Mo Amer technically isn’t, as the title of his first Netflix comedy special suggests, a “vagabond.” After all, the Kuwait-born comedian became a U.S. citizen back in 2009, after spending his youth in Houston and traveling the world as a stand-up comic for the USO.
The thing is, all of that travel experience – positive and otherwise – has put the Dave Chappelle mentee in a unique place. For at a time when traveling across America’s borders has become an increasingly dangerous prospect for immigrants, Mo Amer has transformed his own stories into a hilariously poignant hour of comedy and satire. Even his virally famous run-in with Eric Trump aboard a 2016 flight to Scotland has made it into the mix.
Then again, so have his pre-citizenship attempts to travel the world without a U.S. passport.
Mo Amer delivers the goods
“Sir, just give me your passport,” Mo Amer recalls a travel agent telling him on one occasion. When she realizes it’s not a U.S. passport, which the comic already knows, he explodes… though not literally.
“It’s a travel document so I can travel with it, because there’s visas issued from the countries that I’m visiting,” he exclaims in the special. “In 1948, the United Nations was founded at they created the Geneva Passport that allows refugees and asylum seekers to travel while they’re seeking asylum from their respective countries.”
“But you know what? I’m just going to blow up this whole f*cking airport! That’s what I’m going to do.”
This clip, in particular, is highlighted in the first trailer for “The Vagabond” that Netflix released in late September. Yet its content, and Mo Amer’s vibrant performance of the material, is indicative of what comedy fans and general audiences largely unfamiliar with the “Allah Made Me Funny” troupe alum’s work can expect from the special.
Chappelle himself doesn’t appear, though he does introduce Mo Amer to his home state crowd at the Paramount Theatre in Austin. The special is also bookended with backstage footage of the comics in action, as well as exclusive music Mo commissioned for the concert film.
So if you’re looking for a good, relevant hour of stand-up comedy that doesn’t hold any of its punches, then Mo Amer’s “The Vagabond” is the comedy special for you.
Mo Amer: The Vagabond premieres Monday, Oct. 8, on Netflix.