Is There Bacon in Heaven?
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.
"Maybe I look inconsistent at best, hypocritical at worst. But truthfully, I've never been more comfortable with who I am," writes Canadian comedian Hassan in his hilarious debut. Growing up in 1970s New Brunswick, Hassan, despite living in a Muslim Pakistani household, thought of himself as a "white guy" ("I knew ten Blue Rodeo songs by heart, I played ice hockey, I used a Crock-Pot," he muses) even while his peers were trying to parse his nationality. As an adult, he couldn't decide on one career, so he chose several, trying culinary arts and information technology, and even acquiring an MBA before finally landing in the stand-up world "because the CBC wanted a diverse voice on a comedy panel." Hassan's not afraid to poke fun at himself, delivering laugh-out-loud paeans to pork as he reflects on his heartfelt desire to be a "cultural Muslim" and share that with his children. Likewise, readers will chuckle when, for instance, his 13-year-old daughter inquired why she couldn't have a bar mitzvah: "Before I could answer, my eleven-year-old laughed at her and said, ‘We're not Mexican!' SIGH. Mixing up her bar mitzvahs with her quinceañeras." Anyone who's ever felt like a fish out of water will be heartened by this beguiling memoir.