Saadia Khan and Atheer Yacoub Use Comedy as a Tool for Change on “Immigrantly”

In “Immigrantly’s” most recent episode, Khan sits down with Yacoub to discuss the many ways humor can be used as a tool for change. Over the course of the podcast, the two cover topics such as the responsibility of comedians like Yacoub to avoid reinforcing stereotypes.

Saadia Khan and Atheer Yacoub Use Comedy as a Tool for Change on “Immigrantly”
Saadia Khan (left) and Atheer Yacoub (right) discuss Palestinian comedy and identity on the latest episode of "Immigrantly."

The most recent episode of Saadia Khan’s podcast “Immigrantly” provides insight into the complexities of Palestinian identity in the current political climate. Joined by the New York-based Palestinian Muslim comedian Atheer Yacoub, Khan explores how humor can be used for sociopolitical change.

The “Immigrantly” podcast, formerly known as “The Alien Chronicles,” is a weekly, independent podcast led by women of color. Its mission is to break down stereotypical narratives surrounding immigrants, their second-generation offspring, people of color and change-makers. Through cross-cultural and nuanced conversations, each episode offers fresh perspectives on the issues at hand.

In “Immigrantly’s” most recent episode — “Denied Entry: Navigating Identity with Atheer Yacoub” — Khan sits down with Yacoub as they discuss the many ways humor can be used as a tool for change. Over the course of the podcast, the two cover topics such as the responsibility of comedians like Yacoub to avoid reinforcing stereotypes, especially around immigrants and cultural norms. Yacoub explains her approach of using irony and satire to highlight the absurdity of stereotypes and challenge societal norms. She provides examples of jokes that subvert stereotypes, such as addressing assumptions about Arabs in the South and challenging gender roles within her own family.

The podcast explores the burdens placed on Muslims and the constant need to denounce actions done by a few individuals. Khan and Yacoub discuss the narrative shift needed to avoid perpetuating negative stereotypes, acknowledging the exhaustion and mental toll it takes on individuals in the Muslim community.

Perhaps most pertinently, Khan and Yacoub’s conversation delves into the recent events in Palestine, with Yacoub highlighting the importance of centering the narrative on shared suffering rather than allowing it to be defined by others. The two discuss the complexities of the Israel-Palestine conflict, the need to challenge oppressive ideologies, and the burden placed on Palestinians to constantly assert their humanity.

Atheer Yacoub is a New York-based Palestinian Muslim comedian, writer, and podcaster. Through her unique lens, she explores the complexities of her upbringing, Palestinian identity and gender roles. Her debut comedy album, "Denied Entry," offers a compelling glimpse into her experiences and is available on all streaming platforms. Co-creator of "Muslim Girls DTF: Discuss Their Faith" and co-host of "The No Fly List" podcast, Yacoub navigates meaningful conversations by blending humor and insight. In these challenging political times, her perspective shines brightly, providing much-needed reflection.

Saadia Khan is a Pakistani American immigrant, human rights activist and social entrepreneur. She holds an MBA and a Master’s in Human Rights Studies from Columbia University and has worked with UN Women at a small civil society organization focused on women’s rights. She writes for publications, including the Brown Girl Magazine,  Yes! Magazine, Medium and the Globe Post. Khan is founder, producer and host of “Immigrantly.”

You can listen to Khan and Yacoub’s full conversation on "Immigrantly" below or wherever you listen to podcasts.

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