Arab American Comedy Festival, 209th Anniversary National Tour returns to New York roots
Year-Long Comedy Extravaganza Comes to The Town Hall on November 19th with Diverse Headliners including Ramy Youssef and a Fireside Chat with Tony Shalhoub
The New York Arab American Comedy Festival (NYAACF) is celebrating its 20th Anniversary with a year-long tour supported by the Doris Duke Foundation. For two decades, co-founders Maysoon Zayid and Dean Obeidallah have upheld their commitment to combating negative media portrayals of Arab Americans and Muslims, while showcasing the incredible talent within their community and fostering connections with industry professionals.
The next upcoming show is November 19th at the historic 1,500 seat Town Hall Theatre and includes an exciting roster of recognizable headliners including Tony Shalhoub and Ramy Youssef. Show proceeds will raise much needed funds for vital food and hygiene resources through Anera.
The NYAACF 20th Anniversary Tour, launched in Boston on September 9th, is funded by the Doris Duke Foundation (DDF). Zeyba Rahman, director of the Building Bridges Program at DDF, which works to counter hate directed at Muslims through storytelling and multimedia initiatives, shared: “Laughter is an infectious medium we rely on to collapse the social distance and develop mutual understanding to create connections between people from diverse backgrounds and experiences. We are delighted to support the excellent platform that the festival founders have created to highlight and celebrate U.S. based Arab and Muslim voices to counter hate.”
“From the very beginning, our festival has aimed to challenge stereotypes and amplify Arab American voices. Our festival includes diverse talent in terms of religion (Muslims, Jews, Christians, Buddhists and Atheists), gender and sexuality.” shares Maysoon Zayid, comedian, inspirational speaker and co-founder of the festival.
“We started our festival shortly after 9/11. We used the power of comedy to refute negative stereotypes and create understanding and community. In the face of renewed islamophobia and political scapegoating of Arab immigrants, the festival’s anti-hate messaging is more vital than ever.”
Zayid is known for her record breaking TED Talk “I’ve got 99 Problems… Palsy is Just One,” as well as regular appearances on CNN, PBS, BBC and standout roles on General Hospital and Hollywood blockbusters alike.
Obeidallah, co-founder of the festival and known for his hit “The Dean Obeidallah Show” on SiriusXM radio, Comedy Central’s “Axis of Evil,” co-director of the award-winning “The Muslims are Coming!” comedy documentary, regular appearances on MSNBC and more, added: “For two decades, the festival has been a platform for emerging and established comedians to shine. Festival alumni have achieved incredible success, recognition at the Golden Globes and Emmys, and starring in and writing for specials and series on Comedy Central, Netflix, HBO, Hulu and more. We are proud of their accomplishments and the impact they have made in breaking barriers and expanding representation.”
Important Tour Dates:
September 9 at the BCA’s Virginia Wimberly Theatre in Boston
November 19 at the iconic 1,500 seat Town Hall on Broadway
February 10 at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco
February 29 – March 2 at New York City’s renowned Gotham Comedy Club
June 8 at the prestigious Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.
Over the years, the Arab American Comedy Festival has championed entertainers who are now household names, including Tony Shaloub, Ramy Youssef, Pete Dominick, Waleed Zuaiter, Sammy Obeid and Mo Amer.
Comedians performing this year include:
Maysoon Zayid (record setting TED Talk “I’ve got 99 Problems… Palsy is Just One,” regular on CNN, BBC, OWN and General Hospital)
Dean Obeidallah (MSNBC, CNN, The Dean Obeidallah Show” on SiriusXM radio, Comedy Central’s “Axis of Evil,” award-winning doc “The Muslims are Coming!”)
Atheer Yacoub (Comedy Central Special, Gotham Comedy Live)
Mohanad Elshieky (Comedy Central, Conan, Lemonade’s “I’m Sorry” podcast, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee)
Nataly Aukar (Netflix Is a Joke Festival, opened for Ramy Youssef, Hasan Minhaj and Gad El Maleh)
Dave Merheje (Comedy Network, MTV Live, CBC, and co-starring in “Ramy”)
Eman Morgan (Showtime, Netflix, Funny or Die)
Laura Laham (Best of the Fest in 2022’s Burbank Comedy Festival)
Salma Hindy (CBC’s “Laugh Out Loud,” CTV’s “Stand Up with Jon Dore,” and performed alongside Chelsea Handler, Ken Jeong, and more)
Nina Kharoufeh (The Food Network, TLC)
And many others!
Tickets for the 20th Anniversary National Tour of the NY Arab American Comedy Festival will be available for purchase through the respective venue’s box offices and websites. Stay tuned for additional announcements and surprises throughout the year.
ABOUT THE NEW YORK ARAB AMERICAN COMEDY FESTIVAL
Founded in 2003, the New York Arab American Comedy Festival has been a pioneering force in showcasing the talents of Arab American comedians and challenging stereotypes through humor. The festival serves as a platform for cultural expression and fosters understanding through laughter. Over the past two decades, it has gained widespread recognition and has become a launching pad for numerous successful careers in the entertainment industry. For more information about the festival, tour dates, participating comedians, and the year-long celebration, please visit www.arabcomedy.com.
ABOUT THE DORIS DUKE FOUNDATION
The Doris Duke Foundation (DDF) supports the well-being of people and the planet for a more creative, equitable and sustainable future. We operate five national programs—in the performing arts, the environment, medical research, child and family well-being, and mutual understanding between communities—as well as Duke Farms and Shangri La, two centers that directly serve the public. DDF’s Building Bridges Program works with U.S. Muslims to support national efforts to increase mutual understanding and well-being among diverse populations for the benefit of building stronger, inclusive communities. The program is anchored in the conviction that strategic use of the arts and media can help provide an effective social prescription for achieving this vision. Visit www.dorisduke.org to learn more.
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