While some may recall Fahim Anwar from his small roles in Tina Fey’s Whiskey Tango Foxtrot and Jerrod Carmichael’s self-titled NBC sitcom, the stand-up comedian is about to strike out on his own with his first taped special, There’s No Business Like Show Business. In the first of what will be several new original stand-up hours distributed by NBC’s streaming service Seeso, Anwar — a former aerospace engineer who quit his daytime job to pursue comedy full time — spends most of his time introducing himself to the audience at home. Since most viewers probably aren’t familiar with Anwar’s comedy, it’s a smart move.
It also informs his material, which hops between the current (and undeniably Islamophobic) political climate in the United States, hipster pigeons, and fooling his father with scripted television and NBA Jam. As random as this may seem, however, Anwar’s quips about everything from Uber drivers to his father’s struggle to accept his comedy career validate his decision to leave behind a steady job building airplanes. Even if, as Anwar tells us, his dad “has a Scarface concept for what a successful stand-up comic or entertainer is supposed to be.”
I loved your Snoop Dogg impression. It was quite good.
Really? I mean, I thought it was serviceable.
I thought it was fantastic.
That’s funny. Maybe it’s in my arsenal now.
Have you seen his show with Martha Stewart, Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party?
The one with Martha Stewart? I’ve seen clips here and there, but I haven’t sat down to watch a full episode. It feels so shticky, and I just don’t know if could ever be as good as it seems. Like on paper, putting Snoop and Martha together for a show makes sense. I get it.
When did you put There’s No Business Like Show Business together?
Not that long ago, actually. Right after Trump won — yeah, we taped on November 16. The comic in me was like, “Do I really have to talk about this?” It was all so divisive, and there wasn’t nearly enough time to talk about it. There was no perspective. And I couldn’t change what I already had for the special. I mean, I had some Trump stuff already but I couldn’t change what I already had. I figured I’d save whatever the election was brewing for the next special. It was just too fresh. The wounds were too fresh.
It’s still divisive, obviously.
Definitely. I just didn’t know if I wanted to do that in the special.
How did Seeso enter the picture?
I’d been trying to find a home for this for a while. Not that I’d already shot it, that is, but I already had the hour and the main concepts behind it developed and ready to go. For the last two years, at least, the bulk of it was ready to go. I was just trying to find an outlet, and I was in this weird place where I’d done some late night stuff, but no one was willing to greenlight it. Every artist has their own struggle, especially comedians. Especially younger comedians, yet while a lot of them have been progressing, I’ve still been hitting walls. I had this hour and everyone was saying no, and I kept struggling with whether they were saying no to me or the idea of me. Maybe they didn’t know what it even was.