Looking Back at the “Funny Yet Complex Realities” of “Man Like Mobeen”

The show follows the life of Mobeen, a reformed former drug dealer trying to lead a more respectable life while protecting his younger sister from making the mistakes he did. However, Mobeen's past continues to haunt him, and he often finds himself in situations that are both comical and dangerous.

Guz Khan as the titular Mobeen stares straight into the camera (and your soul)
"Man Like Mobeen" is known for addressing social issues while offering cultural representation and a unique flair for comedic style.

"Man Like Mobeen" (2017 – ) is a British television comedy-drama series created by and starring Guz Khan. The show originally premiered in 2017 and has garnered acclaim for its unique blend of humor and social commentary. It gained popularity for its portrayal of a British Pakistani Muslim trying to balance his faith, family and friendships in a post-9/11 world.

“Man Like Mobeen” follows the life of the titular Mobeen, a young British Pakistani man living in Small Heath, Birmingham in England. Mobeen is a reformed former drug dealer trying to lead a more respectable life as a Muslim while protecting his younger sister Aqsa from making the same mistakes he did. However, his past continues to haunt him, and he often finds himself caught up in various comical and sometimes dangerous situations.

The show combines dark humor, witty one-liners and physical comedy to create its unique comedic style. It’s evident that Khan, who plays Mobeen and is known for his stand-up comedy, has his comedic fingerprints all over the show. Indeed, Mobeen as a character began as a stand-up character of sorts. Khan was working as a humanities teacher when he began making YouTube videos in character as Mobeen, who at that time was an opinionated care worker raising his sister. Several of Khan’s Mobeen videos went viral for openly pushing boundaries, such as Fox News's implying that Khan’s hometown of Birmingham was not suitable for non-Muslims, or another calling for a boycott of “Jurassic World” due to its slang term for a dinosaur sounding similar to a racial slur for people of Pakistani descent. The production company Baby Cow created a pilot for BBC based on Khan's YouTube videos and made a pilot for BBC, and the rest is history.

Before "Man Like Mobeen" existed in its current form, Khan as Mobeen would put small, quippy videos on YouTube while portraying the character.

Accordingly, “Man Like Mobeen”is known for pushing boundaries and not being afraid to address contemporary issues facing British Muslims. These issues include Islamophobia, radicalization and the challenges of being a young person from an ethnic minority background in the U.K. The show accomplishes its goals through humor and satire, offering viewers a fresh perspective on these complex topics.

Each episode of “Man Like Mobeen” is written by Khan and series co-creator Andy Milligan. In conversation with The Guardian, Khan said that he wanted the show to portray "the funny yet complex realities of life for young working class men and women in Britain today,” alongside an authentic account of Birmingham, which he feels "gets almost no positive representation in the media.” The show has been praised for its authentic portrayal of British Pakistani culture and for featuring a diverse cast of other characters of South Asian descent. “Man Like Mobeen” consistently offers a glimpse into the lives of characters who are often underrepresented in mainstream media.

The series has received critical acclaim. It won the Royal Television Society (RTS) Midlands Award for Best Comedy in 2020, and was nominated for both its production and its performances for the British Academy Television Awards (BAFTA).

While humor is a central element, "Man Like Mobeen" also delves into themes of family, loyalty, friendship, and the struggle for identity in a multicultural society.

The true success of “Man Like Mobeen” lies in its ability to tackle serious and timely issues while making viewers laugh. It provides a voice for underrepresented communities and offers a fresh perspective on contemporary British Muslim life. "Man Like Mobeen" has resonated with audiences and critics alike for its unique blend of comedy and social commentary.

"Man Like Mobeen" celebrated its fourth season this past summer.

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