American Muslim Comedians Use of Humour as a Persuasive Agent to Counter Islamophobia


  • Maryam Mansoor
  • Waseem Ishaque National University of Modern Languages, Islamabad
  • Mudassir Mukhtar National University of Modern Languages, Islamabad



Keywords: Islamophobia, standup comedy, humour, discourses, techniques, functions, countering.


This paper aims to explore the humour discourses of American Muslim standup comedians in response to Islamophobia in the post 9/11 era. There has been extensive research on how American Muslim standup comedy evolved through time, audience perception about Muslim standup comedians and the link between Muslim standup comedy and Islamophobia. For this purpose, three American Muslim standup comedians are selected through purposive sampling; Maz Jobrani, Hasan Minhaj and Muhammad Amer. Discourse analysis is conducted for selected comedians' Grand Netflix videos to study their humour discourses. This research adopts ‘Mikhail Bakhtin’s theory of Carnivalesque’ as a theoretical framework to answer the research question. The findings suggest that comedians employed the incongruous humour function the most, then relief function and rarely employed the superiority function of humour in their standup discourses to counter the subjugation and discrimination Muslims have to suffer in western societies. Muslim comedians are successful in countering Islamophobia through humour but are unable to overthrow it from American culture. Nonetheless, the efforts of American Muslim comedians in highlighting and countering Islamophobia through humour discourses cannot be neglected.