"AZHAR USMAN IS UNTOUCHABLE.
HE'S LIKE A COMEDIAN FROM THE FUTURE."
~ DAVE CHAPPELLE
AZHAR USMAN is a Chicago-based standup comedian, actor, writer, playwright, and producer. He is one of the hottest standup comics in the city; CNN called him "America's Funniest Muslim," and Georgetown University identified him as "one of the 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World." In 2010, standup icon Dave Chappelle–for whom Azhar has opened over 50 times–commented "Azhar Usman is untouchable." As the co-founder of the international comedy showcase "Allah Made Me Funny–The Official Muslim Comedy Tour," he has toured over 20 countries, on five continents. His comedy has been profiled/reviewed by over 100 major world media outlets including The New York Times, The Economist, BBC, The Guardian, NPR, TIME Magazine, Al-Jazeera, USA Today, and Fox News. Besides appearing regularly on television, and in numerous documentary and independent films, he served as executive producer of Mo Amer's new one-hour standup special "Legally Homeless" (directed by Jay Chapman–expected release 2017), and most recently, served as a creative consultant on Hannibal Buress' 2016 Netflix comedy special, "Comedy Camisado." In 2017, Azhar can be seen playing a recurring role in Amazon Studios' big-budget original series PATRIOT (created, written, and directed by Steve Conrad).
Described as “Americaʼs Funniest Muslim” by CNN, AZHAR USMAN is among the “500 Most Influential Muslims in the World,” according to Georgetown University. Standup comedy icon Dave Chappelle–for whom Azhar has opened over 50 times–commented in 2010: “Azhar Usman is untouchable.” Azhar has been profiled by over 100 major media outlets, including The New York Times, The Guardian, Sydney Morning Herald, The Times of India, DAWN (Pakistan), Al-Ahram (Egypt), Jawa Pos (Indonesia), and The Economist. In 2005, ABC’s Nightline dedicated an entire episode to exploring his life and comedy career.
A former attorney, Azhar is a Chicago-based, professional standup comedian, performing at comedy clubs, theatres, festivals, campuses, conferences, conventions, and private events all over the globe. Since 2001, he has performed in over twenty countries, on five continents. He released his self-produced, underground comedy album “SQUARE THE CIRCLE” in 2003, which went on to gain a cult following among English-speaking Muslim communities worldwide.
Azhar appeared in numerous documentaries (BBC, CBC, ABC, Al-Jazeera, PBS), starred in the award-winning, independent feature film “MOOZ-LUM” (starring Danny Glover and Nia Long, directed by Qasim Basir), and portrayed original sketch characters both on television (MTV, E4) and online (Tinkuʼs World). In character as "Vijay the VJ," he served as a veejay for MTV Desi in 2005, interviewing such mega-celebrities as Snoop Dogg, Shakira, Hulk Hogan, Pitbull, Carmen Electra, and several others, at the MTV Video Music Awards. He served as a producer on critically acclaimed short films, including “THE BOUNDARY” (starring Alexander Siddig, directed by Julius Onah–sold to HBO); co-wrote and produced the standup comedy concert film “ALLAH MADE ME FUNNY: LIVE IN CONCERT” (directed by Andrea Kalin–limited 2008 theatrical release in the United States); recorded an appearance in "Triumph's Election Special 2016" for Hulu (produced by Funny or Die; executive produced by Conan O'Brien and Robert Smigel); served as creative consultant on Hannibal Buress' 2016 Netflix special "Comedy Camisado"; appeared in Bassem Youssef's 2016 comedy series "Democracy Handbook" on Fusion's new digital platform, F-Comedy; and can be seen playing a recurring role in Amazon Studios' big-budget original series PATRIOT (created, written, and directed by Steve Conrad) in 2017.
As a versatile media professional, Azhar is as comfortable in front of the camera as he is behind it, serving as writer, producer, and talent on diverse creative projects throughout his career. He is an executive producer and co-founding principal of KALIJAGA MEDIA LLC, a newly formed independent production company focused on entertainment content production across all existing and emerging digital platforms. The Company’s first major production is “MO AMER: LEGALLY HOMELESS,” the first ever, one-hour standup special starring an Arab-American comedian (directed by Jay Chapman–expected release 2016). He plans to tape his first one-hour, solo standup special in the Spring of 2017 in Chicago.