The BBC has launched a new pilot sketch show exploring life for Muslims in modern Britain.
“Muzlamic is a brand new pilot sketch show exploring life from the perspective of two Muslim comedians, or rather, two comedians who happen to be Muslim,” the BBC said on its website.
The show is available from July 22 on the digital-only BBC Three channel through the streaming service iPlayer.
The programme was created, written and performed by Instagram influencer Ali Shahalom and stand-up comedian Aatif Nawaz.
“We wanted to create a Muslim sketch show that was inclusive of our people, our experiences and our emotions, but presented in a way that hasn’t been seen before. We knew there’s an appetite at the moment for authenticity, there’s a need to be represented and I feel like more is being done to encourage and develop talent,” Shahalom said in an interview on the BBC’s website.
“We had no interest in creating a show that would only be applicable to one demographic. It’s nice when comedy can do something more than just making someone laugh. We want it to bridge gaps and help communities come together,” he added.
“There’s no character in the show that was a pure fabrication, we took inspiration from real people and real scenarios we’ve seen. There are bits of reality all over it - even in the silly sketches,” Nawaz said.
The show includes sketches such as two Muslims passing through British customs, a barber who gets embroiled in a turf war, officer workers who battle for who is the ‘Whitest Brown Guy’ in Stevenage and an actor auditioning to star in a fictional show called “Halal Goals - The Mo Salah Story”.
Early reviews so far have been mixed calling the show a ‘hit and miss’.
“White fragility, racial stereotyping and unconscious biases are all serious subjects ripe for laughs. In Muzlamic, the material is spot on, but the comedy tends to fall short,” The Guardian said in its review.
“The pair are at their best when mocking white folk, most notably in the office scenes in which the only two Asians in the company vie to see who can best fit in with their caucasian colleagues. ‘I’m so white’ could easily be a hashtag – a fact Internet star Shahalomis no doubt well aware – and there are lots of quick gags and observations about both cultures crammed into their exchanges,” the Chortle website said in its review.
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