Muslim Funny Fest: Using comedy to combat hate

The fest aims to challenge misperceptions about Muslims and combat hate. It features 15 Muslim comedians — from Dubai native Ali Al Sayed to “America’s Funniest Muslim” Azhar Usman — and there are more than a few familiar names on the marquee.

Co-organizers/comedians Dean Obeidallah and Maysoon Zayid are hoping it will be an annual event, and they may take the show on the road. Their successful annual New York Arab-American Comedy Festival, which features comedians from a range of faiths, enters its 12th year this fall.

 

Jon Stewart Appears On Egyptian TV, Talks Movie, Political Satire, And Fox News With Bassem Youssef

Daily Show host Jon Stewart is on a hiatus from anchoring the late night comedy program to direct a feature film, but two months after “Egypt’s Jon Stewart” Bassem Youssef appeared on Comedy Central, Stewart returned the favor with an appearance on Youssef’s program Albernamegtoday. The two comedians bantered about everything from Egyptian traffic to “which pit of hell” Fox News is reporting from. They also talked a lot about political satire, with Stewart remarking, “If your regime is not strong enough to handle a joke, then you don’t have a regime.”

 

After impressing the audience with a few words of Arabic, Stewart told Youssef he is “honored” to be on his show, and mockingly announced to the audience he has been appointed to a mayorship by President Mohammed Morsi. Stewart joked that after handing off his show to John Oliver, he’s just wandering around the Middle East, because “my people like to wander the desert.”

Stewart explained the background of Rosewater, the movie he is directing based on a book written by Maziar Bahari, a Newsweek journalist who was imprisoned by the Iranian government during the post-2009 election protests a few days after he sat down for an interview with Daily Show correspondent Jason Jones

Youssef brought up Stewart’s favorite sparring partner, Fox News, and remarked, “I was wondering in which pit of hell do they do their editorials.” Stewart said he doesn’t see what they do as “hate,” but “fear,” whether it be honest or just manipulation. Youssef brought up Bill O’Reilly‘s latest Daily Showsit-down, particularly O’Reilly mockingly demanding that Stewart be replaced on the show by a Muslim host. Youssef deadpanned, “Why didn’t you think of me?”

Stewart said he never wants to single out anyone for their religious beliefs, saying there’s one thing that’s true of all people all around the world.

Man who used Web site to “warn” ‘South Park’ creators sentenced to nearly 12 years

One of the men who had issued “warnings” to the creators of Comedy Central’s “South Park” back in 2010 — saying they risked death if they showed the prophet Muhammad in a bear costume — has been sentenced to nearly 12 years in prison.

Jesse Curtis Morton founded the now-defunct Revolution Muslim Website which he and another defendant, Zachary Chesser, used to deliver threats against Matt Stone and Trey Parker over their show’s 200th and 201st episodes, in which viewers were led to believe Muhammad was disguised in a bear suit — only it turned out to be Saint Nicholas in the costume

Comedy Central censored the episodes when they were telecast in April of 2010, clumsily wiping out the cartoon bear-suited Santa Claus from its scenes. This, in turn, caused Stone and Parker to issue an angry statement complaining of the censorship, which the Viacom-network did after Chesser and Morton posted that the cartoon satirists would likely be killed for their depiction (or not) of Muhammad.

Prosecutor Gordon Kromberg said Morton’s stiff sentence was necessary because his site inspired a variety of would-be jihadis, including “Jihad Jane” Colleen LaRose; Antonio Benjamin Martinez, who plotted to bomb a military recruiting station; and Jose Pimental, who plotted to assassinate members of the U.S. military returning from Afghanistan and Iraq, the AP added.

US Arab-Muslim comedy community grows, pushes beyond funny talk in post-9/11 world

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Arab-Muslim stand-up comedy is flourishing more than a decade after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. While comics like Obeidallah, Ahmed Ahmed and Amer Zahr differ on approach — and there are disagreements among some— they’re all trying to do more than just lampoon themselves or their people for easy laughs.

The comedian who made his name on the “Axis of Evil Comedy Tour” made one thing clear when he opened a recent set at Michigan State University: “Tonight, it’s not Islam 101.”

For every joke Dean Obeidallah made about his Arabic heritage or Muslim faith, there were others about student loans, Asian-American basketball phenom Jeremy Lin, the presidential race and full-body scans at airports.

Christian Leader, Pat Robertson Blasts, Comedy Show: Tebow Skit Fueled By ‘Anti-Christian Bigotry’

Televangelist Pat Robertson was not laughing at a skit on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” last weekend that included a Jesus character, played by Jason Sudeikis, telling pro football player and outspoken Christian Tim Tebow to “take it down a notch.”

Robertson, who’s quick to criticize Hollywood entertainment and pop culture, said the comedy sketch is part of “the anti-Christian bigotry in this country that’s just disgusting.”

“If this had been a Muslim country and they had done that and had Muhammad doing that stuff, you would have found bombs being thrown off and bodies on the street,” he said.

Robertson made his comments on the Christian Broadcast Network, where he’s been a regular fixture for decades. The video snippet was first posted on Mediaite.

“Tebow is an example, and I think he is a wonderful human being,” Robertson said. “We need more religious faith in our society. We’re losing our moral compass in our nation and this man has been placed in a unique position and I applaud him. God bless him.”

Suicide Bombing Comedy to Mark Anniversary of 9/11

29.08.2011

Channel 4 has sparked outrage by planning on screening “Four Lions”, a controversial comedy film by comedian Chris Morris about Muslim suicide bombers, as part of a season of programmes to mark the tenth anniversary of 9/11. Four Lions is about a group of home-grown British terrorists who are planning an attack during the London Marathon, but end up making a mess of their plans. As the Daily Mail reports, Channel 4 will show the comedy alongside factual documentaries related to 9/11 and the killing of Osama Bin Laden. Even though Four Lions is not about 9/11, Channel 4 was showing it at this time ‘because it looked at the wider ‘geopolitical’ discussion on terrorism’ (Daily Mail).

 

German-Turkish Comedy Looks at the Lighter Side of Immigration

16 February 2011

“Almanya,” a Turkish-German film debuting at the Berlinale, has received rave reviews for its humorous and sensitive take on immigration and integration. The Local spoke with the sisters behind the movie about learning to live and laugh together.

Chancellor Angela Merkel may have recently declared that multiculturalism is officially dead in Germany, but Turkish-German sisters Yasemin and Nesrin Samdereli would disagree. “No. The patient isn’t dead yet. We’re right in the middle of it,” said Yasemin, who co-wrote the film with her sister, and is also the the director. “It takes time and effort.”

The duo, whose parents were among the many Turkish immigrants to arrive in post-war Germany as “guest workers,” used their memories of growing up as foreigners to show a more positive side of the story than has often been portrayed on film.

The plot centres on fictional Turkish guest worker number one-million-and-one, Hüseyin Yilmaz, who decides after retirement to take his family back to Turkey to rediscover their Anatolian roots. The children are transported back to their childhood memories of arriving in their new German home – a place full of blond giants who eat pork, walk rats on leashes, speak gibberish and worship a terrifying wooden figure nailed to a cross.

Comedy web series launched on youtube: ‘Living with the Infidels’

The internet is a place for experiments, for pushing boundaries that mainstream television hasn’t yet got the stomach for. Living with the Infidels falls into this category. It’s a comedy — made, it should be emphasised, with the full blessing of the Muslim Council of Great Britain — about an inept Islamic terror cell based in Bradford.

The focus of the series, unsurprisingly, is the unlikely sounding prize of the 72 virgins that will greet a Muslim martyr in heaven, rather than the carnage that will get them there. It’s when two of our potential jihadi warriors are discussing this promised paradise in episode one that a buxom blonde, Abi, walks past them, and their urge to self sacrifice waves discernibly in the presence of such attractive earthly delights. As the series evolves we will see that the qualities of the opposite sex and a good night in the pub persuade the jihadists that the West may be for them after all.