For fans of Russell Peters, Trevor Noah, and Mark Critch comes a hilarious debut memoir about family, pursuing our passions, and figuring out who we are, by stand-up comedian and popular CBC host, Ali Hassan.
Growing up, Ali Hassan was a chameleon. His friends came from many different backgrounds and religions—Trinidadian, Parsi, Goan, Hindu, Christian, Sikh. And as a hockey-playing, Crock-Pot–using young man who also knew the words to at least ten Blue Rodeo songs, he could blend in everywhere. But the world has a funny way of reminding you who you are, and Hassan’s Muslim Pakistani family and community did, too.
In this heartfelt and funny memoir, based on his hit stand-up comedy, Hassan shares his lifelong journey to becoming a “cultural Muslim”—learning to walk the line of embracing his heritage while following his passions and being true to himself. From failing to learn Arabic—or much of anything—in Sunday school and visiting family in Pakistan who mocked him relentlessly, to discovering the wonders of pepperoni as a teenager and being a celebrity judge at Ribfest, he finds himself in compromising situations that challenge his beliefs and identity.
Now, as a father of four, he has to answer his children’s questions and try to explain his point of view. But he can’t just “give them” an identity as a cultural Muslim. Sharing his story is the next best thing.
With the perfect blend of humour and insight, Is There Bacon in Heaven? explores the deep need to belong that exists in everyone.
Ali Hassan is a stand-up comedian, actor, and professional chef. He is the host of CBC’s Canada Reads as well as Laugh Out Loud. He is also a frequent guest host of q, CBC’s premier national arts and entertainment show. His comedy has been performed at the Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal and Toronto’s JFL42. He is a Canadian Comedy Awards nominee, and his solo show, Muslim, Interrupted, was performed at the world’s largest comedy festival, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. He has appeared in three award-winning films, Breakaway, French Immersion, and as the memorable Lebanese Uncle Stevie in the hockey hit Goon, in addition to other film and TV roles, most recently CBC’s Run the Burbs. He lives in Toronto, Ontario, with his family. Follow him on Twitter @StandUpAli and find him at StandUpAli.com.
“He had me at bacon—Ali Hassan has written perhaps the funniest and most heartfelt Canadian memoir yet.” — RICK MERCER
“I already knew that Ali Hassan is funny and thoughtful and charming; now I can add a talented author to that list. What a wonderful book! The pleasure of a beautifully written memoir mixed with the compassionate, intelligent humour that is always Ali’s trademark. And the food—someday I will get Ali to make me a meal. Until then I will just have to reread this book.” — AURORA BROWNE, actress and comedian, Baroness von Sketch Show
“[A] hilarious debut. . . . Anyone who’s ever felt like a fish out of water will be heartened by this beguiling memoir.” — Publishers Weekly
“Laugh-out-loud funny and filled with so much heart. Ali Hassan hooked me in with his honest and charming approach to all of life’s ups and downs. His story really resonated with me and I couldn’t stop smiling while reading it.” — ANDREW PHUNG, award-winning actor and star of Run the Burbs and Kim’s Convenience
“This book takes on some big topics like religion, racism, and maybe most importantly for a CBC personality, the relentless pursuit of proper grammar. He does it all with the disarming charm that has become his trademark. Thank you, Ali, for writing this eye-opening and stereotype-shutting book.” — STEVE PATTERSON, comedian, author, and host of CBC’s The Debaters
“Hassan asks the question ‘Is there bacon in heaven?’ and while I may not know the answer, I do know there are laughs, lessons, and love in this book. Ali has managed to wrap sensitive topics like race, identity, and religion in a perfect package of humour and humanity. We are closer to one another when we admit how lost we are in life and the pages of this great book make me believe that perhaps not having the answers is the best part.” — TRENT McCLELLAN, stand-up comedian and actor