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Larry Litt

Standup For Peace with Dean Obeidallah and Scott Blakeman
At The Society for Ethical Culture's Cultured Comedy Club
2 West 64th Street at Central Park West, NY, NY

Two critically acclaimed comics, both from culturally embattled New York City, one a Muslim-Roman Catholic named Dean Obeidallah, the other one famed nice Jewish boy Scott Blakeman. Each standing up alone onstage for 30 minutes, sweating, hoping the audience loves him, hoping there are attractive women hanging around after their performances, but most importantly both seeking to change the way the world sees the worsening Middle East crises with wit, wisdom, laughter and admirable friendship. It's a tough job for real men much less real humorists. These two comic missionaries of peace are up to it and succeeding wherever they perform.

Dean and Scott share a common philosophy, both believing strongly what most men on opposite sides of dangerous issues will never admit. Standup For Peace demonstrates their deepest belief that people who laugh together won't harm, maim, rape or kill each other. Because shared laughter is the way all the versions and varieties of the gods endeavor to decide who shall live together peacefully and who shall suffer the consequences of harmful humor.

Hostile laughter, racist, prejudiced, negative ethnic and gender jokes are just causes for shame. These low but easy stereotypical slights breed hostility in most cultures of the world. Where then can comics find suitable subjects for humor that won't insult the others' identity? Perhaps these two have learned something important in their years of performing.

They both find that their mutual targets, the butts of their best jokes, are the powerful elites that need the Middle East in perpetual, sometimes supposedly sacred and always dubious crisis, to serve their own positions and political end games. Israel appears poised for Armageddon alongside the not yet nationized Palestine aligning itself as an pro-Arabist country supported by the increasingly anti-American, German dominated European Union, not to mention the many other enemies of the America Corpocracy. What a crazy world we live in. What fodder for much needed humor in the face of oligrachy and imperial globalization.

I caught Standup For Peace at the NY Ethical Culture Society's Cultured Comedy Club. Politically correct and the loyal opposition, unlike the many college crowds these messengers of mirth play to, this group was already primed for their political barbs. Every reference to the Bush cabal and its cadre of conniving cabinetry sent up roars of laughter. This is the crowd that doesn't want the Republican National Convention in New York this summer for personal reasons. They believe Bush and his corrupt, confused conservatives are not our elected leaders, they are were appointed in a judicial coup and now threaten to become the bankrupters of our beloved, democratic nation.

I can't tell you how wonderful it is for me to see this dedicated duo, seeking dramatic, world shaking consciousness change, perform. They show audiences that Jews and Muslims not only can get along as comedy professionals, but that each can have a respectful sense of humor about themselves and the other's culture and politics. We need to support them, think like them, send them on the road around the world as ambassadors of peace and pleasure.

To get a schedule of their future appearances, go to www.ScottBlakeman.com or www.DeanObeidallah.com [Litt]

If you have any comments or want to notify me about performances or shows, you can e-mail me at humornet@aol.com.

Copyright © 2004 Larry Litt


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