for your Church, Mosque or Synagogue in the US, Canada, Israel or the Arab World
90 minutes of
CLEAN ... CHRISTIAN ... PALESTINIAN ... HILARIOUS
LAUGHING THROUGH TEARS
London Ch 4 Profile of Ray Hanania's
Ray Hanania's Podcasts
Power of Humor Power Point
Review show structure & topics? (No foul language or bad words)
"If we can
laugh together, we can live together ... Humor is one way to bring
Palestinians and Israelis together and to fight the growing extremism that
keeps them apart in both our communities. "
Hanania received the 2006 Best Ethnic Columnist Award from the New America Media for columns he wrote for YnetNews.com. This is an interview on UpFront Radio discusses the columns and the focus on the commonality of Arabs and Israelis, Jews and Palestinians. Audio only. 12 minutes in length. Broadcast in November 2006.
Ray Hanania is the most-written about Arab and Palestinian comedian in America today. His stand-up comedy act and Middle East satire have been featured by every national and most international media, including:
News Coverage: (sampling)
Comedy Festivals: (Sampling)
Comedy Performances: (Sampling)
NPR profile of Ray and Alison Hanania's unique Arab-Jewish marriage
Atlanta Jewish Times Feb. 26, 2004 -- Read it?
Ray Hanania's Arab-Jewish comedy act is intended to promote peace and understanding through humor, stand-up comedy and political and social satire.
Arab-Jewish Comedy at it's finest
"It isn't enough to have an
Arab and a Jew on stage. We need to break the barriers that divide
Palestinians and Jews. That's why Ray Hanania's comedy is so important. He
brings Palestinians and Jews together ... "
I offer several kinds of performances:
Professional stand-up comedy: Original material written for performances at comedy clubs around the country. Feature Act (30 minutes) and Headliner (60 minutes)
One Man Show: A humorous introduction that puts the audience into the context of the Post-Sept. 11 world and the power of humor; 60 minutes of stand-up comedy and humor; concluding humor essay.
Titles: "Everyone loves Abdullah" ... "One Palestinian, One Piece "
Ethnicity in America -- the Arab/Muslim
experience (60 % of material)
Though I am Orthodox Christian (one of the few Palestinian Christian professional comedians, humorists and writers in the country) I also speak to the issues facing Muslims in America, mainly because we share the same stereotype and experience. Most Americans view me and other "Arabs" -- regardless of their religion -- as Muslim, an error on their part that I am very proud to defend. Though I am a Christian, I am Muslim by culture.
As a Palestinian peace activist, I also use humor to help Palestinian, Jewish, Arab and Israeli audiences recognize the humanity that exists behind the tragic headlines we face in the Middle East conflict. My wife and son are Jewish and I understand the Jewish faith.
Ray Hanania's comedy is
based in a history of professional humor writing, beginning with his columns
in the Chicago Sun-Times lampooning his experiences through airport security
in the 1980s and 1990s, and his humor book, I'm Glad I Look Like a
Terrorist: Growing Up Arab in America. They also include humor columns
written for publications like Newsweek Magazine (Nov. 1998) and the more.
Humor is what we need
As the events of the Middle East continue to spiral into worsening bloodshed and violence, and in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and destruction of the World Trade Center's Twin Towers, we all need to take a break. It's not that we have to pretend the violence isn't taking place. But we need to counter the tragedy. We also need to find new ways to break through the divisions that separate Arabs and Jews. The best way to do that is through humor. And, I've decided to turn to humor both as a self-healing medium to ease the personal trauma, but also as a way to soften the hatred that is consuming some in the American public.
My stand-up comedy routine doesn't cross the line and I don't make fun of religion. But, we Arab Americans need to soften our own image for Americans. We can't expect them to shoulder the burden to better understand us. We have to do our part. And nothing is more effective in reaching the hearts and minds of Americans than humor.Many of the jokes address stereotypes that already exist about Arab Americans. For example, I jest about Berqas (complete head-to-toe clothing covering for women) and also Honor Killings, a practice common in many countries including the Arab World. I ridicule these because they are wrong and are not sacred.The humor is intended to soften that view, to take the edge off of the hatred as a means of breaking down hatred, negative stereotypes, misunderstanding, but more importantly, to show the American people that we, Arab Americans, have a sense of humor. We are not fanatics who live for murder and killing, but people who are like you and me. We are no different.I HAVE TWO ROLE MODELS:One of my role models is Jerry Seinfeld, who is a Jewish-Arab comedian. His mother is from a Jewish family from Damascus, Syria and grew up in the Syrian Jewish community in Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn. After the tragedy of September 11th, 2001, Seinfeld did several comedy appearances to help raise nearly $1.9 million for Mayor Guiliani's Twin Tower's Fund. In his biography, Seinfeld notes "It (comedy) identifies us as Americans ... what I would call classic American behavior, an act of defiance and a way of striking back. Ironic humor ... people coming back with a vengeance, returning to our lives with great glee." Additionally, Seinfeld flopped on his first stand-up .. but went on to great things ... another comedian I admire is David Brenner who I once interviewed as a reporter writing the celebrity column for the Chicago Sun-Times "Page 10."My second role is Danny Thomas. As a child, I remember our family scheduling a gathering in front of the TV to watch Danny Thomas, the only Arab American on television in the 50s and 60s. He was a tremendous role model. His humor was clean, funny and despite being restricted by the times, he still managed to inject Arab American issues. The character of his Uncle Tannous always prompted a healthy laugh.All my jokes are original, written by me. They are delivered respectfully, but without inhibition. The jokes I say in jest are now said in anger and are harmful in a far greater way than the humor I offer. I figure, maybe if an American sees me laughing at a stereotype about Arabs, they might laugh too, and the stereotype might not be as important to them as it was. If I laugh about it, why not them too?I will update this page regularly with information on dates and locations for my stand-up comedy performances, and will also post related articles and columns for your enjoyment.Humor, by itself, is not the answer. But, it can make a difference for many Americans on how they view Arab Americans, Arab culture and even Arab causes. We need to present ourselves as something other than politically emotional Arab terrorists.Nothing can make a person cry more, than humor!
FROM RAY HANANIA
We have got to get Arabs and Jews to stop killing each other ... We're both emotional people. One day, we're hugging and kissing. The next day, we're bombing and bashing.
We go from humping each other's legs to bashing each other's brains. We need to get back to humping each other's legs.
Jackie Mason. Have the courage to call me. I don't mind trading punches for punch lines, and I prefer that to violence and death. But, we can do even more.
Arab American comedians are taking a leaf from the book of Jewish American comedy, and how it was successful in fighting anti-Semitism. The Borscht Belt is famous and there are some great comics, the most recent ones being Jerry Seinfeld and David Brenner.
I am proud to be involved in helping to define, with other Arab and Muslim American comedians, the new Baba Ghanoush Belt! But like the rest of the Arab and Muslim community, serious divisions exist. Some comics don't recognize the power of strength in networking and are upset that other "Arab" comedians have risen. Someone who bad mouths someone is actually reflecting themselves in a bad way.
I'm happy to do what I can to help everyone. Just ask.
Baba Ghanoush Belt
Now available online:
"It is important that Palestinians and Israelis stand up together to confront the growing animosity between our two peoples, to denounce extremism and hatred, to act to reduce the animosity between our two peoples. And while we can have a healthy and energetic and even passioned debate about the issues, we need not be disagreeable in our disagreement. Palestinians must not resort to anti-Semitism in arguing their legitimate concerns, and Israelis must not be defamatory in denouncing criticism of Israel as being anti-Semitic. We must stand for one principle and apply it fairly to both sides and when we do, we will contribute towards bringing peace to both our peoples."
-- Ray Hanania, January 3, 2004
ALSO BOOK IN CHICAGOLAND
Call Ray Hanania at 312-933-9855
View this 9 Minute Comedy Sampler Now?
"The Arab Woody Allen"
Ray Hanania is an award-winning journalist, nationally syndicated columnist, author and one of the country's few Arab (Palestinian) American stand-up comedians and satirists. He is the only Palestinian to write a humor AND serious column for a web site owned by a major Israeli newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth's www.YnetNews.com (2004-2007) and now writes for the Jerusalem Post Newspaper and MidEastYouth.com.
Hanania made his mark in journalism as a hard-hitting
Chicago City Hall reporter (1976 through 1992). But he always had a
flare for the lighter side. In 1988, he authored one of the nation's
first humor profiles on growing up Arab in America for Chicago Magazine
In 1996, he published the humor book, "YA HABIBI: Growing up Arab in America." The humor in his book helped start some of the Arab community's first comedians. In 1998, he authored a humor column for NEWSWEEK Magazine lampooning the profiling of Arabs at airports. His most recent humor book is "Slice of Life," a collection of his award winning humor columns.
Hanania has performed his unique stand-up comedy at Taste of Chicago, Caroline's on Broadway, Brandeis University, and at Arab festivals in Seattle, Milwaukee and Dallas.
He is one of the most covered Arab comedians in the country. His comedy addresses a wide range of topics including an Arab and Muslim theme regarding growing up Arab in America. And, Hanania lampoons his real-life marriage to his wife who is Jewish. The comedy topics expand far beyond ethnic humor. They include topics from his years as a political reporter covering Chicago City Hall and regional American politics, to everyday life featured in his many humor columns published in newspapers around the country.
Hanania avoids using foul language or four-letter words in his act, which sets him apart from some other known Arab and non-Arab professional comedians. Positive reviews of his show are widespread.
After performing some 30 shows at Zanies Comedy Club in Chicago, he was removed from the show in August 2002 when Jewish comedian and conservative columnist Jackie Mason refused to perform with a Palestinian American comedian. The owners of Zanies Comedy Club, who tried to exploit the rare Palestinian-Jewish combination, contributed to the conflict that ensued. (Read the pre-controversy interview with Hanania before he was attacked by Mason's supporters.)
While some Arab comedians put down other Arabs and Muslims for pursuing comedy after Sept. 11th, Hanania believes that the world is a big place and there is more than enough room for competition. He works to help other Arabs and Muslims enter stand-up comedy, humor writing and satire. He has dedicated his life to defending the rights of Arabs and Muslims in America.
He is proud to be have been a supporter of the first annual New York Arab ComedyFest. He often partners with Egyptian American comedian Sherif and also Jewish American comedian Aaron Freeman in shows.
Hanania hails from an Orthodox Christian family. His father is from Jerusalem and his mother is from Bethlehem.
Call and check on booking him
If you are a producer looking to script a TV sitcom on an Arab-Jewish marriage with all the potential humor involved, contact me because "Everyone Loves Abdullah" can work!
to book Ray Hanania
today for stand-up comedy
NPR profile of Ray and Alison Hanania
Gulf News April 27, 2006. Read Feature?
Atlanta Jewish Times
Profiled in The Progressive Magazine,
Dec. 2004 Issue
Read profile in Stars
humor profile in the
with Aaron Brown
US Dept. of State
report on Hanania
Salt Lake Tribune Newspaper Feature Nov. 16, 2002
WGN TV Interview, April 12, 2002 View video?
Interview with HananiaWhy Humor?
WBEZ Report on Jackie Mason banning
Wall Street Journal story: Sept. 18, 2002
ABCNEWS.COM, Article on Arab Comedians Read It?
WILL Radio Interview, July 11, 2002
NEWSWEEK, April 22 issueRead story?
Eagle Newspaper (College) Sept. 10, 2002
As America finds itself
in the throes of a national tragedy, what place is there for comedy?
BY CHRIS WRIGHT , (published at Phoenix.com,
Oct. 11 - 18, 2001)
Ray Hanania on why a humor routine?
E! OnLIne Report on Hanania-Mason flap
United Kingdom Comedy Guide Chortle.com Sept. 2002
Curtis & Kuby MSNBC TV Show Sep. 2002
Phil Donahue Show Aug. 30, 2002
Profiled in The Progressive
Magazine, Dec. 2004 Issue
Air America Radio, The Laura
Interview in THIS WEEK IN
PALESTINE, November 2004
Pre-Jackie Mason Controversy Interview (before it was distorted by Mason and Zanies management).
Read feature in HAARETZ, the
Israeli Daily Newspaper
Daily Southtown Feature on
Comedy for Peace (TM) fundraiser at Riddles Comedy Club (Feb. 25, 2004)
Read Feature in New
Read profile in Stars
Read humor profile in the
Hanania joins other Arab comedians at New York Comedy Club, & performs at Caroline's on Broadway (Nov. 2002) View story and pictures?
Review of Arab Comedy Night in New York Nov. 3, 2002 by LebNet
Arab American Business Magazine feature
Cleveland Plain Dealer Column on comedy
CNN Feature on Arab Comedy, Jan. 2, 2003: View Video?
The Wall Street Journal ... standup comedy review: Sep. 18, 2002
Washington Report on Middle East Affairs review November 2002
The Shah of Arab Humor;
the Sheik of Middle East Jokes;
the King of Arab American Comedy ...
... just off the FBI's 10 Most Wanted List ... on leave from a stint at Camp X-Ray in Cuba ... the man you hope isn't sitting next to you on your vacation flight. Hanania's comic role model is Arab comedian Jerry Seinfeld, yes the son of a Syrian Arab mother who is Jewish from Damascus, Syria, Betty Hesney.