Dean Obeidallah: Bringing Communities Together Through Comedy

on Friday, September 27, 2013

Did you know that laughter is the one sound that has no language? Think about it, no matter where you travel, the laugh will remain, “ha ha ha” or “ho ho ho” or “he he he” Your immune system stands great chances of being stronger with a dose of laughter a day! If you are stressed, and have a dose of laughter, then your stress hormones will be lowered!

Laughter has curved a niche of its own in the world, what with industries built around sitcoms, jokes, laughter and comedians, simply because humans love to laugh. A good dose of laughter makes us as humans feel good, and not only humans, it is said that animals such as cats and dogs also do laugh! Amazing, right?

There are a number of comedians out there, but the focus today is on Dean Obeidallah. Formerly a lawyer, Dean turned into a political comedian and commentator, and is the founder and Editor of the blog “The Dean’s”

Dean is an American comedian of Pakistan-Italian descent, who was born in Lodi, New Jersey. Arab-American comedians are by far few and far between, but Obeidallah is among the small, but growing number of these comedians who are making their way into media. They are especially renowned for their use of comedy in order to entertain, as well as, eliminate negative stereotypes of Muslims and Arab-Americans.

He has appeared on a number of US and international TV shows which include; ABC’s “The View”, Comedy Central’s Axis of Evil”, as well as, Current TV and CNN, where he is often offering commentary. In addition, he is the co-founder of the New York Arab American Comedy Festival, which is a highly acclaimed festival that has received national, as well as, international coverage, with showcases of Arab-American comics, playwrights, actors and filmmakers.

Dean is also the co-creator of Stand up for Peace which is geared at bringing Muslims, Arab-Americans, and Jews together through comedy. He does performances of Stand up for peace all across the country with Jewish-American comedian, Scott Blakeman. The show hopes to foster an understanding and the support of a peaceful solution to the Palestinian-Israel conflict through comedy.

In addition, Dean is co-directing the upcoming documentary “The Muslims Are Coming!” which focuses on freedom of religion for all Americans and features a tour of American-Muslim comedians performing free comedy shows across the South and West. Also, featured in the film are MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart, CNN’s Soledad O’Brien, as well as, comedians David Cross, Lewis Black, and Janeane Garofalo among others.

Dean has, in addition to appearing at a number of colleges and comedy clubs across the United sates, performed stand-up comedy in Canada and the Middle East in Dubai, Amman, Haifa, Beirut, Cairo, Oman, Ramallah and Sharm El Sheikh.

The sky is the limit for this growing niche of Arab-American comedians as they strive to leave their mark in the world.

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