The festival was founded in 2003 by comedian Dean Obeidallah and comedienne and actress Maysoon Zayid to showcase the talents of Arab-American actors, comics, playwrights and filmmakers, and challenge as well as inspire our fellow Arab-Americans to create outstanding works of comedy.
The 2004-2011 festivals were an overwhelming success, with many nights playing to standing room only crowds, showcasing a diverse group of Arab-American comedic plays, stand up comics and short comedic films, with the participation of close to 50 Arab-American artists.
Each year, we have been able to successfully achieve our main goal of increasing the visibility of talented Arab-American artists as well as attracting positive attention for the Arab-American community. A first ever Industry Showcase of the New York Arab-American Comedy Festival took place in Hollywood, CA, in January 2006, and was extremely successful in introducing writers, directors and actors to casting directors and agents in the heart of the US television and film industry.
The festival has progressively received positive media coverage with each year in numerous national and local media outlets including: ABC News, WBAI radio, The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, The Village Voice, The NY Daily News, The Guardian, The Herald News, Time Out New York, the nationally syndicated radio program Democracy Now, and in various international, national and local Arab-American publications. Browse Press Clips.
In addition, representatives from various casting and talent agencies and television networks continue to attend the festival in search of fresh and new talent, including NBC, CBS, and Comedy Central. Our performers have been seen on CNN, MSNBC, PBS, in major motion pictures, as well as television and on Broadway.
The success of the past eight festivals have visibly benefited both the artists' careers, as well as had an influence on the positive image of Arab-Americans through the media coverage we received. These accomplishments have shown that our Arab-American artists are crossing over into more mainstream entertainment venues.
The New York Arab-American Comedy Festival is a registered US non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. If you would like to support our not-for-profit festival with a donation, please contact Dean Obeidallah at Dean@arabcomedy.org