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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Understanding internationality through comedy

Comedian+Azhar+Usman%26%23160%3Bopens+the+show+Made+in+America.%26%23160%3B
Photo by Photo by Brandon Holmes

Comedian Azhar Usman opens the show Made in America. 

Interwoven with comedic relief, international awareness ensued at Texas A&M with the talents of international comedians.
Texas A&M welcomed Azhar Usman, Mo Amer and Hasan Minhaj during MSC L.T. Jordan Institute for International Awareness’s newest program, Made in America: an International Experience. On March 27 in Rudder Auditorium, the three popular comedians performed sets and connected with the audience via a Q&A session.
The MSC L.T. Jordan Institute consists of two parts: the MSC L.T. Jordan Committee and the Jordan Collection. The components enhance international awareness, tune personal skills and memorialize a collection in honor of the Jordan family, according to the institute’s website. Leland Thomas Jordan, Class of 1929, was involved in the Association of Former Students at A&M and a charter member of the Century Club. After his death, his wife gave A&M the institute which rears his appreciation of internationality. The MSC L.T. Jordan Institute partnered with MSC OPAS, International Student Association and the Muslim Student Association to arrange the program.
Hailey Wedlich, marketing senior, serves on the Jordan Committee. According to Wedlich, Made in America: An International Experience sought to provide attendees with perspective on the complexity of maturation as a first generation American.
“Azhar has performed at Texas A&M in spring of 2016,” Wedlich said. “Now, he’s back to open for Hasan Minhaj. In recent memory, there has not been a performer at Texas A&M with the stature of Minhaj. We are hoping that attendees learn about different cultural experiences, while enjoying a laugh or two along the way.”
Minhaj is a Senior Correspondent on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” and has a Netflix special, “Homecoming King.” Ashali Chimata, international studies junior, said she watched Minhaj’s special every day in the summer of 2017, and hoped the program addressed stereotypes around South Asians.
“Growing up Indian and American, it is great to see that [Minhaj] really encompasses all of the stuff you experience growing up,” Chimata said. “Other students should learn how it was growing up between two cultures. They should understand the experiences.”
Ashna Adhikari, economics senior, said due to the lack of events catered toward South Asian students, Minhaj’s performance provided a representation rarely seen on campus. Adhikari said seeing someone such as Minhaj, who has excelled far in his life, allows for a surplus of motivation.
“He’s incredibly, funny, witty and relatable,” Adhikari said. “It’s great also because he does target a lot of South Indian students and South Indian Americans. His ability to reach out and connect with people outside of his circle is really great. I hope that he’s able to be this role model for students who want a role model. It is encouraging for people who are still trying to find themselves, and find themselves in the area of comedy.”
During the sets and the Q&A session, all three comedians broached the topic of stigmas and stereotypes.
“I really empathize with anybody who is going through any sort of struggle based on their gender, sexuality, race,” Minhaj said. “One of things I realize more and more is that we’re all dealing with our own unique set of problems. So one thing I focus on is empathy; I try to come at every topic, when i’m interacting with people, and just try to understand where they are coming from.”
Minhaj said apprehension was absent when preparing to perform at A&M. According to Minhaj, A&M is a campus comprised of varying people, viewpoints and political affiliations; all of these factors allot space for an expansion of opinions.
“The audience was really receptive,” Minhaj said. “I think they had a really good time. When I prepare my new show, one thing I want to do is take it to universities. What’s great about colleges and universities is that they encourage ideas and a forum to state a unique perspective. I think colleges are a really great environment of both academics, politics and the youth culture, which is so many of the things I want to hit on.”

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  • Suprise comedian warms the crowd up for the next act. 

    Photo by Photo by Brandon Holmes
  • Main comedian Hasan Minhaj concludes the Made in America show. 

    Photo by Photo by Brandon Holmes
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