By Zahra Huber

ANN ARBOR (WWJ) – With a name like Ahmed Ahmed, this Arab-American stand-up comedian was told he would never make it in the comedy world.

“It’s like a double-edged sword. It was recommended to change my name several times, and several years ago. And I just always thought it wasn’t who I was. I think if I would’ve changed my name to Roger Thomas or some sort of non-Arab, I probably would’ve worked a lot more. But I decided to stick to my guns and kept my name,” Ahmed told WWJ’s Zahra Huber.

And now Ahmed not only performs stand up around the globe, including in Ann Arbor this weekend, he’s also landed a spot on the new TBS show “Sullivan & Son,” which has just been picked up for a second season.

On stage, Ahmed talks about being single and turning 42. But he says a large part of his stand up revolves around his heritage.

“For me, because I’m from the Middle East and was raised Muslim, I kind of have to address the elephant in the room, or it looks like I’m avoiding it. So somewhere in my act, I definitely bring up the topic of my heritage, where I’m from, and my religious background, and I poke fun on that,” he said.

Ahmed says it was a relief to not play a role that involved the stereotypical Arab terrorist.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen any characters on television or on film that are Arabs, who are just playing a normal American Arab. It’s always a guy with an accent, or plotting against America, or you know, there’s never the really westernized, Americanized Arab on television,” he said.

Ahmed will perform at the Ann Arbor Comedy Showcase on Friday and Saturday. For tickets and more information, visit


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