Ali Al Sayed
Ali Al Sayed, dubbed “Dubai's number one comic,” had a great year performing in the Middle East, Europe, UK, and North America. Rolling Stone M.E. named him "King of Laughter." He was also listed in the "Most Influential Comedians in the World for 2011” by Toastmaster Magazine and has been nominated in the "Personality of the Year" category in "Best in Dubai" awards (to be held in November).
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.
TV: Guest starred in the critically acclaimed series “Homeland” and 2 episodes in “Damges”. Broadway: "Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo" starring Robin Williams. Past credits: Co-starred in Emmy Award-winning film "Death of a President", Comedy Central's "The Watch List," NY Fringe Festival's “Meanwhile in Baghdad” and “Alternative Methods.” Hend was recently chosen for the second time to voice FENDI’s newest ad campaign across the Middle East.
Mike Batayeh, Actor/Comic/Writer, is a headlining comic at The Laugh Factory and Improv. Mike was one of the first wave of Western Comics to bring comedy to Dubai, Lebanon, Israel and Egypt. He guest-starred on “Breaking Bad” and co-starred alongside: Adam Sandler in “Don’t Mess With the Zohan”, Tony Shalhoub in “American East”, and Dennis Quaid in “American Dreams.” Mike is a lead and producer in “Detroit Unleaded,” premiering at this year's Toronto Film Festival.
Actor (2008, 2011, 2012)
Leila Ben-Abdallah is excited to return for her fourth New York Arab-American Comedy Festival! A graduate of the William Esper Studio Two-Year Professional training program, Leila has appeared on stage and on screen, recently in the short film, “Sides of the Track” (Munkytown Productions), and as a member of the improv team, Decent Proposal, performing Sunday nights at The People’s Improv Theater.
Rami Boraie got his start in comedy in Cairo, Egypt and has since taken his act all around the world. From Germany to his homeland of Canada, Rami has been leaving audiences laughing at his sharp, observational humor. He still cries at the end of The Notebook.
Bethel Caram and Neil Potter
Writers (2004–2006, 2008–2012); Actors (2004–2006, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012)
Bethel Caram and Neil Potter have written and performed close to a dozen original shows across the country. Some of their favorites include: Legs Wide Shut at the Bank Street Theater (NYC), Insomnia at the West Bank Theatre (NYC), Faking It, Again at the HBO Workspace in Los Angeles, and The Grey Area which won critical acclaim at The Barrow Group Theatre (NYC) and then moved to the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre (NYC). Neil and Bethel perform throughout New York City, including PSNBC, The P.I.T., and Caroline’s on Broadway. They host a monthly variety show in New York called, The Blue Plate Special, and are proud to have been a part of the New York Arab-American Comedy Festival as both writers and actors for many years now.
Chicago-based touring comedian, Khaled Dalek, was born in Texas to (mostly) Palestinian parents and raised in Indiana next door to his Lebanese grandmother. He brings a fresh, smart perspective to comedy because of his experiences as the child of Arab immigrants, caught in the tug-of-war between his parents' culture and Khaled's life as a first-generation Arab-American. His comedy focuses on lived experiences, stories of a family that settled into a predominantly black neighborhood and outside-of-the-box interpretations of human behavior
Comedian (2006, 2004, 2008–2012); Writer (2009); Actor (2009)
Stand-up comedian, Joe DeRosa, has appeared on HBO’s Bored to Death, FX’s Louie, in his own Comedy Central special, and as a regular on Sirius/XM’s The Opie and Anthony Show and Fox News' Redeye. He has released the comedy albums: "The Depression Auction," "Return of the Son of Depression Auction,” and is preparing a third album. Joe co-authored, starred in, and directed CHEAT, with Bill Burr and Robert Kelly, which premiered at Tribeca Film Festival.
Twitter: @joederosacomedy | Contact: Conan Smith at Apostle – (212) 541-4323
Originally born in Detroit Michigan, Said Durrah (Palestinian-Jordanian American) is from the Washington DC area. He has performed at the New York Arab-American Comedy Festival and on hit tours such as: Arabs Gone Wild, 1001 Laughs, Funactical Comedy, and on Broadway. He has performed in many famous venues like the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, and he spends much of his time performing for Arab and Muslim Organizations all over the world. Labeled “The One To Watch” by media outlets.
Mike Easmeil, a comedian/writer of Palestinian heritage, is excited to again be part of the New York Arab-American Comedy Festival. A veteran of stand-up comedy, Mike first performed 16 years ago at Groucho's Comedy Club in Virginia while completing his communications degree. His clean, clever comedy pokes fun of himself, his family, and life's absurdities. In addition to owning a restaurant, being a husband and father of three, Mike performs at charity functions and comedy clubs on the East Coast.
In her first year, Eman founded and produced BOOM (Best of Open Mic) in Montreal. She has appeared in the New York Arab-American Comedy Festival (2008-2012), Amman Comedy Festival (2009), Just for Laughs Festival (2010, 2012) and Ha!lifax Comedy Festival (2012). Eman has toured across the U.S., Canada, and Middle East. Her producing credits include: Kosher Jokes for the Halaladays (2010-2012), She's Canadian, Eh! (2011-2012), and Eman's Comedy Now! (on Comedy Network). She has recorded with CBC's Debaters.
Hisham Fageeh is an up-and-coming Arab-American stand-up comedian who performs in both Arabic and English. Is currently pursuing his Master's Degree at Columbia. Studies improv and sketch writing at the UCB Theater and the Magnet Theater. Recently made his Middle Eastern television debut in the series Shift al-Leil (Night Shift). Best known for his viral hit Iss'boo'iyat Hisham (Hisham's Weeklies). Performed at the 2011 Big Brown Christmas Comedy Show.
Making her debut at the NYAACF this year, Nour Hadidi is an Avid List-Maker, Lip-synching Enthusiast, and Comedian living in Montréal (Say quoi?). Born and raised in Amman, Jordan she moved to Montréal in 2006 where she sustained a growth spurt in her funny bones.
She was a board member of the McGill Arab Student Association, helping launch their first annual talent show in 2009 for which she wrote and performed several sketches, eventually hosting the show in its third year. Nour performed at the Montréal Comedy Sketch Festival in 2010, and segued into Stand-Up shortly after that. She is a regular in the Montréal Stand-Up scene, performing at the Montreal leg of the “We Ain’t Terrorists” show in 2011 and is secretly hoping to meet Seth Meyers while in New York (sshh!).
Mohannad is a Lebanese chap living in DC. He's a Civil Engineer who lived and worked in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, England and the USA. One night he went to the DC Improv and got inspired by the stage and thespot light! Seven fortune cookies later, he decided to take a stand-up class and did his first gig at the DC Improv on March 27, 2012 and has since performed at different events and occasions.
Luai Hodi, from Chicago, is a stand-up, improv, and sketch comedian that performs throughout the USA. He loves NYC and is looking forward to NY hotdogs, Taylor Ham and Egg sandwiches and perfecting the art of pizza folding. He is coming to NYC with his hopes set high and a suitcase full of cheese and hummus that he must deliver to his cousins in NJ…it may not get delivered…he will work for food.
Aron grew up in Washington D.C. He is a genius at impressions and tackles sensitive political subjects with humor. Aron is a founding member of “The Axis of Evil Comedy Tour.” He starred on Comedy Central’s “Premium Blend”, “The Shield,” F/X, VH1, E!, and CNN. Aron has been featured on NPR, in The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, and TIME. Kader has performed on Comedy Central’s “The Watch List,” and NBC’s “Beverly Hills SUV.”
Comedian (2009–2012); Writer (2010)
Baha Khalil is a Falahi-Palestinian-American who was born and raised in South Paterson (Little-Palestine), NJ. His stand-up comedy stems from his experiences stuck between two worlds: Arab & American.
He got his start in stand-up in May of 2009 and ever since he’s been asked to perform at universities, comedy clubs, festivals, and fundraisers. He’ll sometimes bring his guitar on stage and thrives on coming up with new material for upcoming shows.
A Lebanese/Palestinian-American Soprano and Voice Student of Arturo Spinetti, Sarah Lucero is a graduate of New Jersey City University with B.A. in Music Business. Television appearances include: Hosting the ART series, Min America, and commercials. She performed at New Jersey Arab American Heritage Commission's induction ceremony, and various fundraising events. She has performed with DiCapo Opera Company NYC and is currently a Cantor at St. Rocco R.C. Church in Union City, NJ.
Raad Missmar is an up-and-coming Arab-American comedian who was born in Jordan and grew up in Saudi Arabia, before finally settling in Washington D.C. He is a regular on the Washington D.C. comedy scene and has performed at venues including the D.C. Improv, Riot Act, and Magooby’s. Raad uses comedy to highlight his hilarious experiences living and working as an Arab immigrant in America.
Eman Morgan, an Egyptian-American comedian, was born and raised in Los Angeles and has become one of the hottest and funniest Middle Eastern comedians today. He performs across the country and thrives off of performing for anyone, anywhere, at anytime. Alongside of comedy, he has also launched his very own Short Tie Necklace Accessory line. He can be seen on Showtime, on FunnyorDie.com, and as a regular performer at the world-famous Laugh Factory in Hollywood.
Comedian (2008–2011); Filmmaker (2007)
Remy Munasifi ("GoRemy") is a YouTube partner and comedian from Arlington, Virginia. His works include "Hey There Khalilah," "Saudis in Audis," and "A-R-A-B: The Rap." His latest EP, "The Falafel Album," is available now on Comedy Central Records.
Actor (2005, 2006, 2008, 2011, 2012)
Al Nazemian graduated from Brown University with a Theatre B.A. TV credits include: "Damages," "Law & Order," "Rubicon," "Saturday Night Live" & "Late Night with Conan O'Brien." Al portrayed a character in the video game "Max Payne 3". He played Farukh in "Tied to a Chair," Dr. Bea in "Teknolust," Raj in "Nola," Ali in "Love" and Nimble in "Zenith." Al owns Noor Productions, which produces films dealing with the Middle East. This is Al's sixth NYAACF appearance.
Lebanese-Palestinian-Syrian-Italian-American-born in Oakland California, Sammy Obeid applies his UC Berkeley business and mathematics majors into creating laughter. Recently appearing on NBC’s America’s Got Talent, Sammy’s style was described as “intelligent,” “inspiring,” and “a youthful perspective that reaches all ages.” Sammy toured with CoExist Comedy and the Axis of Evil New Generation and has worked with Robin Williams, Russell Peters, Dana Carvey, and more. He is also the founder of his own comedy enterprise, KO Comedy.
FESTIVAL CO-FOUNDER & CO-EXECUTIVE PRODUCER (2003-2012); DIRECTOR: AN ARAB OF CONVENIENCE (2009); WRITER/DIRECTOR: A WORD FROM OUR SPONSOR (2009), ARAB PRESIDENT (2008), AND NOW ANOTHER WORD FROM OUR SPONSORS... AND A FEW GOOD ARABS (SHORT PROMO) (2006), AND NOW A WORD FROM OUR SPONSORS... (2005); WRITER: LOVE LETTER (2008); ACTOR: AN ARAB OF CONVENIENCE (2009); COMEDIAN (2003-2012)
Born in the Great State of New Jersey, Dean's comedy comes in large part from his unique background of being the son of a Palestinian father and a Sicilian mother. Dean, an award winning comedian who was at one time a practicing attorney, is currently touring with his show "Dean Obeidallah for Vice President." He writes a column for CNN.com's Opinion page and appears on CNN weekly.
He also is the co-director/co-producer of the upcoming documentary entitled, “The Muslims Are Coming!” about a free comedy tour of American-Muslim comedians across the Deep South and West. The documentary also features interviews with celebrities such as The Daily Show's Jon Stewart, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow and comedians Lewis Black and David Cross. (www.themuslimsarecoming.com)
Dean has appeared on numerous international and national television and radio programs including Comedy Central's "Axis of Evil" special, ABC's "The View," MSNBC, "The Joy Behar Show," The PBS special "Stand up: Muslim Comics Come of Age," CNN's "American Morning" and "The Situation Room," MSNBC, PBS' "Newshour with Jim Lehrer," HD's "Dan Rather Reports," NPR, Fox News Radio, ABC's "20/20," Al Jazeera's "Min Washington," MBC's "Good Morning Ya Arab," "Democracy Now with Amy Goodman," and CNN International's "Inside the Middle East." In addition, he has been featured in various publications including Time magazine, Newsweek, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times and he writes frequently for CNN.com.
Dean is proud to have received the first annual "Bill Hicks Spirit Award" for "thought provoking comedy" (named after the late comedian Bill Hicks) from the NY Underground Comedy Festival and the Hicks' Family.
In addition to being co-executive producer of the NY Arab-American Comedy festival, Dean also serves as the Executive Director of The Amman Stand up Comedy Festival.
He also co-created the comedy show "Stand up for Peace" along with Jewish comic Scott Blakeman which they perform at colleges across the country in support of peace in the Middle East and fostering understanding between Arab and Jewish-Americans. (www.standupforpeace.com) He is also the co-creator of the current national comedy tour "Arabs Gone Wild" with Maysoon Zayid and Aron Kader.
In addition to performing comedy throughout the US, Dean has performed in the Middle East in Alexandria, Amman, Beirut, Cairo, Haifa, Doha, Dubai, Muscat, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Sharm El-Sheikh and Ramallah.
Website: For more information about Dean, please visit: www.deanofcomedy.com
Murad O. Saleh
This year marks Murad O. Saleh's third New York Arab-American Comedy Festival. He grew up in Newark, NJ to Palestinian parents. Having an engineering background, he looked for a chance to exhibit his more personable side. Murad is grateful to Dean and Maysoon for allowing him a chance to join a group of talented individuals. Seeing real Arabs work their way into entertainment, he feels honored to join them for the ride. HB Studios, HB Playwrights, Montclair Studio Players.
Raised in Sudbury, Massachusetts to a refugee father and a theater-loving mother, James Sayess left the States for Dubai to pursue an education in Middle Eastern studies. After earning a degree in political science from the American University, James went to work for the State Department. An audition and acceptance to join the company of The Shakespeare Theatre Company allowed him to follow a life-long dream to pursue a career in acting.
Daniel Shamoun is happy to return to the New York Arab-American Comedy Festival for his second round. Theater credits include No Exit, Brighton Beach Memoirs, Loyalties, and Parade. A trained actor and graduate of the William Esper Studio, Daniel currently studies language in hopes of returning to school soon and broadening the horizon. Yippee ki yay!
Larisa Shaterian is thrilled to be back at the New York Arab American Comedy Festival. She was last seen in Island Shakespeare's immersive production of Much Ado About Nothing. She trained at Michael Howard Studios’ Conservatory (New York) the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (London) and holds a BA from NYU Gallatin in Media Studies and Arabic.
Comedian (2005–2006, 2008–2010, 2012)
Egyptian-American comedian Maria Shehata, (born and raised in Columbus, Ohio) blends Mideast and Midwest cultures, giving her a hilarious and unique viewpoint. Maria’s stand up has been seen on Comedy Central’s The Watch List, Just Like Us: The Movie, and Showtime’s Bridging the Gap. With her universal appeal, she has performed all over the Middle East and Europe. Maria will be featured in The Cradle of Comedy, a documentary airing nationally in Australia.
Sarah Siadat recently made the transition to the Los Angeles area from NYC. Most recently, Sarah played the lead role at Mixed Blood Theaters' Hijab Tube. Other credits include: CBS Sports award-winning webisode, The Stay at Home Dad, ABC's One Life to Live, 100 Hour Film Race "All Mine," and the NYC Fringe Festival’s Meanwhile in Baghdad. Sarah thanks her Mom for being Arab, enabling her to perform in the New York Arab-American Comedy Festival for her fifth year.
Born in Yemen, and raised in multiple countries, Ali Sultan is Minnesota-based comic. He has performed at national clubs, and opened for national acts in clubs such as The House of Comedy, and Big Laughs. His style is often raunchy and witty in which he speaks of a range of topics, as well as his experience as an Arab-American. Ali is very excited to be part of the New York Arab-American Comedy Festival this year.
Nader is from Brooklyn, but has nothing against the letter R. Nader has been a denizen of the stage since he lost the District 24 Spelling Bee in 1987. Since then, his appearances include the Big Brown Comedy Hour and Arab Night Live shows in NYC. He’s thrilled to be a part of the NY Arab American Comedy Festival, and wants to talk to you about the Golden Girls.
Eva van Dok
Actor (2009, 2010, 2012)
Eva van Dok is half-Lebanese and a graduate of Goodman/DePaul Theatre Conservatory. She performed in films, commercials, and toured her one-woman show around the country. Off-Broadway: Eat the Taste (Barrow Street Theatre); Yeast Nation (SoHo Playhouse); Grim (Barrow Group Theater). Regional: John Drew Theater, Warehouse Theater, Berkshire Theatre Festival. Other Credits: The Invitation (The Ohio Theatre), 24 Hour Plays, Americana Absurdum in London, Theatreworks/USA, Captain Overlord's Folly (in NY and Scotland) and many others.
Comedian (2011–2012); Artistic Director (2011); Actor (2010–2011)
Ramy Youssef, an actor and comedian from New Jersey, served as the Artistic Director for the 2011 NYAACF. 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 NY 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.
Festival Co-Founder & Executive Producer (2003–2012); Comedian (2003–2012); Writer (2005); Actor (2010–2012)
Maysoon Zayid is an actress, professional standup comedian, and writer. She received a BFA in acting from Arizona State University. She is the co-founder and co-executive producer of the New York Arab-American Comedy Festival. She was a full-time On Air Contributor to Countdown with Keith Olbermann and is currently a frequent contributor on Huffington Post Live.
Maysoon has appeared on Comedy Central's The Watch List, PBS's America at a Crossroads: Muslim Comics Stand Up, CNN, HBO, As The World Turns, Law & Order, MTV, 20/20, BBC's The Doha Debates, and had a feature role in Adam Sandler's You Don't Mess With the Zohan. As a professional comedian, Maysoon has performed in top New York clubs, and has toured extensively at home and abroad. She is a headliner on the Arabs Gone Wild Comedy Tour and The Muslims Are Coming Tour.
Maysoon's one-woman show, LAW, was produced and directed by the legendary Kathy Najimy, and debuted at LA's Comedy Central Space. Her screenplay, If I Cancan You Cancan, was chosen for the Sundance Middle Eastern Screenwriters Lab. Maysoon was a delegate at the 2008 Democratic National Convention and is a graduate of the Hala Maksoud Leadership Training Program. She also runs Maysoon's Kids, a scholarship and wellness program for Palestinian disabled and wounded refugee children and orphans.