Showtime has snagged Fatwa, a new sitcom project from The Daily Show correspondent Aasif Mandvi in which Mandvi will play a down-on-his-luck cartoonist whose life improves for the better after he becomes the target of the eponymous Muslim legal ruling. Mandvi created the dark satirical comedy with Dave Holstein, with whom Mandvi worked on HBO’s geopolitical satire The Brink. Deadline reports the pair will co-write the pilot and act as executive producers.
The title refers to the opinions Muslim scholars or clerics hand down when Muslims have questions about the finer points of practicing Islam, such as whether a couple’s marriage is unhealthy enough to warrant divorce. That doesn’t sound like the basis of a fun show, so it’s safe to assume Fatwa refers to a death sentence of the sort handed down against Salman Rushdie by the Iranian government in response to his novel The Satanic Verses. Mandvi’s character, L.K. Hussein, will be a struggling comic artist whose presumably sacrilegious work puts a target on his head. Actually, that doesn’t sound like much fun either, but neither did the Pakistani crisis in The Brink, which had just begun to hit its stride when HBO canceled it after one season.
Even though Mandvi will be writing, producing, and starring in the series, he hasn’t announced plans to leave his post as The Daily Show’s “Senior Muslim Correspondent.” Come to think of it, that’s probably how this show was conceived in the first place. “Hey Aasif, wouldn’t it be hilarious if one of your dumb Daily Show segments resulted in a fatwa with your name on it?,” said someone who had better be getting a story credit on this thing.