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Thursday, July 24, 2008

So what did you do this weekend?

Bismillah ar-Rahmaan ar-Raheem,

What did you do this weekend? Umm....

Caught red-eye to New York at 10pm
Hard falling asleep on the plane when your battling for the middle divider with the person next to you and your head is bobbing back & forth like a bobble head while you attempt to sleep sitting up. Note: Those life preserver neck cushions they sell at their airports don't really make it much easier to fall asleep

Arrived at 6am
Couldn't find private place to pray fajr so I prayed @ Airport Terminal. For a few minutes I became "that guy" at the airport. "Hey is 'that guy' on our plane?" No, I'm not so stop freaking out.

Checked in hotel and caught up on sleep
Got knocked out!

Got call from Belal (my ride) and he offered to pick me up some NY Pizza
I've heard about NY Pizza but have never tried it. Actually, I've had pizza in LA called "NY Pizza" but that doesn't really count.

Arrive at Venue at went to dressing room
Not much to do in a dressing room since I'm already dressed

Walked to Green Room
Find everyone munching away. The green room is where all the food and snacks is. Plenty of sandwiches, chocolates, and performers.

Check out stage and seating
Found Zain Bhikha rehearsing (down to earth bro) and noticed how different it looks when entertainers are performing in casual clothes vs their stage clothes. Noticed venue and stage looked professional.

Figured it would be a good idea to blog this experience so I went back to dressing room to pick up camera and quickly recorded this:

Figured I didn't record enough so I press the recorded button and again:

Had Discussions with volunteer staff about Islam, Comedy, & Filmmaking in Green Room

1hr Before Showtime and I'm not sure what to talk about on stage

30min Before Showtime and I'm still not sure

15min Before Showtime and I notice that the audience is barely trickling in

Plenty of tickets were sold but many Muslims are on Muslim Standard Time. If you've ever been to a Middle Eastern wedding, you know what I'm talking about.

Show starts and I talk about Muslim Standard Time - Audience Laughs

Performed Standup for about 30 minutes - Great Crowd

Left Stage and went back to the Green Room

This time I brought one of the board games I recently invented and I played it with the volunteer staff. It was a lot of fun.

Show ends - Met and took pictures with audience
Belal, who is a talented director and runs Leechon Films, filmed hours of this backstage experience.

Venue closes - Everyone is in parking lot trying to arrange rides back to Hotel

At this point, I haven't slept well but Belal made a good pitch on not sleeping and driving to NJ to have the late-late dinner

Arrived at Hotel - Changed Clothes - Told Daud (Tour Manager) that we're leaving (so he doesn't think I disappeared in the middle of the night). Belal convinces him to come to (they didn't even know each other's name but hey..its a crazy night)
Now there is three people traveling to another state just to get a bite to eat. Yeah but there are plenty of places to eat in NY right? Yeah, but (a) I'm not from here so I can't tell where I can get a bite to eat and where I can get shot (b) I don't have car and Belal does (c) I'm going to be blogging this so it sounds like an adventure especially since we have to be back by 4am so we can catch our flight

Belal drives (like someone who just got finishing watching the fast and the furious) and nobody dares to close their eyes (except for the turns) I think I said the words "Watch out!" a few times

Arrived in Jersey. Ate. Left.

Belal drove again (like a police officer chasing bad guys but there are no bad guys)

Arrived at Hotel at 4:45. Pray Fajr. Take Shower. Leave 10 minutes later to Airport for next show (note: no sleep yet)

Arrive at airport - Can't check in online since the brown man is the new black man Prayed Fajr Jammat at Airport (nobody freaked out)

Slept like a baby from New York to Dallas on plane

Checked in at Hotel in Dallas and then went to next Venue

Workout in Hotel gym with Shahob from 786
Talk about social issues impacting the Ummah while lifting weights.

Took shower and left for venue - Went to green room to found 786 singing there
Not sure why it called the green room. There is just food there (plus a bunch of brothers singing)

Performed again and the audience was once again great. Had lots of fun on stage

Met audience - Took pics with audience - Went back to Hotel and slept at about midnight

Woke up 3:50 to catch shuttle back to airport. Arrived at 7:40am. Left for work.

Unlike most of my co-workers, I usually have an interesting experience during the weekend.

Ali: So how was your weekend?

Bob: Not bad. Took the dog for a walk and watched batman. What did you do?

Ali: Flew to NY, drove to NJ, and then flew to Dallas. Met some interesting people. Made some people laugh. Flew back this morning and drove to work. Other than that....nothing much.
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At July 24, 2008 5:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Salaam!!! Me and my family were there at your show in NYC. My little brothers love you so much and they wanted to see you but we didnt:( Please keep us updated when you come back to NYC!!!! It was a great show although you should have had longer stage time :D You were great!!!!!!!!!

At July 24, 2008 6:14 PM, Blogger AlBaraa said...

My driving wasn't THAT rash on the way back...was it?

At July 24, 2008 10:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I loved this post...

We love the details...keep us posted....

ppl live your experiences thru your eyes and words.

Keep em coming

At July 25, 2008 12:32 AM, Blogger Baba Ali said...

you drive fast but ur in control. JazakAllah khair for everthing

At July 25, 2008 5:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Salaam Ahlykoem,

I wish I could see you on stage!! But it's alsow nice reading about it on your blog :-)

At July 25, 2008 11:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Assalamulaikum!this is my favourite blog.. i felt as if i was there after watching the videos!...keep up the good work...look forward inshAllah to the next video...take some time to chill out...don't work too hard!
Allah hafiz

At July 25, 2008 12:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Muslim Standard Time, that's just GREAT. xD And I'm Saudi, I definitely know what you mean (perpetrator here).

Love the empty stage pictures, a real riot.

Wa 'alaikum asallam wa rahmatulLahi wa barakatuh

At July 26, 2008 4:32 AM, Blogger Salam Husam said...

Nice post bro !
May Allah bless you :)

At July 27, 2008 6:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

nasty shower man!

At July 27, 2008 11:57 AM, Blogger Atif.M.Khan said...


I'm 23 yrs old and like many other muslims out there I too was lost. Its been hardly a year now that my life has taken the 'right' turn.
So inspired by ur videos & Blogs I decided to put my experience in a Blog on how I had the wrong perception that I was a "practicing"-muslim, in an effort to give Dawaat to all those muslims out there who can relate to my life and realise/think/reflect. Below is the link to my Blog titled: "Islam-My life takes a critical and important turn!"
I request you and all the people that read to comment on it too and help me spread the message.Inshallah!
Link to Blog: khan27.blogspot.com

May Allah guide us all to reality!Ameen!
Jazakallah brother ali and Allah karam & thank u in advance too!

At July 28, 2008 4:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

SAlam! Awesoem bro! u r dooign a great job! I had seen your videos , the startign ones! AND now mashallah ..u r on stage! Co0o0l..! i m too called Ali! :D

MAy allah grant u highest peek of success in life!


At July 31, 2008 1:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At August 01, 2008 5:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

lol hehehehehe!

At August 01, 2008 9:14 AM, Blogger aneebaba said...

Salam Bro Ali, that was hilarious . .I think we all know about Muslim standard time! thanks for keeping us up to date. Hope you get some more sleep soon! Take care,

At August 02, 2008 4:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

im 8 years old and my brother told me that music is haraam and i heard music on your website and you shudent put that on becos allah get angry and he dosent liyke it so culd yuo tayke it offf pleasese

At August 10, 2008 7:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Muslim Standard Time--very true!
As a convert I can tell you that to be certain of getting a seat at Easter Mass, you must show up an hour early while to be certain of getting a seat at Jummah, just show up on time!

But its not just Muslims...
My Mexican buddy told me we had been invited to a 4pm dinner party at his friends house. It was 6pm when he said, let's go--and we were first! Sometimes it's ok to show up the next DAY!

At August 20, 2008 3:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

looooooool that was funny


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