Comedian Aamer Rahman, nominally 50 per cent of the confrontational, controversial comedy duo, Fear Of A Brown Planet is in a good mood. The Bangladeshi-Australian funnyman has just learned that one of his heroes, Dave Chappelle, has announced an Australian tour.
It makes sense that Rahman cites Chappelle as an influence; like the African American comic, Rahman and his partner, Nazeem Hussain, have made their names talking about race in an intelligent, abrasive and downright hilarious manner, and their new show promises more in that vein.
“It’s basically the show that we’ve been touring around over the last year,” he tells us. “Which is the first Fear Of A Brown Planet show we’ve done in a while. We came back together after quite a long time apart doing solo stuff.”
At first taste, Rahman’s material seems to be completely without boundaries – in one infamous routine he compares Indigenous Australians performing at Australia Day celebrations to Jews dancing on Hitler’s birthday – but he admits that he does have a censor, albeit an external one.
“I definitely run everything I do past my sister,” he says. “And there have been plenty of times when she’s said, ‘Why are you doing this? This is not funny.’ I mean, every comedian has stuff that they think is hilarious that is actually not funny. At the end of the day, you don’t decide what’s funny – the audience decides what’s funny. But I’ve never done anything on stage that I’ve regretted later, like crossed some huge line or anything. We know our audience pretty well and I’ve never made that kind of big mistake.
“I was actually thinking about this the other day,” he continues. “I think male comics have this obsession with rape jokes, you know? There’s this kind of idea that comedians should be able to talk about anything – well, not really! I don’t know who made that rule up, you know what I mean? The idea that comedians are some exceptional class of people that are somehow not bound by the rules that affect everyone else. Probably comedians, actually – probably comedians are the ones who came up with that. Well, not everything’s funny, you know what I mean? I think that the more unacceptable or the more upset people become about things, it just becomes like a red flag for comedians – ‘Well, I should be able to talk about that if I want! I bet I’m smart enough to come up with a joke that’s not going to offend people.’ There’s like a million and one things in the world you can talk about; you don’t have to keep going back to these sort of topics, yeah?”
Fear Of A Brown Planet, aka Aamer Rahman and Nazeem Hussain, perform as part of Fringe world at Teatro in the Perth Cultural Centre on Saturday, February 1 and Sunday, February, 2. For tickets and further information, head here.