The orthodox Jewish comedian and devout Muslim comic talk about joining forces and their unlikely, but valuable, double-act
Though united by their love of a certain Merseyside football club, orthodox Jewish comedian Ashley Blaker and devout Muslim comic Imran Yusuf are different in many ways. 'We're kindred spirits, insofar as we are curious about faith and have interacted with our religious traditions in different ways during our lives,' says Blaker. 'Neither of us is the kind of person who has always thought the same way and we are both open to ideas and think about this area of our life. I guess that's the big thing we have in common. That and the one true faith: Liverpool Football Club.'
Citing tricky relationships with their mothers as their area of greatest overlap, Little Britain producer Blaker and Yusuf are currently developing a television adaptation. 'Often we've been interacting on stage and Imran has said something and I've thought "wow, that's just like us!" notes Blaker. 'It's incredible how much we are alike.' Though both comics perform individual sets in Prophet Sharing, they deliver the show's final 45 minutes together, addressing the audience's responses to a questionnaire. 'We cover a lot of ground,' Blaker explains. 'Football, cricket, dating, driving, airport security, Jewish and Muslim audiences, kosher and halal food, Jewish and Muslim mothers, our mosque and synagogue. The list is quite long. Thankfully, we never seem to run out of material.'
As the influence of the far-right grows more mainstream, it seems imperative for religious diversity and freedom of speech that people of faith are prepared to stand up. 'It's a worrying time and we've seen attacks on our houses of worship in San Diego, Pittsburgh and Christchurch,' Blaker concurs. 'I don't think there's ever been a more important time for Jews and Muslims to come together because we are much stronger together than we are apart.'
The Stand, Edinburgh, Sun 27 Oct; The Stand, Glasgow, Mon 28 Oct.