Maysoon Zayid is an actress, comedian, disability advocate, and writer. 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 The Meredith Vieira Show. Maysoon had the number one TED Talk of 2014 and was named 1 of 100 Women of 2015 by BBC.
As a professional comedian, Maysoon has performed in top New York clubs and has toured extensively at home and abroad. She was a headliner on the Arabs Gone Wild Comedy Tour and The Muslims Are Coming Tour. Maysoon appeared alongside Adam Sandler in You Don’t Mess with the Zohan and is the founder of Maysoon’s Kids, a scholarship and wellness program for disabled refugee children. Maysoon walked in New York Fashion Week and is proud to be an ambassador for Kara Ross’s Diamonds Unleashed. She was delighted to be a 2013 honoree of United Cerebral Palsy NYC’s Women Who Care Awards and is honored to sit on their planning committee. www.Maysoon.com
DEAN OBEIDALLAHCo-producer of Festival / Comedian
Dean, an award winning comedian who was at one time a practicing attorney, has appeared on numerous TV shows including Comedy Central’s “The Nightly Show” and “Axis of Evil” special, ABC’s “The View,” “Comics Unleashed,” and he can be seen frequently on CNN and MSNBC.
Dean hosts SiriusXM radio’s new weekly national program “The Dean Obeidallah show” that features Muslim American voices discussing issues of the week. He’s also a columnist for The Daily Beast and writes frequently for CNN.com Opinion.
Dean co–directed the comedy documentary “The Muslims Are Coming!” that uses comedy to counter anti-Muslim and features such luminaries as The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart, Rachel Maddow, Aasif Mandvi, Lewis Black, Russell Simmons and more.
He also co-created the comedy show “Stand up for Peace” along with Jewish comic Scott Blakeman that they perform at colleges to bring Muslim and Jewish students together to laugh. In addition to performing comedy throughout the US, Dean has performed across the Middle East.
The senior Brown correspondent on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show for nine years, Aasif is also an award winning actor and playwright. Mandvi co-starred in HBO’s The Brink and in numerous movies including Million Dollar Arm, Today’s Special, Mother’s Day and The Last Airbender. He co-created the award winning online series “Halal in the Family” and is author of the book “No Land’s Man,” a new collection of personal essays, Mandvi writes about his acting career, his time on The Daily Show and his life as an immigrant.
Ali Al SayedComedian
Known as the region’s ‘First Local Professional Comedian’, Dubai’s Ali Al Sayed started writing, performing and producing comedy in 2008. His lightning fast wit and rapport with audiences has allowed him to perform in numerous shows on the iconic and historic Comic Strip Live in New York – Headlining in Caroline’s on Broadway, performing in the Gotham Comedy Club and the New York American Arab Comedy Festival. Ali has performed further major international gigs including the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and Theatre of Change Festival in Greece where he has taught on numerous occasions.
Ali Hassan is a stand-up comic, actor and host of Laugh Out Loud on CBC Radio and SiriusXM, a radio show with an international listenership of over 1 million people.On television, Ali can be seen in his recurring roles on Odd Squad (PBS Kids), Man Seeking Woman (FX), and the upcoming eOne/CTV mini-series Cardinal. Ali has also acted in the films Breakaway, French Immersion and GOON. Ali brings ten years of experience performing stand-up comedy internationally. He has performed at both the Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal and JFL42 in Toronto, the Amman Stand-Up Comedy Festival in Jordan, and this August he takes his solo show ‘Muslim, Interrupted’ to the Edinburgh Festival in the UK.
Aman Ali is an award winning storyteller in New York City and one of the most popular social media personalities in the Muslim community today. His passionate and animated tales he regularly posts to Facebook continue to go viral by the thousands daily. He’s made appearances on dozens of media outlets such as the New York Times, CNN, HBO, BBC, and NPR to talk about his upbringing as a young Muslim born and raised in America. He was recently named by YouTube as a “Content Creator to Watch” and his latest film was one of the most buzzed about projects at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival.
Atheer is a Palestinian-American raised in both Alabama and Palestine. She started performing comedy after moving to New York City, and hopes to either make a living at it, or at least redefine what American audiences think when they hear the words “Arab” and “bomb” in the same sentence. She co-hosts a monthly stand up show in NYC, Shady Pines Comedy Hour.
AZHAR USMAN is a Chicago-based standup comedian, actor, writer, and producer. CNN called him “America’s Funniest Muslim,” and Georgetown University identified him as “one of the 500 Must Influential Muslims in the World.” In 2010, standup icon Dave Chappelle–for whom Azhar has opened over 40 times–commented “Azhar Usman is untouchable.” As the co-founder of the international comedy showcase “Allah Made Me Funny––The Official Muslim Comedy Tour,” he has toured over 20 countries, on five continents. His comedy has been profiled/reviewed by over 100 major world media outlets including The New York Times, The Economist, BBC, The Guardian, NPR, TIME Magazine, Al-Jazeera, USA Today, and Fox News.
Dina Hashem first tried stand-up by auditioning for the 2010 New Jersey Comedy Festival at Rutgers University. After winning 1st place, she continued to pursue comedy and has since been performing regularly at clubs including Broadway Comedy Club, New York Comedy Club, Caroline’s, Comic Strip Live, and The Stress Factory.
Dina’s style involves a subdued delivery with (often dark) observations about her life and cultural upbringing. She has performed at the Bridgetown Comedy Festival, Boston Comedy Festival, Limestone Comedy Festival, and Burbank Comedy Festival. Her writing has also been featured on the websites of Comedy Central’s Indecision Forever, CC Insider, and Nickelodeon.
Since her comedy debut Eman El-Husseini has racked up an impressive list of credits. Traveling across Canada, the U.S and the Middle East she covers a wide range of topics, from how lesbians are the new gentlemen to her parents’ wedding anniversary landing on, you guessed it, September 11th. Her latest accomplishment is obtaining a green card for being an Alien of Extraordinary Ability, you heard right, that’s how good her comedy is!! Her festival appearances include the prestigious Montreal Just for Laughs fest (3 times), JFL42, the Cape Fear Comedy Festival and of course the beloved New York Arab American Comedy Festival, to name a few. She really wants you to follow her on instagram and twitter @emanifique
Gibran Saleem was born in North Carolina and raised in Virginia in a Pakistani household. He started comedy while attending graduate school for psychology at New York University. While attending school he was individually handpicked as an MVP nominee on the national TBS Rooftop Comedy College Competition and was a 2 time recipient of the UCB diversity scholarship. Since then Gibran has been featured on MTV Iggy, Popcorn Flix, PBS, CUNY TV, VOA and performed his stand-up television debut on Gotham Comedy Live for AXS TV. He has been featured nationally in the prestigious New York Comedy Festival, Boston Comedy Festival, Out of Bounds Festival in Austin, Texas, The Big Sky Festival in Billings, Montana and won 1st place in the Hoboken Comedy Festival. This summer Gibran was the focus of a new international documentary series on NHK TV called Asian Dreamers: Brown is Funny. Recently Gibran was 1 of 6 individuals selected out of 1,000 submissions to be a part of the exclusive NBC Universal Late Night TV Writer’s Workshop. Currently he resides in NYC performing and working on a new series in which he created and wrote.
Most-known for his 2013 viral video “No Woman, No Drive”. Hisham started performing stand-up while working on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. During his Master’s at Columbia University, he studied improvisational comedy at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater (UCBT). Also while procrastinating; he started a web series (اسبوعيات هشام) which propelled him into an Arabic stand-up scene in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia- where he now resides with his beautiful wife and his low self-esteem. Fageeh has starred in movies internationally, such as “From A to B” (actually, it was just a cameo), and many other movies he writes in his head but is never man enough to make.
Mo Amer – Dubbed ‘Arab-American Bill Cosby,’ Mohammed “Mo” Amer performed worldwide — for U.S. troops overseas, and “Allah Made Me Funny—The Official Muslim Comedy Tour,” Las Vegas Comedy Festival, Malmo Arts Festival (Sweden), Amman Comedy Festival (Jordan), World’s Funniest Island Festival (Australia), in Johannesburg, and L.A. His comedy focuses on religion, terror, and politics – through his family’s experiences. Mo is developing his solo show, “Legally Homeless-Trials of a Refugee,” a feature length docu-comedy.
Negin Farsad was named one of the 50 Funniest Women by the Huffington Post and was selected as a TEDFellow for her work in social justice comedy. She has written for/appeared on Comedy Central, MTV, PBS, IFC, Nickelodeon and others. She is director/producer of the feature films Nerdcore Rising starring Weird Al Yankovic and The Muslims Are Coming! starring Jon Stewart, David Cross and Lewis Black (both available on Netflix). Her next film 3rd Street Blackout, starring Janeane Garofalo and Ed Weeks will be released in 2016.
Known as the founder of “Allah Made Me Funny”- The Official Muslim Comedy Tour, is better know as the “poor righteous teacher” from his days as a young performer coming up in the industry. A writer for Hollywood heavyweights like Damon Wayans, George Lopez, and Darrell Hammond on Saturday Night Live, Preacher Moss had proven his value across many levels of stand-up, activism, and community empowerment.His material has been described as “smooth, intelligent, and thought provoking”, as his comedy simultaneously occupies two spaces, at the same time. Moss makes you laugh and think. A master craftsman, and storyteller, his comedy is a reminder of the old school art of “comedy as protest, and enlightenment.”
Few dispute Moss’ abilities on stage. Many have described his work as something akin to watching and a veteran jazz musician fill in the scales with notes that ultimately make the world smile. His simplicity is the definition of what’s right, and what matters in life. His experiences as a comedian, writer, lecturer, Muslim, African-American, and poor righteous teacher are the sum of all his parts. Ultimately he is the storyteller on the corner that shares the good news, and sometime the bad, but always as sincere as he is comedic.
Ramy Youssef is an actor and comedian from New Jersey. He currently stars in the Nick at Nite sitcom, See Dad Run, alongside Scott Baio and Mark Curry. He is half of the award-winning NYC sketch duo, Inside Joke Films, who have been official selections at the Chicago, San Francisco, and New York Sketch Comedy Festivals. He currently resides in Los Angeles, where he misses New York.
Sabeen Sadiq is a comedian and writer based in Chicago. She began her career in comedy at The Second City, using improvisational comedy as a gateway to the stand-up comedy scene. Living in San Francisco for a brief period, she coproduced several shows and performed all over the Bay area at several popular venues including Cobbs Comedy Club and the San Jose Improv. Currently she resides in Chicago performing stand-up all over the city, and is a regular at The Laugh Factory.
Said Durrah is an Muslim American Comedian originally from Detroit Michigan. His comedy is inspired by the stories of his childhood as well as the endless comedy material gained by having a dad from Jordan and a mother from Gaza Palestine. He has performed with Allah Made Me Funny, Arabs Gone Wild, The Funatical Comedy Tour, as well as the 1001 Laughs Comedy Tour in Palestine this past summer. He has performed on Broadway, at Carnegie Hall in NYC, as well as The Kennedy Center in Washington DC. Catch him on your favorite social media @saidsworld
Sana Khan is a rising star on the NYC comedy scene, performing and hosting comedy shows throughout the city. She’s also made a quick name for herself on the storytelling scene as a recent winner of The Moth Storytelling Slam, talking about the first time she flew post 9-11, as a Muslim in America. An expanded version of the story is also available on iTunes through the RISK! podcast. She titled the story #AllahBlessAmerica in hopes that it would trend on Twitter and confuse extremists on all sides. And she can sing!
Suzie was born and raised in Jericho, in the West Bank. Her dad was a welder and her mom was a reluctant farmer. When she was fourteen her family immigrated to San Jose, California. She attended San Jose State University then pretended to be a tax professional until her husband decided on a whim to move to Dubai. She lived in Dubai for three years doing random jobs, none of which made her Pakistani in-laws proud. In 2007, she delivered a boy in a government hospital in Dubai, she misses their food to this day. In 2008, the little family of three moved to NYC. In 2013, she started doing stand up because no one read her blog. When she is not doing stand up, she pretends to exercise and is very busy not writing. Her long term goal is be able to entertain from bed. She is available for any kind of event, seriously, anything.
America’s favorite comedian, Wali Collins has appeared on Comedy Central, Late Night with David Letterman and recently Byron Allen’s “Comics Unleashed”. Wali was also voted the #1 comedian for corporate events. Wali has appeared in over 30 international TV commercials. This summer, he will be in the new Stanley Tucci film,”Blue Angel” And later this year will appear in Baz Lurmahn’s new Netflix series,”The Get Down”.
Zahra Noorbakhsh is a Feminist, Muslim, Iranian-American comedian. She is cohost of the #GoodMuslimBadMuslim podcast which recently became the first podcast to be invited to record an episode on White House grounds. The New Yorker Magazine dubbed her one woman show, “All Atheists are Muslim” a highlight of the Int’l NYC Fringe Theater Festival. Her newest show, “Hijab and Hammerpants” made its debut on the Snap Judgment LIVE stage at the Paramount Theater in Oakland. Keep up with her at ZahraComedy.com.
Funding was provided by the Building Bridges Program at the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art, which is an extension of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. The mission of the Building Bridges Program is to advance relationships, increase understanding and reduce bias between Muslim and non-Muslim communities.