On March 10, 2007, the country was introduced to the Axis of Evil. No, not the one identified by former President George W. Bush. I'm talking about the comedy trio of Maz Jobrani, Ahmed Ahmed, and Aron Kader (with special guests Dean Obeidallah, Wan Ho Chung, and Nick Youssef), who made their debut on Comedy Central with a side-splitting special that showcased their particular brand of self-deprecating Middle Eastern and Muslim humor. (And yes, they took their name from Bush's 2002 State of the Union address.) The comedic trio, which started touring in 2005, have been making people laugh all around the world. But their Hollywood roots go much deeper.
All three have had roles in TV and film, from Egyptian-born Ahmed appearing on "Executive Decision," "JAG," and as a featured comedian on the PBS special, "STAND UP: Muslim Comics Come of Age," to Iranian-born Jobrani, the breakout actor of the group who has appeared in "The Interpreter," "Friday After Next" and "Dragonfly" to Kader, who was raised in Washington, D.C. and trained in sketch comedy at The Groundlings theater in Los Angeles. (Kader wrote on his website that he "would like to thank his Palestinian father and Mormon mother for giving him so many reasons to be a comedian.") Jobrani and other members of the Axis have spoken out against the stereotypical terrorist or "7-Eleven store owner" roles open to them. Jobrani once refused a plum role of a terrorist mastermind on "24," saying the show was "bad for him and for America." Minorities need image rehabilitation, Jobrani said in an article on Newsweek.com and Washingtonpost.com. Though these comedians milk their culture and faith for huge laughs, they take their character choices very seriously.