Comedian Ahmed Ahmed is always working on new material for his act, but a 911 call is not his usual method for getting a laugh.
An audience member at one of his recent shows called 911 to complain about one of his jokes.
Ahmed performed at Off The Hook Comedy Club in Naples, Florida on May 12. The following day, a man who said he attended the show called 911 and complained about when Ahmed asked the audience who was from the Middle East.
“And a whole bunch of people raised their hand,” the caller said, according to a 911 call released by the Collier County Sheriff’s Office. “And he said where are you from? I’m from Iraq, I’m from Iran. I’m from Pakistan. I’m from here, I’m from there. He said, ‘That’s great. We could organize our own little terrorist organization.’”
Ahmed said that the caller misquoted him.
“For the record the caller misquoted my joke. I never said, ‘We can start our own terrorist organization,’” he wrote on Twitter.
The caller, who described Ahmed as Middle Eastern, said he called because the comment made him feel uncomfortable. He was concerned Ahmed would say it again at a later performance.
Off The Hook owner Brien Spina said he was shocked when police arrived at the club to investigate the complaint. Spina said something like this has never happened before.
“I don’t know why they stayed for the whole show,” he told CNN. “[Ahmed] is probably more straight down the road compared to other comedians. His material isn’t meant to be offensive. It’s just funny.”
Ahmed shared a video online while the police questioned him about the incident.
“Don’t change your set. Don’t change your jokes,” one of the officers said in the video. Ahmed said the officers were “very polite.”
Ahmed, 48, was born in Egypt but moved to California when he was 1 month old.
Spina has invited Ahmed back for another performance next Wednesday after popular demand, and Ahmed has agreed.
“I’m friends with the owners and the staff is extremely cool, professional, hospitable and friendly, not to mention the crowds are always amazing,” Ahmed said. “But whoever made it point to waste my time and everyone’s else’s time and call the police on me over a joke is not only mind boggling but disturbing and funny all at the same time.”