"AZHAR iS UNTOUCHABLE.
HE'S LIKE A COMEDIAN FROM THE FUTURE."
Azhar is a standup comedian, actor, writer, playwright, and producer. He is one of Chicago's top standup comics; 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 is untouchable. He's like a comedian from the future." He is a paid regular at the prestigious Comedy Cellar in New York City, and hosts a monthly standup show at his home club, Laugh Factory Chicago. As the co-founder of the international comedy showcase "Allah Made Me Funny–The Official Muslim Comedy Tour," he 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, BBC, The Guardian, NPR, Al-Jazeera, and Fox News. Azhar guest stars in Amazon Studios' new big-budget, original series Patriot (created and written by Steve Conrad), and has appeared regularly on television and film. He served as a comedy writer for Hasan Minhaj's speech at the 2017 White House Correspondents Dinner. Additionally, Azhar contributed comedy material that appeared in the following Netflix original standup specials: Hannibal Buress' 'Comedy Camisado' (credited as Creative Consultant), Hasan Minhaj's 'Homecoming King' (credited as Creative Consultant), and Dave Chappelle's 'Age of Spin' (Uncredited). In the Spring of 2017, he appeared on Pete Holmes' popular podcast "You Made It Weird," where he announced that he is in development on his first ever one-hour standup special (with Hannibal Buress attached as executive producer and Ramy Youssef directing).
Described as “Americaʼs Funniest Muslim” by CNN, Azhar 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 is untouchable. He's like a comedian from the future.” 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. Today, Azhar is a paid regular at the prestigious Comedy Cellar in New York City and hosts a monthly standup showcase at his home club, Laugh Factory Chicago.
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 digital platform, F-Comedy; wrote jokes for Hasan Minhaj's 2017 White House Correspondents Dinner speech as well as his Netflix special 'Homecoming King'; and can be seen playing a recurring role in Amazon Studios' big-budget original series Patriot (created, written, and directed by Steve Conrad), now filming its second season.
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 (with longtime creative partner Mo Amer), an independent production company focused on entertainment content production across all existing and emerging digital platforms. The Company’s first production was “MO AMER: LEGALLY HOMELESS,” the first ever, one-hour standup special starring an Arab-American comedian (directed by Jay Chapman in 2015). In the Spring of 2017, he appeared on Pete Holmes' popular podcast "You Made It Weird," where he announced that he will record his first ever one-hour standup special later this year (with Hannibal Buress attached as executive producer and Ramy Youssef directing).