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The Funny and The Wise: All about Jeremy McLellan

He has figured out a way into the hearts of Muslims everywhere. Even more miraculous, he has made his place into the hearts of Pakistanis. That is not easy to do. He knows the difference between PMLN and TI (Pakistani Political Parties). That is something to be proud of. I joke, but we are a cautious people.

There has been a lot of buzz about him in the community. People couldn’t say enough good things about him. Every member of my family follows him. I mean EVER. MEMBER. OF. MY. FAMILY. I was the last to do so. Everyone was sharing his jokes, talking about how funny he was. Claiming that he is changing the face of comedy and taking it in a new direction. I’m always here for a good joke. I’m definitely here for someone who’s changing the discussion around us, and bringing folks together, but I remain wary. It’s easy to” discuss” however it’s really hard to actually “change”. What is different about him? Everyone talks about love all the good, hate all the bad. I hesitated, I limited myself to “liking” the few posts or comments that I read through others.

Jeremy has worked with non-profit organizations around the world to help people in need physically on the ground and raising money through his comedy.

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When we sat down to talk recently, McLellan said he worked as a caregiver, and a trainer for caregivers for people with disabilities before starting out as a comedian. Helping people is apparently a family trait. According Jeremy his brothers were in the same line of work. He started comedy as a hobby. When his comedic career started taking off, he started pursuing comedy full time. Only, he didn’t. He has his hands, and heart full of everything that matters, everything that is needed right now. Comedy is a very essential part of it.

“When I worked with people with disabilities, I had clients who were all different races and religions, including Muslim and Pakistani. I had lots of stories about my interactions with people with disabilities who were different than me. And when I started doing comedy about five years ago, I started talking about the stuff that I cared about which, for me, was religion and the differences between religion and sort of making fun of that but also trying to address it in a helpful way.  I think four years ago. It was right around the time that Trump started getting popular and the refugee crisis in Europe. The question of Islam and the West, I know that’s a false dichotomy, but that sort of thing kept coming up, and people were interested in hearing about it. So, when I was doing stand up and I was talking about this stuff, it all started going viral within the Muslim community. People started sharing all my stuff and then I got invited to some events for Muslims. In America, in the Muslim community word travels fast, so if you do an event and you do well, I guess they’re all in the same WhatsApp group or something – ”

We are, we really are.

Now, apparently it runs in the family, because according to Jeremy his brothers worked with people with disability as well. All I gotta say to that is; mom, and dad need to start teaching classes on HOW IS THIS EVEN DONE? Im serious, we need workshops, proper classes in schools, colleges, my house, on how to not divide the planet. Do we need to write a formal application? Let’s!

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BTW Jeremy has opinions about grand-parenting as well. His parents and parents-in-laws live just down the road from where he lives with his wife and daughter.  He thinks that grandparents make the best babysitters. “So, you can have a bunch of kids if you have grandparents [to watch them]. Instead we pay people to watch our kids and then we pay people to watch our parents. Why would you do that? Just have your parents watch your kids. Everybody is happier that way. We are very blessed to have a lot of support with our Jewell.”

What is this guy’s deal?

He’s an American-Christian stand-up comedian from Charleston, SC (thanks Wikipedia). He wants to, “Find a way for religious communities to live together in peace while disagreeing, and living out their faith in public,” as oppose to “everyone keeping their religion private.”

He also just started a podcast called ‘Holy Wars’.

The people that have been on his show so far are a Journalist for the New Zealand Mosque shooting, he is from Karachi and he writes for the intercept. They talked about the New Zealand shooter’s manifesto. He talks with his friend Sultan about his trip to Pakistan. In the third episode he interviews his friend Jibran who is a conservative Muslim Journalist, and writes for a conservative newspaper in The US They discuss Islam, liberalism and Christianity. In Jeremy’s opinion the podcast is talking to “anyone I’ve met who I find really interesting, and who I would love to hear more from”.

In his opinion, you can’t be a comedian, and not have empathy. That is a valid point. Their job is to get into people’s heads or their “world” to figure out what they would find entertaining.

He believes working with different kinds of people who see the world differently helped him. That gave him the ability to be able to connect with others on a different level. A lot of the people with special needs can’t tell you what they need so you have to figure it out through their body language or expressions. That’s a special kind of connection.“There are these moments sometimes when these clients that are non-verbal and they have these behaviors that clearly show that they’re upset. And you have to really use your imagination to figure out what in the world is going on. Eventually you figure it out…They suddenly get better, right? That moment is so great. You feel like Sherlock Holmes. Those moments of empathy and trying to get inside someone else’s world, those were always so meaning full to me and I loved it.”

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He should matter to us because we matter to him. People like him are very rare. When we find someone, who is trying to bring people together you stand right next to them and hopefully grab on, and do not let go.

There is a fine line between entertaining, and offensive though. We all have to know it; as a Christian comedian making jokes about religion, culture, and customs to a Pakistani and Muslim audience, McLellan really needs to have full control over where he lands. I can say with full confidence that so far; he’s doing a fine job of it.

 

 

 

Author:

Trying to keep it simple, while traveling the world. Also trying to live in harmony with tiny mischievous monsters and their dad. Do what you will with this information.

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