Mo Amer (‘Mo’): ‘Comedy is a great platform to discuss very serious topics while also laughing at them at the same time’ [Exclusive Video Interview]

“Comedy is a great platform to discuss very serious topics while also laughing at them at the same time,” declares comedian, actor, writer and producer Mo Amer about finding the funny in any situation on his new Netflix comedy series “Mo.” For our recent webchat he adds, “I joke about anything that I feel that I am knowledgeable about and that’s important to me. I come from a place of knowledge first and then bring it out, versus just talking about it because it’s what’s in the zeitgeist. It’s not what I do, and I’m very personal with everything I do. If you see the first two specials and the series, you can tell it’s really grounded and stuff that I know and am knowledgeable about.” Watch our exclusive video interview above.

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Amer co-created “Mo” with fellow comedian Ramy Youssef, loosely basing the series on Amer’s life as a Palestinian immigrant living in Houston, Texas. It follows the Najjar family, undocumented refugees from Palestine living in Houston. Without papers, Mo Najjar (Amer) is always hustling with creative ways to make a dollar, avoiding the specter of deportation, particularly because like many Palestinians, he remains stateless. As his character declares on the show, “I’ve never been to Palestine. I don’t have citizenship there; I don’t have citizenship here. I’m like a refugee free agent!”

“Mo” is about a man of Middle-Eastern descent, but is also about so many other themes that are universal. Despite there being more Arabic representation on-screen, Amer agrees that we still have a way to go before “representation” is the norm rather than the exception, which means it’s still a talking point to some extent. He confides that “it’s so frustrating. I’m waiting for it,” he admits. “I don’t know when we’re going to get there, I hope sooner than later. I mean, I just played a guy named Pete in a movie. So, it took me about 25 years to get there right? It was always like, ‘hey, want [to play] this terrorist? You want this terrorist role A, B or C?’ I want to keep touring, doing stand up and keep writing this series and movies that I have in my back pocket and whenever the world is ready, they’ll see it.”

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