareness of loneliness. She wanted everybody, all across society, to understand more about the extent of loneliness and then, together, to do something about it in our communities, as individuals, as employers, and through greater political leadership. One of the reasons why Jo wanted to set up the Commission was, as she said:

Young or old, loneliness doesn’t discriminate. – Jo Cox

Jo Loneliness

The study from the Commission, officially released Friday 15th December 2017, has presented many interesting findings around the subject of loneliness. Among many things it is calling on the government to fund new ways of battling loneliness. Labour MP Rachel Reeves, co-chair of the Jo Cox Loneliness Commission, said:

Loneliness is no longer just a personal misfortune but has grown into a social epidemic. If we can tackle it effectively we can make Britain not just a happier but also a healthier country in which to live. – Rachel Reeves

The Commission has started a much wider debate on the subject. For example, the Chief Nursing Officer for England Jane Cummings said:

Loneliness can have a devastating impact. Evidence shows that social isolation increases the risk of premature death by around a third. – Jane Cummings

Whilst loneliness has been called a social epidemic and a public health crisis, Deborah Moggach, author of the novel adapted for The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel films about retired people from the UK going to India, says that:

Loneliness really is the last taboo. – Deborah Moggach

A quick read of other articles on loneliness reveals that it can be devastating mentally and physically. Loneliness is so damaging to health it is equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day or being obese. Being lonely is associated with an impaired immune system, it causes an increased incidence of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and obesity. It raises levels of cortisol in the body which can lead to depression and anxiety. Long term loneliness can lead to stress, paranoia, coronary heart disease, substance misuse, eating issues, sleep disturbance, cognitive deterioration (dementia), arthritis, Type 2 diabetes, and even attempted suicides.

There are economic costs too. Researchers estimate that loneliness damages our national economy, to the tune of £32bn per annum. Another view point suggests that the epidemic of loneliness costs £6,000 per person in health costs and pressure on local services. But the London School of Economics study of older people also says that for every £1 spent in preventing loneliness there are £3 of savings.

The Jo Cox Loneliness Commission concludes by suggesting that the UK needs a national strategy to combat loneliness across all ages, and a corresponding ‘minister for loneliness’ needs to be appointed who would be responsible for implementing the strategy. With this in mind the aforementioned Rachel Reeves said, in a recent article for Prospect magazine:

The crisis of loneliness exposes the limits of our welfare system. If William Beveridge was alive today, I believe he would identify loneliness as one of his great evils. Alongside the need for bread and health he would add the need for attachment and connection. And he’d follow up on his belief in voluntary action and give more power and control to people. – Rachel Reeves, from an article in Prospect magazine (Lord Beveridge, a noted progressive and social reformer, was also one of the founding fathers of the modern British welfare state, i.e. the NHS)

So how does loneliness relate to smiling? At the time of reading all these articles on loneliness, I came across a 5 minute audio clip of my favourite Muslim scholar Shaykh Hamza Yusuf talking about how people don’t smile anymore, and how this is related to an increased number of us being more and more alone.

This sense of loneliness goes against the general principle of how Muslims should live their lives. Islam is a community based religion. We have the concept of the ummah, the global Muslim community, to which we are all spiritually connected to. From a young age we are taught that prayer offered in congregation is more rewarding than prayer offered alone. We are taught that it is better for us to have a teacher, a Shaykh, so that we can learn from a living breathing person, rather than sitting alone and reading from a lifeless book.

Also around this time I watched a documentary on the BBC called Attenborough And The Giant Elephant, about the famous elephant Jumbo. David Attenborough explained how Jumbo, when he was in London and isolated and had no contact at all with other elephants, would often have night terrors. However, when Jumbo was shipped out to America he was placed in a circus and found himself in the company of other elephants. The night terrors completely stopped immediately. So even elephants are community based creatures.

Smile Cushion

Islam is also a religion that encourages us to smile, something the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) did often. In fact, in Islam smiling is not only considered a sunnah (a recommended act of the Prophet for us to follow) but it is also recognised as an act of charity (more on this in a previous blog post).

Pope Francis also recently said that smiling more is one of the three ways people can find happiness during this festive season. Add to this the recent scientific news that, according to the journal Psychology Of Sport And Exercise, smiling while working out can lead to a more productive workout. So the more you grin and bear it, literally, the healthier you become. It all bodes well for us to smile more.

Anyways, here is the aforementioned lecture by the always brilliant Shaykh Hamza Yusuf. Enjoy!

When Shaykh Khathri came from Mauritania to America he said that he noticed nobody smiled. Because one of the things about Mauritania is, and Sidi Ibrahim knows this, you got out in the desert and they are all smiling, right? People smile all the time because smiling is actually part of fitra (your natural instinct). The Prophet (SAW) smiled all the time. One of his names is ad-dahhak, the one who always smiles. He smiled all time. One of the sahabah (companions) said, “From the day I became Muslim I never once saw the Messenger of Allah except he smiled.” From the day he became Muslim he said “I never once saw the Messenger of Allah except he smiled.” It’s actually fitra to smile. If you see somebody, you know, this is a human being, you smile, he smiles, you feel good, he feels good, right?

And then you get these people, [serious tone] “As-salaam-alaikum brother.” Seriously! You go into the masjid and that’s what you hear, [serious tone] “As-salaam-alaikum brother.”

Just try a little harder on that one, just a little harder, like [polite tone] “As-salaam-alaikum”. You don’t even have to…Seriously, some people, it’s like getting a tooth out of them, or something, to get a salaam with a smile.

But he said that the reason he thinks nobody smiles is because he said he noticed they do everything alone. So he said they have shayateen (demons) with them and they get depressed. Because shaytaan (the devil) rides alone…There is a hadith (a saying of the Prophet), somebody who rides alone is a shaytaan, and two of them, two shaytaans, three is company.

You look in the West, everybody in their cars alone. And who are they listening to? Shaytaan on the radio. It’s amazing, they’re listening to shaytaan. And they’re driving alone. And then they go to work and they sit behind a cubicle alone. They don’t talk to anybody. In California they say “Send me an email.” They don’t even want to talk to them physically. They tell them “Send me an email.” Some of them have a sign, they just hold up a sign, they won’t even say anything.

Shaykh Khathri, when he was in New York, he said the strangest thing he saw, they were in a traffic jam, all these cars, and he said he looked over and he saw a car go in this place and it turned around and then he said it stopped, it rolled down it’s window and it spoke to a box. And then he said the box spoke back to him in a clear tongue. And then he said the car drove up a little further and he said some hands came out of a window with a white box. And he said he gave him money and they didn’t say anything to each other. He said he spoke to the box and he didn’t speak to the person. It was a fast-food restaurant.

But he was just looking at it, just seeing it for the first time. You see, you grew up seeing this, thinking it’s normal. It’s not normal, it’s neuroses, it’s a sickness. This is actually pathology. And somebody in fitra can see it for what it is, but people that are out of fitra they can’t see it. That’s what he said.

They go to work and then they go home and they eat alone. If one person eats alone shaytaan eats with you. And shaytaan just gets stronger and stronger. That’s the thing about shaytaan, people don’t realize this, shaytaan gets strong with heedlessness, he gets weak with dhikr (remembrance of Allah). The more ghaflah (heedlessness), he gets strong physically because he’s eating…if you don’t do dhikr when you eat, like say “Bismillah,” he eats with you. And he gets fat, he has energy because he’s got caloric strength. But if you say “Bismillah” then he can’t eat, he starts getting weak and withers away. If you say “Bismillah” when you go into your house, he can’t sleep with you.

There are two shaytaans, and this is from a sound hadith, they met, one was weak, the other was strong. He said “What’s the matter with you?” He said “I have a horrible assignment. Every time he eats he says ‘Bismillah,’ when he sleeps he says ‘Bismillah,’ when he goes to his wife he says ‘Bismillah.’ I’m not getting any strength.” He said “Oh, I’ve got a good one. He never says ‘Bismillah.’ I eat as all I want. When he goes home I have a nice bed to sleep in.”

So now look at the whole world. I mean, Christians they used to say “Bless us Lord for these gifts which we are about to receive.” They used to say that, and insha-Allah (God willing) it benefitted them. They don’t say that now, they just gobble it down. And so the shayateen are getting bigger and bigger.

And now they can just say they are shayateen, they actually can say it now. Really. They come out literally and say it, like rock bands. They say that “We are Satan.” I mean, they literally announce it. I saw this guy, he had a thing, “I worship Satan,” literally on his t-shirt. He had spiked hair, and it said on his t-shirt “I worship Satan.”

And this is happening in Christian lands, they used to be anyway. – Shaykh Hamza Yusuf

PS I realised after posting the above that I had previously mentioned a Shaykh Hamza Yusuf quote where he spoke about the Prophet (S) smiling…

Our Prophet was not somebody who was sombre. In fact one of his names is ad-dahhak, the smiling one. He smiled a lot. But he is also da-i-mul-ahzan, a deeply contemplative person, someone who was in profound meditation with his Lord. – Shaykh Hamza Yusuf


I’m In A Shaykh Hamza Yusuf State Of Mind

Shaykh Hamza Smiling

The multi award-winning American singer and song-writer Billy Joel one sang that he was is a New York state of mind. Well, today I am in a Shaykh Hamza Yusuf state of mind. Don’t know why I am but I just am. Maybe it’s because I’ve been listening to a few of his lectures recently and that’s put me in a good mood. Or maybe I’m in a good mood because Trump and his cronies lost the Alabama Senate election. Or maybe it’s because the weather is turning for the better after a few hellish days of bitter cold and ice. As always, God knows best.

Whatever the reason, I’m glad I’m feeling this way because it gives me an excuse to present some quotes by the great man himself. We begin with 5 quotes from Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, followed by 10 funny quotes from others. Enjoy!

We do not reflect anymore, there is an absence of reflection. One of the reasons we do not reflect is that we have become a nation of entertainment. For example, many people know a lot about sports, movies, music, etc, but yet these same people know nothing about the national debt, or about foreign policy. There is not much focus on analysis or thinking on important issues. – adapted from a speech by Shaykh Hamza Yusuf

We are becoming infant monsters, because we get what we want. And then we become impatient when we don’t get what we want. That’s the current human condition. And that’s why everybody out there is in this state of stress and anxiety. They are so used to getting what they want now. – Shaykh Hamza Yusuf

There is a hadith that says speed is from shaytaan and caution is from Allah. Why does shaytaan want us to speed up? He wants us to speed up because the faster you go the more likely you are going to trip up. The faster you speak the more likely you are going to make mistakes. The faster you run the more likely you are going to trip and fall. The faster your computers go the more likely they are going to do things that are going to harm you. – adapted from a speech by Shaykh Hamza Yusuf

The Prophet (S) is the spiritual mechanism of photosynthesis in our world. He is this light that comes from the heavens, and it comes into the prism of prophecy and it transmits this extraordinary spectrum of light that becomes visible, because real light is invisible, you cannot see it, we cannot see white light, we only see traces of it, we can’t see a photon, we can’t see it. But when it goes through the prism, suddenly it becomes visible…His spiritual photosynthesis is resonating throughout this whole world. – Shaykh Hamza Yusuf

The meaning or the purpose of our life on this planet is to understand the intentions of Allah in creating us. – Shaykh Hamza Yusuf

I think kids are great. I’ve got two kids. I’ve got a 4-year old boy who is the most important thing in the world to me. He really is. Especially now that I heard my kidneys might be on their way out. – Frankie Boyle

That Jesus movie came out, The Passion Of The Christ, and Jews didn’t want people to see it. Because they felt that everybody blames the Jews for killing Christ and then the Jews tried to pass it off on the Romans. But I’m one of the few people that believes it was the blacks. – Sarah Silverman

I saw a clown doing sit-ups. Funny how things work out. – Russell Kane

I was watching the London Marathon and saw one runner dressed as a chicken and another runner dressed as an egg. I thought, this could be interesting. – Paddy Lennox

If poor people knew how rich rich people are, there would be riots in the streets. If the average person could see the Virgin Airlines first-class lounge, they’d go, ‘What? What? This is food, and it’s free, and they…what? Massage? Are you kidding me?’ – Chris Rock

An independent Scotland would no longer have to invade places like Afghanistan for American interests. We’d invade them for heroin. Because I don’t support America’s wars. I don’t even think they ARE wars. They’re one-way traffic, mass murder. There’s never been a time when a shepherd has beaten a helicopter. You never switch on the news to see, “A shock result in Afghanistan today when a missile was destroyed by a wedding.” Because not only will America go to your country and kill all your people but what’s worse, I think, is they’ll come back 20 years later and make a movie about how killing your people made their soldiers feel sad. Oh, boo-hoo-hoo! Americans making a movie about what Vietnam did to their soldiers is like a serial killer telling you what stopping suddenly for hitchhikers did to his clutch. – Frankie Boyle

Do not take life too seriously. You will never get out alive. – Elbert Hubbard

Everything in life that’s any fun, as somebody wisely observed, is either immoral, illegal or fattening. – P G Wodehouse

Half of the American people have never read a newspaper. Half never voted for President. One hopes it is the same half. – Gore Vidal

He is a sane man who can have tragedy in his heart and comedy in his head. – G K Chesterton


Paul Chowdhry

As usual there is much going on in the world. Trump continues to use his daily tweets to change the political weather, whether we like it or not, as his self-made Russian noose continues to tighten around his neck. Killings still continue in Pakistan, this time in a Peshawar university. A McDonald’s branch apparently refused to serve a woman because she was wearing a hijab. A teacher reported a six year old Muslim with Down’s for terrorism. An Afghan girls’ robotics team won a top European competition. Despite my earlier commentary on princesses, the world seems mesmerized by a new mixed-race American princess who is willing to marry an all-white ginger-haired prince (I guess opposites do attract). Anything else I can think of? Oh yes, how can I forget? Now, well into the 21st century, in Libya we have open slave markets, with Muslims buying and selling Muslims. Keep on rocking in the free world.

And through all this and everything else happening in the big wide world, I am trying my darnedest to make sense of it all. Therefore at times like this I listen to what others have to say. Their opinions and analysis help me to better understand the complexities of the news. In that light, please find below some selected videos you hopefully will find interesting.

First up we have the brilliant American author Ta-Nehisi Coates, who grew in popularity writing articles about Trump and racism in the States for the Atlantic Monthly. During a recent event where he was promoting his book We Were Eight Years In Power: An American Tragedy, he humorously explains why certain words, specifically the n-word, belong only to certain people.

Then we have comedian Paul Chowdhry, supporting a rather fetching beard on The Russell Howard Hour, giving us some of his thoughts on ISIS and terrorism. The video following this is also about terrorism, cleverly showing how things are not what they seem, and how easy it is to mix up the good guy and the bad guy. And last but by no means first we have another comedian, Hasan Minhaj, appearing on the Daily Show with Trevor Noah, giving his views on the recent retweeting by Trump of Britain First.

As always transcripts of my favourite bits are presented. Enjoy!

Ta-Nehisi Coates

Words do not have meaning without context. My wife refers to me as “honey.” That is accepted and okay between us. If we were walking down the street together and a strange woman referred to me as “honey” that would not be acceptable. The understanding is that I have some sort of relationship with my wife. Hopefully I have no relationship with this strange woman.

When I was young and I used to go see my family in Philadelphia, where my dad was from, they would all call him Billy. His name was William Paul Coates. No one in Baltimore, however, called him Billy, and had I referred to my father as Billy that probably would have been a problem. That is because the relationship between myself and my dad is not the same as the relationship between my dad and his mother and his sisters who he grew up with. We understand that. It is the same thing with words within the African-American community, or within any community.

My wife, with her girlfriends, will use the word “bitch.” I do not join in. I do not say “Hey, I want to join in…” I do not do that. And perhaps more importantly I do not have a desire to do that.

A while ago Dan Savage, who is openly gay, was going to have a show that he was going to call “Hey, Faggot!” I am not going to yell “faggot” in Dan’s house, I am just not, that is not my relationship with the LGBTQ community, and I understand that and I am okay with that. I do not have a desire to yell out the word “faggot,” I just do not have that.

The question one must ask is, if that is accepted and normal for groups of people to use certain words that are derogatory in an ironic fashion, why is there so much hand-wringing when black people do it? Black people are basically, however you feel about it, not outside of the normal rules and laws for humanity.

I had a good friend and we used to have this cabin in upstate New York which he referred to as “the white trash cabin.” He was white. I would never refer to that cabin in that way, I would never tell him “I am coming to your white trash cabin.” I just would not do that. And I think you understand why I would not do that.

The question one must therefore ask is, why are so many white people having difficulty extending things that are basic laws of how human beings interact to black people? And I think I know why. When you are white in this country you are taught that everything belongs to you. You think you have a right to everything, you have a right to go where you want. You are conditioned this way. It is not because your hair is not textured or your skin is light. It is the fact that the laws and the culture tell you this. You have a right to go where you want to go, do what you want to do, be however you want to be, and other people, non-white people, have just got to accommodate themselves to you. So here comes this word that you feel like you invented and then I, a black person, will tell you how to use the word that you invented!

“Why can’t I use it? Everyone else gets to use it. That is racism that I do not get to use it. That is racist against me. I have to inconvenience myself and hear this hip-hop song, with this word in it, and I can’t sing along? How come I can’t sing along?”

I think for white people the experience of being a hip-hop fan and not being able to use the word “nigger” is actually very, very insightful. It will give you just a little peek into the world of what it means to be black, because to be black is to walk through the world and watch people doing things that you cannot do, that you cannot join in and do. And so I think there is actually a lot to be learned from refraining. – adapted from a speech made by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Paul Chowdhry

As-salaam-alaikum my brothers and sisters. Welcome to the conversion…Just grew a beard…I’ve got that kind of straight-out-of-Syria look. I’ve got that one-way-ticket look. – Paul Chowdhry

ISIS claim everything now. “We did it.” No you didn’t. “George Michael? We did it. Harambe? We did it.” What? You killed a gorilla in America a year ago?…Do you remember that Harambe incident? The kid dropped in and people were like “Oh my God! They shouldn’t have shot the gorilla, they should have shot the parents.”  That’s a good idea, innit. Let’s shoot the parents. Now the kid has got two dead parents, and he’s living with a fucking gorilla. – Paul Chowdhry

Doesn’t help with my look either…I can’t even get into America anymore…Last time I tried to get into America I went with my mate Dave and I said to Dave “How are we gonna get in?” And Dave said “Just say what I do for a living, we’ll both get in.” “Alright mate.” “Just copy me and we’ll both get in.” Then Dave gets to the desk and they go “So what do you do for a living?” Dave goes “I work in recruitment…” – Paul Chowdhry

Are Muslims Terrorists?

Hasan Minhaj

Trump does have some very specific fears. For example, he’s totally arachnophobic. But of Muslims. – Trevor Noah

[Referring to deputy leader of Britain First Jayda Fransen] One question maam, if you are so proud of being white then why do you use all that fake tan? – Trevor Noah

Here’s what pisses me off, these random videos are either totally out of context or straight-up false. This fringe British group wants people to think brown boogeymen are coming to kill them. They recently shared a viral photo of ISIS fighters but it wasn’t ISIS. It was Ice Cube. You idiots! You’re mixing up your ices. It’s ridiculous…The point is the president is retweeting false videos to stoke up Islamophobia. – Hasan Minhaj

Here’s my thing. Trump doesn’t need to send out these fake stories about Muslims. If Trump needs incriminating video of Muslims, ask Muslims! Ask me. I got plenty of dirt on my phone. Show my dad returning used underwear at Costco. Show my mom telling my aunt were ten minutes away when we haven’t left the house yet. Show my cousin lying to his parents about having a white girlfriend over Thanksgiving. Now that’s a viral video and that’s real Sahil. I shouldn’t have said his name, I’m sorry. I fucked up. I shouldn’t have said his name. – Hasan Minhaj