By: Lorelei Kenny
This weekend Beach Chair Lager is presenting the first annual Charlottetown Comedy Festival in partnership with Hubcap Comedy Festival. Comedians will be performing from February 16th-18th at both PEI Brewing Company and Florence Simmons Performance Hall. One act you do not want to miss is Ali Hassan’s (Host of Laugh Out Loud on CBC Radio) solo show Muslim Interrupted.
When Ali was a young lad he had aspirations of becoming a professional chef and hosting his own cooking show on television. Trying to gain experience in front of a live audience he started doing stand-up around his hometown of Montreal. Ali immediately fell in love with the comedy community and the entire process of writing and performing.
Ali stepped on his first stage ten years ago and he hasn’t looked back since. Ali is praised for his improvisational skills and interaction with his audience. Ali still pursues his passion for cooking to a certain extent but his main career focus is without a doubt to make people laugh.
Ali describes himself as a cultural Muslim in the sense that he does not practice Islam but still identifies with the Muslim community. Ali explains that “the term ‘Cultural Muslim’ describes me better than I could have ever imagined. It is difficult to impart this idea to my children because it took me 20 years to realize it myself.” Ali adds that “No one can tell you what your connection to faith is, it is a personal thing between you and your God.”
This is the first time Ali is touring a solo show; he has been flying across the country performing his show, and Charlottetown is his next stop. Ali will perform this Saturday at Florence Simmons Performance Hall.
Muslim Interrupted is a self-driven show where Ali explores many of his own life experiences and it is laid out as a kind of chronological story. Ali also addresses current events regarding Trump, America and the global Muslim community. The concept was born out of much self-reflection, the questions from his three children, and it is influenced by current events.
When he started incorporating these themes into his stage time he got a lot of encouragement from fellow comedians to expand his material on Muslim culture and Muslim experience. A show like Muslim Interrupted is important in today’s era where islamophobia is on the rise and the Muslim culture is being alienated.
Ali also highlights that in the end, we are all the same people. We are all human. We have similar desires and experiences; we may have a lot of differences, but we share more in common.
Ali says his number one goal remains always to entertain, but if what he discusses helps someone in the audience see something they hadn’t before or gain a new perspective then that’s great. However, his priority remains first and foremost to make people laugh! People are attending a comedy show not a lecture.
Want to attend the show? Here is what you need to know:
Where- Florence Simmons Performance Hall, Charlottetown, PEI
When- February 18, 7:00-9:00 pm
Price- Tickets $25 +HST
For more information on Ali’s show in Charlottetown www.standupali.com
Or you can also directly buy tickets via the festival’s Eventbrite page here