NY Mirror


It was only a matter of time before Arabs learned what America’s black and Jewish comics have known for years: Stand-up is always deadlier backed by the use of stereotype. Playing with an endless reservoir of national paranoia and mistrust, this Arab American comedy outing promises three nights of canard-busting satire, sketch material, and film. The last three years have seen a blossoming of Arab comedy shows, and the second night of this festival shows off this effort; Dean Obeidallah, Maysoon Zayid, and Nasry Malak are among the new wave’s sharpest wits, boasting appearances on network television and Comedy Central. The night’s most useful lesson: how to catch a husband at INS special registration. The first night belongs to the comic playwrights, collectively mobilized to reclaim and celebrate Arab dysfunction. Nibras Collective’s sajjil is a patois of reflective archaeology and inside jokes. Another skit riffs on Lebanese talk shows, a genre screaming for parody. Betty Shamieh and John Kawie also restage scenes from their celebrated Fringe plays, Chocolate in Heat and Brain Freeze. Arab American comedy will never have another friend like John Ashcroft, so catch it while you can.