Dear Mr. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi al-Husseini al-Qurashi,

It is with a heavy heart that I must resign from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. I have enjoyed re-establishing Sharia law in pretty much all of Mesopotamia, but I wish to begin my one true jihad: learning improvisational comedy at the Upright Citizens Brigade.

I understand this might come as something of a shock, though you should have noticed the completely acceptable, non-sexualized pictures of Matt Walsh taped to the walls of my lean-to.

My time with ISIS has only strengthened my belief that I will find happiness by making “active choices” on slightly elevated stages in the East Village and Chelsea. Just last week, after I ridiculed a Kurdish prisoner’s acne, you said, “Youssef, that was a sick burn. You are very quick on your feet. Praise is to God, The Most Exalted.” While I agree that much of the praise is to God, The Most Exalted, some praise should fall squarely on my SNL-ready shoulders.

I knew I had discovered my life’s purpose when my improv team, ASSSDROMEDARY 3000, was voted Best Newcomer at this year’s Intifa-Ha-Ha Comedy Showcase. I’m sure you remember the Anderson Cooper kidnapping scene. The biggest laughs came when I recorded the ransom video with my imagined iPhone in landscape instead of portrait—thereby revealing the location of our secret hideout! Now that’s what I call “heightening!” It was gold, Abu Bakr, gold!

You’re probably asking yourself: “Why doesn’t Youssef try sketch writing instead?” Look, watching an actor perform something you wrote is cool, I guess, but does it compare to the rush of pretending to be a pirate or a toothbrush or a Home Depot cashier in front of dozens of people on a semi-regular basis? I doubt it.

If you’re worried about my future, don’t be. Everyone from Amy Poehler to Paul Scheer has used the totally secular altar of Del Close as a launching pad for their careers. You should also know that my success as an improviser will only further our mission. Do you have any idea how easy it is to demonize the West once you’ve established your “game?” When I’m not lampooning their culture with scathing long-form “Harold,” I will wound them using my other devastating tactics. I will stand uncomfortably close to the infidels in their elevators. I will lecture many strangers about income inequality. I will eat Thai food in subway cars without air conditioning. I will manspread.

You have been an incredible mentor and I have no doubt that you will be happy for me. That’s why you’re invited to my Improv 101 graduation show at the UCB East Theater on August 12th! Doors are at 6:00, but you never know how many of my 83 Twitter followers will show up, so try to get there by 5:45. Thanks in advance for allowing me to kill on stage and not taking matters into your own hands.


P.S. Tell Fuad that I’m changing my Hulu Plus password. If he wants to keep watching Season 2 of The Mindy Project, he can call and apologize for his hurtful heckles like the honorable weapons dealer he claims to be.

P.P.S. Until I find paid work in New York, it would be so dope of you to let me run the ISIS Vine account remotely.