Say hello to Ahemd Ahemd. No, Microsoft Word Spell Check, that’s not a repeated word; that’s really his name. Okay, Ahmed’s version of that joke – that there’s no echo in the room – is far funnier, but even my version exemplifies some of what you’ll see in Ahmed’s documentary Just Like Us. The film depicts Ahemd’s journey to Arab countries including Dubai, Lebanon, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, all of which the average American assumes is not only devoid of comedy, but doesn’t even have a desire for it. Well, surprise! Arabs do enjoy some stand-up comedy and the chance to have a good laugh, just like us.

While promoting Just Like Us at the Tribeca Film Festival, Ahmed sat down with me for a whopping 30 minutes. He’s packed with great anecdotes, interesting details, a few wisecracks and even some information on a new project he’s working on, so I simply couldn’t bear to cut any of the interview. I’ve divided the interview into two segments, the breakdowns of which you can see blow.

Clip 1
  • Growing up funny and the transition from acting to comedy.
  • Inspirations for the film.
  • Filming in the Middle East.
  • Assembling the comedians.
  • Omission of politics.
  • Being banned from Dubai.
  • Working Saudi Arabia where entertainment is banned.
  • Shooting in Egypt.
Clip 2
  • Little free time, always working.
  • Sorting through all the footage.
  • Plans for a follow-up documentary called Smile On Arabia.
  • Plans to continue Cross Cultural Entertainment projects.
  • Performing for difficult crowds.
  • Making the film appeal to a wide audience.
  • Wrapping the film in New York City.
  • Being part of the Tribeca Film Festival.
  • Hopes to secure international distribution.
  • New feature film idea, Google Me.

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