Updated: Jun 22
Whether or not you enjoy Middle Eastern stand-up comedy, you are in for a laugh with these talented performers.
I have attended a few of these performances in Boston and I remember belly laughing while listening to Maz Jobrani and Dean Obeidallah talking about their Middle Eastern/American heritage. I found it easy to relate to their humorous stories!
What is unique about these Middle Eastern/American comedians is their blend of culture and world-wide experiences. Much of the humor revolves around stereotypical issues such as trouble at the airport and what it's like being of Middle Eastern decent in America post 9/11. Yet, these talented folks include a personal side to their acts allowing us a glimpse into their lives and struggles. More recently, the content has become political and evolved into discussions around current immigration issues, the Palestinian / Jewish divide, President Trump, and more. These acts feature everything from political chatter to a rip-roaringly hilarious night of Middle Eastern comedy!
Here is a list of the most popular Middle Eastern stand up comedians that have performances in the US.
Ahmed Ahmed (Egyptian-American)
About: “Egyptian-American actor, comedian, producer, and director Ahmed Ahmed is one of the most diverse, multi-faceted talents in the entertainment industry today. In 2014, he can be seen starring as “Ahmed” on TBS’ hit comedy series Sullivan & Son. Executive Produced by Vince Vaughn, the show follows Steve Sullivan [Steve Byrne], a corporate lawyer who surprises his parents when he leaves his job to take over a bar owned by his father in Pittsburgh. Ahmed made his first appearance as unlucky in love, tow-truck driver [and best friend to Steve] “Ahmed” in season one, and joined the cast as a series regular in season two, quickly becoming a fan favorite. Ahmed is currently the only Arab-American actor playing a non-stereotypical role on a comedy sitcom, today.” [Read More]
Movies & Shows With Ahmed Ahmed:
Maz Jobrani (Iranian-American)
About: “Maz’s first original NETFLIX standup special “Immigrant” was filmed at the Kennedy Center and is currently available for streaming. He has also put out 3 other solo specials on SHOWTIME including: “Brown and Friendly”, “I Come in Peace”, and “I’m Not a Terrorist, But I’ve Played One on TV”. In the Spring of 2016 he performed at the White House where he had the privilege of introducing Michelle Obama. He was a founding member of The Axis of Evil Comedy Tour, which aired on Comedy Central.”
Maz starred as the title character in the award-winning indie comedy, JIMMY VESTVOOD: AMERIKAN HERO, a film which he co-wrote and co-produced and is now available on all major outlets online. He has co-starred in many films including Disney’s, DESCENDANTS, Sydney Pollack’s THE INTERPRETER and Ice Cube’s FRIDAY AFTER NEXT. [Read More]
Books by Maz Jobrani:
Movies & Shows With Maz Jobrani:
Aron Kader (Palestinian-American)
About: “Aron Kader has a unique outlook on the world that stems from being the product of a Palestinian/Mormon love child… sort of. He is the third of four sons born to Nancy, an American Mormon from Utah and Omar, the son of Palestinian immigrants, also from Utah.
Kader moved to Los Angeles at the age of 19 to pursue acting and stand-up comedy. He spent time in the legendary sketch theatre, The Groundlings, where he became a prominent member of the Sunday Company. In 2000 he became a regular at The World Famous Comedy Store in Hollywood after being discovered by the iconic store owner, Mitzi Shore.” [Read More]
Movies & Shows With Aron Kader:
Ronnie Khalil (Egyptian-American)
About: “Born in Miami and raised by Egyptian parents, Ronnie combines energy, intelligence and facial expressions to leave audiences laughing out loud and wondering, "sure he seems nice enough but why is he still following us?
Ronnie has headlined across four continents, taped two “Friday Night Live” Showtime Comedy specials in Dubai, including “Minorities Rule” and “New World Order”, both of which were shown across 14 countries in the Middle East, as well as "Stand-Up Australia," airing in Australia and New Zealand."
Ronnie has toured the United States as a guest performer with the “Axis of Evil”, performed with “Arabs Gone Wild”, has performed in sold-out shows across the Middle East and was part of the first-ever Amman Stand-up Comedy Festival in Jordan, as well as numerous other comedy festivals including the New York Underground, NY Arab-American, South Beach, Los Angeles and Boston Comedy Festivals. [Read More]
Maysoon Zayid (Palestinian-American)
About: Maysoon Zayid is an actress, comedian, writer, and disability advocate. She is a graduate of and a Guest Comedian in Residence at Arizona State University. Maysoon is the co-founder/co-executive producer of the New York Arab American Comedy Festival and The Muslim Funny Fest. She was a full-time On Air Contributor to Countdown with Keith Olbermann and a columnist for The Daily Beast. She has most recently appeared on Oprah Winfrey Networks In Deep Shift, 60 Minutes, and ABC News. Maysoon had the number one TED Talk of 2014 and was named 1 of 100 Women of 2015 by BBC. [Read More]
Movies & Shows With Maysoon:
Dean Obeidallah (Palestinian-American)
About: “Dean, a lawyer turned writer and award winning comedian, has been using his skills to both entertain and educate people for years. He’s the host of SiriusXM radio’s daily program “The Dean Obeidallah show” making him the first Muslim American to host a national radio show.
Dean is the co-director/co-producer of the comedy documentary entitled “The Muslims are Coming!” featuring a stand up comedy tour of Muslim-American comedians performing free shows across the South and West in the hopes of countering anti-Muslim bigotry. The film features interviews with a cross section of luminaries including The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, comedians Lewis Black, David Cross and many more.” [Read More]