Adil Qaisar is ready to take off. On July 30, the comedian and comedy tour Terminal 5 lands in St. Louis, bringing a diverse set of comics and backgrounds to the stage.
Featuring Qaisar – which opened earlier this year for former “Patriot Act” host and comedian Hasan Minhaj – the Terminal 5 tour brings a total of six Muslim comics to the High Low Literary Arts Cafe.
As Qaisar explained on Friday Saint Louis live, the band’s name is inspired by an actual airport terminal at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. Like the rest of Terminal 5, Qaisar originated outside of the United States, making them “international comics”.
The band members come from different countries and heritages, from Syria to Palestine to Saudi Arabia. Qaisar noted that while his own material often dives into his upbringing, he is not the kind of comedian to criticize his faith and traditions.
“I make sure it’s not the subject of the joke,” he said, citing as an example a story he tells on stage about his immigrant parents, who at one point in his childhood did not know enough English to understand his teachers when they called to report his misbehavior.
“When I got a call from the school, they didn’t know what was going on. So I could get away with things,” he continued. “The humor is in the truth.”
Bringing together diverse comics and audiences is the comedy tour’s official goal. The tour sold out several shows in Chicago before the pandemic forced the team on hiatus from performing.
“Because I speak from my experience, my comedy will mention that I am a Muslim. But that doesn’t necessarily mean I make jokes that only Muslims would understand,” Qaisar said. “There is a rather delicate balance, because there are ‘Muslim comedians’ who only make jokes that Muslims understand. And they are very specialized.
Niche is not Terminal 5’s goal. Instead, Qaisar said the comics seek to attract fans from inside and outside their communities.
“Comedy has this ability to do more than just make people laugh,” he said. “It can make people think, unite us and make people connect on a different level.”
What: Comedy Terminal 5
When: 8 p.m. on July 30
Where: High Low, 3301 Washington Ave., St. Louis, MO 63103
“Saint Louis live” tells you the stories of Saint-Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is produced by Miya Norfleet, Emily Woodbury, Danny Wicentowski and Alex Heuer. Avery Rogers is our production assistant. The sound engineer is Aaron Dorr.