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April, 2012 Issue

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Mo Amer

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Mohammed Amer was born in Kuwait. He was just nine years-old when his mother packed him up after the first Gulf War and headed for America.

"My brother was getting his PhD in Houston and my mother felt this would be a great opportunity for us to start our new lives. It was a huge culture shock. My brother wanted to ease the pain so he took us to the Houston Live Stock Show and Rodeo and Bill Cosby was performing. I had never heard of stand-up comedy and this was my introduction. When I saw him in front of 60,000 people, I decided right then that was what I wanted to do for a living."

Fast forward a few years! At fourteen Mo's father passed away unexpectedly and his life changed. He went from making A's in school to D's and F's. He was traumatized, confused and unmotivated.

"It was my teacher who understood that I was going through rough times. She knew I had a goal of becoming a stand-up comedian and she asked me to go up before the class and do a bit from Macbeth. Of course my first question was "Does it have to be serious?" and she replied, "You can do whatever you want.?"

The class howled with laughter and the teacher was so impressed that she gave him 5-7 minutes every Friday to do his own stand-up comedy before the class.

"She liked what I did so well that she took me over to the theater department and told them "This kid has performed before my class and he has used different material and dialects. He is talented and he needs to be here.' The next thing I knew I was doing lead in plays. I never knew I had a singing voice, but soon I was doing musical theater. It was amazing. I was still focused on stand-up comedy but my mother wasn't about to drive me to locations that served alcohol."

But patience had its rewards and at 17, Mo entered Houston's Funniest Person Contest and made the finals. There another comedian directed him to The Comedy Showcase telling him that was the place to start his comedy career.

"Danny Martinez is the owner of The Comedy Showcase and he has become known as the Godfather of Texas Comedy." He and Mo hit it off from the very start.

"Danny has mentored the careers of many of the country's best comedians. Ralphie May is one that stands out. Danny took me under his wing and taught me everything there is to know about stand-up."

Stand-up Comedy is an artform where you have to earn your wings and sometimes that entails working some of the crappiest venues imaginable. "There were hole-in-the-wall bars where you drive 14 hours to make a buck fifty, former strip clubs...you just go on the grind and work your butt off. I started touring overseas right out of the gate. I was only 19 when I worked Germany, Italy and Sicily for the military through their MWR program and with exposure from YouTube I got international dates with mainstream audiences." Adoring fans have watched him at sold-out shows worldwide, including: Royal Albert Hall and Hammersmith-Apollo (London), Acer Arena (Sydney) and the Nelson Mandela Theatre (Johannesburg). He was the only Arab-American refugee comic to perform for U.S. and coalition troops overseas, as well as with "Allah Made Me Funny: The Official Muslim Comedy Tour."

MO AMER is represented by Neon Entertainment (800) 993-NEON or info @ neon-entertainment.com