Khalid Rahmaan is certainly dedicated, was my first thought upon watching him hand off a pair of crutches as he climbed the stage at Gotham Comedy Club's weekly standup show, Comedy Juice. As he seamlessly worked his impairment (recent knee surgery) into the opening of his set, I found myself impressed by his ability to find the humor not in spite of, but actually in the struggle itself.
Rahmaan's presence on stage is more understated than commanding, and he is quick to make a self-deprecating remark about his appearance, “like an emaciated Taye Diggs,” but his warm demeanor and carefully constructed punchlines seem to fill the space for him.
Many of Rahmaan's jokes center around his experiences and upbringing as a black Muslim in the United States, a topic which could easily be controversial or uncomfortable, but as he grins impishly and delivers each punchline in a smooth, measured tone, you find yourself nodding along not with nervous laughter, but rather joyfully commiserating with his plight.
This Brooklyn-based comedian may appear friendly enough, but there is also a sharpness below the easy way he comments on the contentions between the white and black population. Rahmaan may not be afraid to address the racial inequalities he has observed, but he does want you to laugh along with him, and seemingly make a point while doing so.
I was pleased to learn that he has recently been selected by Team Coco and the New York Comedy Festival to be a part of their Comics to Watch show, and will be making his late night debut on Conan on December 6th. No doubt there is a lot more of Khalid Rahmaan to be found in the near future, and I for one will be keeping an eye out.