'The most ruthless and cutting racial commentary you’ve heard'

Aamer Rahman's comedy favourites

 Bill Hicks:  Revelations

Long before hipsters wore mass-produced Bill Hicks T-shirts, he was revered as one of the greatest political voices in stand-up history.  It’s very hard to describe him without using clichés like ‘timeless,’ ‘legend’ or ‘visionary,’ so you should just watch this clip about America, Iraq and the military industrial complex - as relevant and cutting today as it was when he did it almost 20 years ago.   If you haven’t already, you should definitely read one of his biographies or watch American: The Bill Hicks Story.

Margaret Cho: Notorious C.H.O.

I actually watched Margaret Cho long before I ever heard a Bill Hicks bit. I came across her special Notorious C.H.O while channel-surfing one night, and spent the next hour just staring at the screen.  It was like watching somebody take the ‘ethnic comedy’ box and smash it to pieces with a sledgehammer.  Fearless, intelligent, and hilarious.

Dave Chappelle: Block Party

Chappelle has done some of my favourite stand-up of all time (a bit about how terrorists don’t take black hostages, among others), one of my favourite TV shows, as well as one of my favourite concert films – Dave Chappelle’s Block Party, which featured my Perfect Playlist of musicians - from The Roots, to Blackstar, to Dead Prez, The Fugees and Erykah Badu.  Not only a master comic and sketch artist, also an architect of a genuine piece of hip-hop history.

Paul Mooney: Analyzing White America

Paul Mooney started out as a circus ringmaster and eventually wrote for the legendary Richard Pryor.  Only Mooney can deliver some of the most ruthless and cutting racial commentary you’ve heard (people regularly walk out, even during his taped specials) while lounging back on a stool like it’s story time in kindergarden. 

Stephen Colbert roasts George W Bush at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner

This is one of my favourite moments ever.  Colbert wasn’t really a household name at the time, and even the audience seems confused as to whether or not they should be laughing, especially when he accuses them of being government lackeys.  I’m pretty sure somebody lost their job over this, and I’m also pretty sure you can see Laura Bush say ‘fu*k you’ to Colbert when he’s done.  George Bush looks pissed off, confused, uncomfortable and completely lost as he pretends to understand the jokes.

  • Aamer Rahman is half of Fear Of A Brown Planet, who are on a short tour of the UK from Sunday. Dates.

Published: 12 Sep 2012

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