On Stage: Ahamed Weinberg shares a slice of life through comedy

By Denny Dyroff, Entertainment Editor, The Times 

Ahamed Weinberg

There are times when you see names where the first name and the surname just do not seem to be a match – just do not seem to fit together well.

Names such as Werner DiNapoli, Mikey Patel, Enrique Edmundsdottir, Chauncey Lopez or Jean-Luc Kratingdaenggym might leave you scratching your head. Some might make you wonder about a possible cultural clash — like if you met someone named Billy Bob Rockefeller.

One of the top young comedians in America has a name that features an unusual combination – Ahamed Weinberg. It’s not often that you’ll find a pairing of Arabic and Israeli names.

On February 21, Weinberg, a Philadelphia native, will put his comedic talents on display at Helium Comedy Club (2031 Sansom Street, Philadelphia, philadelphia.heliumcomedy.com).

Weinberg’s background does include Jewish and Arabic elements – and a lot more.

“I grew up in the Overbrook section of Philadelphia,” said Weinberg, during a phone interview Monday afternoon from his family home in Philly.

“My parents had settled here in the ’70s. My mom grew up in a big Catholic family that was very strict. My dad was born Jewish in Brooklyn and his divorced mother was a hippie. They each found a Sufi Muslim Guru in Philadelphia – Bawa Muhaiyaddeen.

“They met when they were in the Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship  (Fellowship – Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship (bmf.org) and got married after a few years.

“I grew up memorizing the Qur’an and Muslim prayers. I’m still active in the community. There always has been diversity on our family. My grandfather is into Zen Buddhism.”

More diversity entered Weinberg’s life when he attended one of the Philly area’s “elite” prep schools – Chestnut Hill Academy.

“I graduated Chestnut Hill Academy in 2008 and then went to the University of Vermont,” said Weinberg. “I spent two years there studying film theory, snowboarding and partying.

“Then, I transferred to Temple University in my junior year. I spent the second semester in Los Angeles doing an internship and taking classes. I got lucky because I was working at a cool production company –Tim & Eric. They were two guys that were from Temple.”

Tim & Eric—Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim—are an American comedy duo and creators of the Adult Swim television series “Tom Goes to the Mayor,” “Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!,” “Check It Out! with Dr. Steve Brule,” “Tim & Eric’s Bedtime Stories” and “Beef House.” Wareham graduated from nearby Methacton High while Heidecker is an Allentown Central Catholic alum.

“I got in there and worked as an intern on all sorts of projects that got picked up,” said Weinberg. “I landed on my feet in L.A. It was there that I eventually gave up production and did comedy full time.”

Weinberg got his first taste of performing comedy at an early age.

“I was basically doing standup infrequently since sixth grade,” said Weinberg. “It started in a school show at Chestnut Hill Academy. I don’t know if I was good or not — but people laughed. It was at that point that I got addicted to comedy.

“After high school, I started doing open mics. I did my first open mic at Helium so it’s exciting to be going back there.”

Weinberg left college after his junior year and has been in southern California ever since. He currently resides in L.A. — in Los Feliz, a hillside neighborhood in the greater Hollywood area.

“Once I decided to stay in L.A., I got serious about comedy,” said Weinberg. “I did open mics wherever I could. I’ve been doing standup full time for five years now. Before the pandemic, I was doing clubs and had my own show at Lyric Hyperion (The Lyric Hyperion Theatre & Café in L.A.’s Silver Lake area).”

Weinberg has appeared on “Late Night with Seth Meyers.” and has been named one of TimeOut LA’s Comics to Watch and Vulture’s 20 Comics to Watch. He was awarded New Face at the 2016 Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal. He also did a late-night set on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.”

His resume includes writing, directing, and starring in two seasons of “Ahamed’s Ramadan Diaries” and appearing in “Comedy Bang Bang,” “The Eric Andre Show,” “I Love You, America,” “Comedy Knockout,” and the HBO show “Insecure.”

Weinberg’s film “Lovebirds” premiered on Amazon Prime as part of its inaugural FunnyFest short films festival. His Facebook series “Please Understand Me” was executive produced by Sarah Silverman and released in June 2018.

“When the pandemic hit, I had to cancel a lot of gigs,” said Weinberg. “In the last year, I’ve been doing weird jobs like doing IT support for mall Santas and working as a COVID compliance officer for commercials.”

These jobs just add more fodder to Weinberg’s cache of material for his comedy shows.

“When I do standup, I’m more just talking about my life – weird shit that happens to me,” said Weinberg. “I’m deconstructing weird experiences that have happened to me.”

Video link for Ahamed Weinberg — https://youtu.be/sTHGFXvPvFQ.

Weinberg’s shows at the Helium Comedy Club will start at 8 p.m. on February 21. Tickets, which are not sold individually because of capacity restrictions and social distancing, are $40 for a two-person table or $80 for a four-person table.

Other upcoming shows at Helium this month are Ryan Niemiller from November 18-20, Ryan Long on February 24 and Adam Ferrara on February 25 and 26.

The Sellersville Theater (24 West Temple Avenue, Sellersville, 215-257-5808, www.st94.com) remains one of the few places to hear live music by national acts.

AM Radio Tribute Band

The venue’s schedule for this month includes AM Radio Tribute Band on February 19 and 20, Adam Monaco on February 23, and King Solomon Hicks on February 26.

AM Radio Tribute Band, which is the brainchild of Su Teears and Kevin Burk is exactly what its name implies.

“We play songs mostly from the ’60’s, some from the ’70’s, some older stuff like the Ronettes,” said Teears, during a phone interview from her home in King of Prussia. “We also do some stuff from the ’50’s like Bill Haley & the Comets and Elvis.”

Burk, who is a native of King of Prussia and an Upper Merion High grad, said, “We’re normally a six-piece band and sometimes for bigger shows we’re a seven-piece with an added guitar. There are also times when we add a horn section and play as a 10-piece.”
AM Radio Tribute Band got its start exactly six years ago.

“Kevin and I were on a road trip to upstate New York,” said Teears. “As we travelled north, we listened to the radio until we lost our favorite station. When we lost the station we were listening to, we found a station playing all the hits we grew up with. We toyed with the idea of playing these songs. We started playing them while trying to do things a little left of center.”

Soon, Teears and Burk were assembling a band – a band that became AM Tribute Radio.

The lineup of AM Tribute Radio features drummer Jimmy Cavanaugh from Norristown, guitarist Danny Eyer (Absecon, N.J.), Bill Sharrow (Collingdale/Spring Mount) vocalist/guitarist Joe Triglia (Lansdale), keyboardist Steve Sauer (Lancaster), Teears (Northeast Philadelphia) and Burk.

“We’re purists,” said Teears. “We try to keep it as close as possible to the original.”

Burk said, “Our first gig was December 2014 at the Bridgeport Ribhouse and we’ve had a stable lineup since then. Our repertoire now is well over 500 tunes. There is so much to pick from.”

Video link for AM Radio Tribute – https://youtu.be/an3eLlSQmIw.

The AM Radio Tribute Band shows at Sellersville are scheduled for February 19 at 8 p.m. and 20 at 5 and 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 in person and $10 for Livestream.

Other shows this month at the Sellersville Theater are Ben Arnold & Band on February 13, AM Radio on February 19 and 20, Adam Monaco on February 23, and King Solomon Hicks on February 26.

AM Tribute Radio also has other small upcoming shows at bars and restaurants. The band has come full circle and plays regularly at the Bridgeport Ribhouse (1049 Ford Street, Bridgeport, www.ribhouse.net) – including a show on March 14.

The Bridgeport Ribhouse’s February schedule also includes Mike Greer & Co. on February 19, Rhodes Less Traveled Duo on February 19, Catullus on February 20, Brian Quinn & Danny Beissel on February 24 and Montoj on February 27.

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