Aasif Mandvi’s ‘Halal in the Family’ uses laughter to shatter stereotypes

‘Halal in the Family’ is unlike anything else out there. Except the laugh track, the loud 80’s sweater, and the upbeat hokey intro music make it all feel very familiar. Which is exactly the point.

Like any good sitcom, the jokes are couched in an established cultural understanding of the norm, but in this punchy four part series, it’s all about addressing our understanding of what normal is.

Aasif Mandvi, the Daily Show’s ‘Muslim correspondent’ is the creative face of the project, and a quick visit to the show’s website is a clear indicator of his intent: address negative stereotypes of Muslims in America through comedy. His partnerships with various social, educational, and legal organizations is a tribute to his commitment to the message. And his over the top characterization of ‘an ordinary American family’ coping with the Islamaphobia directed at them is excellent fodder for serious laughter and comical consideration.

As a comedian and performer walking the line of what’s appropriate when it comes to pushing the Muslim angle, I appreciate the overtness of the show’s jokes. Normalizing Muslims in the American psyche is a challenge I’ve taken on in my own comedic web-series, Shugs & Fats, albeit through a very different lens.

For some pretty hilarious un-PC jokes about terrorist training camps, watch this episode about the best Halloween haunted house idea. Ever.


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