Palestinian standup comedian Nasr Abu Ali Owaynat discusses his career
By Ray Hanania
Chicagoland Palestinian American comedian Nasr Abu Ali Owaynat will be performing comedy at the renown Chicagoland comedy club Riddles on Jan. 10, 2019.
Abu Ali was born to a Palestinian American immigrant and an American mother from Kentucky. He started doing comedy at the age of 25 and has been entertaining audiences around the country to break through the stereotypes that the American public often has of Arabs and Palestinians. His father is Mustafa Owaynat, a longtime Chicago area Palestinian activist.
His comedy is both edgy and hilarious, and he’s not afraid to talk about it.
“I am a stand-up comedian with outstanding talents; I was born and raised in Chicago Illinois To a Palestinian Immigrant Father and an American Mother from Kentucky,” Abu Ali said.
“I discovered my unique passion towards comedy at a young age, And over the years, my dedication and love for this craft is what i believe distinguishes me from the rest. I am is best known for my unique way of combining jokes with my real life events in an amusing way that always leave my spectators laughing.”
Abu Ali says he tries to reflect a comedy style of “raw energy” when he performs. And he is not afraid to take on taboo topics often frowned upon among certain conservative segments of the Arab American community.
“My innovative style, raw energy and distinctive voice, gives fans what they want in a comedy show, regardless of what others think, especially in the Arab culture where some words or subjects are considered taboo or forbidden to speak about. In 2018, I have already gained more than 20 million views on my social media platforms,” Abu Ali explained.
But comedy and humor are powerful ways to confront stereotypes, he said.
“The old adage that laughter is the best medicine has been well-proven throughout time–there have even been scientific studies to back up the claim. Comedy is not only a relief in tough times, but it’s also an effective way to get one’s point across in a way that is both fun and informative,” Abu Ali said.
Abu Ali said growing up with a Palestinian father and American mother from Kentucky created an interesting background to his youth, exposing him to different cultures and traditions which helped him develop his unique voice and style of standup comedy performance.
Talking about his life growing up, Abu Ali says, “We would often visit our family in Palestine and travel the Middle East and also visit our Mother’s side of the family in the country. It almost feels like you are living a double life where one side of your family all voted for Trump while the other just got banned from entering the country.”
His big breakthrough came at the age of 25 when he took the advice of friends and family and started doing stand-up comedy. There he found that he truly had a talent for it and has not stopped making audiences laugh since then.
Abu Ali told Palestine in America (PiA) online, “When I finally did it, I felt very comfortable on stage. You either have it or you don’t and you won’t know unless you try.” PiA sat down with Abu Ali to discuss how he uses his comedic talent to share ideas and spark conversations.
He says that in addition to making audiences laugh and new entertained, he hope that his performance and humor “help make a difference” to make a better world.
Click here to get more information on his comedy performances, and view some of his comedy clips, or look Abu Ali up on Facebook at Abu Ali Comedy.
Click here to read a profile feature on Abu Ali published at Palestine in America online magazine.
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Ray Hanania is an award winning political and humor columnist who analyzes American and Middle East politics, and life in general. He is an author of several books.
"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."
Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).
Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, Middle East Monitor in London, the TheArabDailyNews.com, www.TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com. He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, YNetNews.com, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.
The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website www.SuburbanChicagoland.com, Hanania's columns also appeare in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.
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