I just got back from performing at Rula Bula Irish Pub in Tempe, AZ, and it was fucking hilarious!
It was open-mic night, but for musicians… not comedians. That didn’t discourage me. My goal, actually, was to see how long I could stay on stage before getting kicked off. I hadn’t performed in over a month, and wanted to do something that would leave a lasting impression, so I dressed up as the Arab, Mohammed Hameet Nazir, and with guitar in hand, I set out for Rula Bula.
When I got there, there was already some guy on stage playing guitar in front of a crowd of about 10 diners. He looked up and saw me standing there with my guitar and acknowledged me by giving some sorta “Musician’s Solidarity Nod”. The dude played a few more songs, and when he was done he motioned to me that it was my turn to go on. As I got set up, he asked me what kind of music I played. Trying to keep a straight face, I said, in my “authentic” Arab accent, “Mostly cultural pieces… sort of new age.”
As soon as the musician packed up his gear, and made his way off stage, I grabbed the mic and said, “So, how about that guy? My God, he sucked! I never heard such horrible music in my life.” The musician turned his attention back towards the stage and I addressed him directly, “My friend, your singing sounds like two cats having sex! I’m kidding, I’m kidding… it sounds like three cats having sex!”
Well it was all down hill from there. I proceeded to tell audience that I initially thought the pub was an Arab restaurant because Rula Bula, “…in my language, means goat’s penis. Which is very tasty, by the way, but only if you cook it right. The key is to leave the foreskin on.” Of course, after embarrassingly admitting my mistake, I was quick to compliment Irish cuisine by letting them know my favorite Irish dish was Lucky Charms. “They’re magically delicious!”
The Lucky Charms comment caused the owner of the pub to come flying out of the kitchen. He raced over to the bartender, and although I couldn’t hear what he was saying, he was frantically pointing at the stage and was visibly pissed off. The bartender, of course, had no answers for the owner and just kept shrugging his shoulders and forming the words “I don’t know” with his mouth.
Unfazed, I forged on! It was time to commence with the musical segment of my act. I picked up my guitar and started strumming away at the strings. Keep in mind, I don’t know how to play a single chord on the guitar. I then began to serenade the audience with my original lyrics:
I love jihad!
I love jihad!
Yalah yah ala leh chem mach salaam amah sahib!
George Bush I spit… *PATOOIE!!!*
I love jihad!”
(My CD comes out in the fall by the way).
I think the audience liked the song, but I could tell they were still trying to figure out if I was for real or not. The owner, on the other hand, did not appreciate my musical talents. He pointed at me to get my attention, then made a throat-cutting gesture, and called out, “MOHAMMED!!! YOU HAVE ONE MORE MINUTE, AND THAT’S IT!!!!” Then he turned to no one in particular and said, “Who the hell is this guy?”
I used the first part of my last minute to sing a classic Arab favorite: “I Feel For You” by Chaka Kahn.
Finally, I closed with my rendition of “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off!”
You say Alqueda
I say Alkida
You say Virginia
I say vagina
Let’s call the whole thing off!
“Thank you very much! I’m Mohammed Hameet Nazir. Have a good night!”
I quickly packed my guitar and made my way towards the exit. On my way out the door, I thanked the owner for the opportunity to perform for his patrons. He was friggin irate! His face was the color of purple horseshoe marshmallows. He barked at me; saying that he didn’t know how I was even allowed on stage because they stopped doing open-mic night over 2 months ago. Of course that was a lie, but it was clear that he never wanted to see my face in his restaurant again!
Mission accomplished! I’ll be back next week without the costume!
Special thanks goes out to Gregory Ford, the real musician, for being such a good sport. Also, thanks for playing Hendrix for me. And of course, a gigantic thanks goes out to the owner of Rula Bula for being such a bad sport. Without him, this story wouldn’t have been funny!