Egyptian-American actor, comedian, producer, and director Ahmed Ahmed is one of the most diverse, multi-faceted talents in the entertainment industry today. Enjoy reading an exclusive interview with him, below.
1. How did you make up your mind at 19 that you wanted to pursue a career in the entertainment industry?
I always loved movies and tv shows as a child and dreamed of being in the big screen. My parents had other plans for me though and wanted me to be a doctor, lawyer or architect. Typical career choice for Arabs. At age 19 I moved to Hollywood against my parents will and began the journey.
2. Do you think the skill of making people laugh can be taught?
I don’t think you can teach funny. It’s a gift you are born with then you hone the craft in comedy clubs as you go. You have to fail several times at first until you find your voice and point of view.
3. In what ways did your experience on TV differ from the one on stage?
In TV you get to do take after take. You also read other people’s lines that you exchange with other actors and have a director, producer and editor. On stage you get one shot and you are the writer, director, producer and editor. It’s a one man show and a lot more risky.
4. Having received the ‘Best Director’ and ‘Best Documentary’ awards at the Tribeca Film Festival, what was the drive behind this documentary?
I wanted to show the world that Arabs and Muslims laugh “Just Like Us” in America. Hence the title of the documentary.
5. Do you think a cross-cultural dialogue is the world today? What would be its ultimate components?
Cross-Cultural dialogue is very important and can be achieved with food, music and especially laughter.
6. What is the best memory you can share about the Axis of Evil Comedy Tour?
My best memory of the Axis Of Evil Comedy Tour was performing 27 sold out shows in 30 days in Dubai, Egypt, Kuwait, Jordan and Lebanon for over 20,000 people. It was mind blowing!
7. You’re planning to release your first book, ‘Ahmedica.’ What is it about?
Ahmedica is an biographical book about my life and how I helped introduce American standup comedy to the Middle East.
8. What would your advice to stage performers be?
Write as much as possible and get on stage as much as possible. Once you have a act then you have to sell it. That’s why it’s called show “business”. So online presence is important when selling yourself.