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Mohammed Amer: Arab American Heritage Month and Recognizing Immigrants and Refugees

By April 8, 2024April 9th, 2024No Comments

In honor of Arab American Heritage Month, we continue to recognize the economic, cultural, political, and social contributions of notable immigrants and refugees who’ve helped shape America’s vibrant tapestry. Today, we spotlight Palestinian-American stand-up comedian Mohammed Amer.

Amer’s unique perspective, shaped by his cultural background, has earned him widespread recognition, including mainstream media appearances and a Netflix comedy special.

In 1981, Mohammed Amer was born in Kuwait. The youngest of six children born to Palestinian parents, he attended a British school and learned English early. At nine, Amer and most of his family fled Kuwait during the Gulf War and moved to the U.S., settling in Houston, Texas. Amer’s father joined the family two years later but suffered a fatal heart attack soon after his arrival.

While his family pushed him to pursue education, Mohammed was determined to become a comedian. His struggles in the classroom led to a deal with his high school English teacher. She promised to raise his grades if he performed a Shakespearean monologue in front of the class. She also allowed him to try his hand at comedy in front of the class every Friday.

After graduating, Amer immediately threw himself into his passion, hitting Houston’s comedy club scene as often as possible to refine his act. In the last twenty years, he’s performed in 40 countries. Amer’s comedic style is deeply rooted in his personal experiences, particularly his journey as an immigrant. He often delves into the culture shock and feelings of isolation that accompany moving to a new country – universal themes that resonate with many immigrants.

Despite his ability to turn complex life problems into positive messages and comedic inspiration, Mohammed speaks candidly about the complicated immigration process in the U.S. and the challenges that folks navigating the system experience.

Mohammed Amer gained his U.S. Citizenship in 2009. He has appeared on various television and radio shows, including NPR, BBC, CNN, and Comedy Central’s The Daily Show. He has performed multiple Netflix comedy specials, including his stand-up special The Vagabond and the television series MO, which is loosely based on his anecdotal experiences as a Palestinian refugee living in Houston, Texas. He has also appeared in movies, including Black Adam and Americanish.

Others we are celebrating in honor of Arab American Heritage Month: