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STAND UP: Muslim American Comics Come of Age - Premieres May 11, 2008

In the Film

Ahmed Ahmed

Ahmed Ahmed

Ahmed Ahmed       
Comedian /Actor
 
Ahmed was born in Helwan, Egypt. His parents immigrated to the U.S. shortly after he was born and the family settled in Riverside, California. Ahmed moved to Hollywood when he was 19 to pursue a career in acting and stand-up comedy.  He attended The American Academy of Dramatic Arts for one year and studied with various acting coaches. 

He performs around the world in The Axis of Evil Comedy Tour, with fellow comedians Maz Jobrani and Aron Kader.  THE AXIS OF EVIL comedy special has aired many times on Comedy Central, and is a popular DVD.  In fall 2007, the tour sold out its shows during a Middle East tour that included Egypt, Dubai, Kuwait, Lebanon, and Jordan, where King Abdullah II attended.

Ahmed has appeared in such films and television shows as EXECUTIVE DECISION, SWINGERS, FAHRENHEIT 9/11 (DVD bonus tracks), LOOKING FOR COMEDY IN THE MUSLIM WORLD, TRACEY TAKES ON, ROSEANNE, JAG, TOUGH CROWD WITH COLIN QUINN on Comedy Central and MTV's PUNK’D.  He has also appeared on CNN, THE VIEW, and NPR, and been featured in many news stories, including the front page of the Wall Street Journal.

Ahmed is a regular performer at The World Famous Comedy Store in Hollywood and tours frequently through the U.S., Europe, and Middle East.  In 2004 he was honored with the first annual Richard Pryor Award for ethnic comedy at the Edinburgh Comedy Festival in Scotland.  www.ahmed-ahmed.comOff-site link

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Tissa Hami

Tissa Hami

Tissa Hami                             
Comedian/Writer

Hami is one of the world's few female Muslim stand-up comics. Her unique act and fresh perspective on life as an Iranian-American woman leave audiences rolling with laughter.

She hopes her comedy will help break down stereotypes about Muslim women and foster understanding between Iranians and Americans.

Hami grew up in a traditional Iranian family in a predominantly white suburb of Boston. Currently she lives in San Francisco and performs at the Punchline and other area clubs.  She has joined the Coexist Comedy Tour: A Muslim, a Christian, a Hindu, an Atheist, and a  Jew Walk Into a Bar.  She continues to travel around the country — recent trips have included Kentucky and Texas — to perform and speak about comedy as activism.

She holds bachelor's and master's degrees in international affairs from Ivy League universities. Her parents are thrilled that she is using her expensive education to pursue a career in comedy.  www.tissahami.comOff-site link

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Dean Obeidallah

Dean Obeidallah

Dean Obeidallah                         
Comedian/Producer

Obeidallah is a former attorney turned stand-up comic. He has been featured on numerous national and international television programs and was awarded the first annual Bill Hicks Spirit Award for “thought-provoking comedy.” 

In 2003, along with Maysoon Zayid, he co-founded the New York Arab American Comedy FestivalOff-site link, which is now a sold-out annual event and is featured in STAND UP.  

Obeidallah's one man show I COME IN PEACE, a comedic and truthful look at his life as an Arab-American in post 9/11 America, was an official selection of the 2006 New York International Fringe Festival. He has been appeared on many national broadcasts, including Comedy Central's "Axis of Evil Comedy Tour", CNN, ABC's THE VIEW, and THE NEWSHOUR WITH JIM LEHRER on PBS. 

He recently co-produced THE WATCH LIST, an Internet-only program on Comedy Central's Motherload WebsiteOff-site link. This is the first show ever produced by a major entertainment company which stars all Middle Eastern-American performers.

In addition to performing at the top comedy clubs and colleges across the U.S., Dean has performed comedy in the Middle East in Beirut, Dubai, Haifa and Ramallah. www.deanofcomedy.comOff-site link

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Azhar Usman

Azhar Usman

Azhar Usman
Comedian/Entrepreneur

Usman is a standup comedian, lecturer, producer, and community activist.

Usman was born and raised in Chicago, though his parents are originally from India. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a Juris Doctorate from the University Minnesota Law School.

Usman has been performing stand-up comedy since early 2001. He has performed in many major cities around the country, as well as in Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, The Netherlands, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, touring with fellow comics Preacher Moss and Mohammed Amer in Allah Made Me Funny: The Official Muslim Comedy Tour.  A concert film of the tour is in production. 

Usman has been interviewed many times on radio and television, and he has been featured in several major publications around the world, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, MSNBC.com, BBC, The Daily Telegraph of London, Sydney Morning Herald of Australia, Al-Ahram Weekly of Egypt, DAWN Online of Pakistan, India Abroad, and was featured on ABC’s NIGHTLINE.  www.allahmademefunny.comOff-site link

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Maysoon Zayid

Maysoon Zayid

Maysoon Zayid                         
Comedian/Actor

Zayid is an actress and professional stand-up comedian, who received her BFA in acting from Arizona State University.

She has performed comedy in top New York clubs, including The Improv, Caroline's, Gotham, and Stand-Up NY, and has toured her stand-up act extensively in both the U.S. and abroad.

Zayid was the first comedian to perform stand-up live in the Palestinian territories.  She has performed in Nazareth, Haifa, Bethlehem, Ramallah and Jerusalem. She is a graduate of The Hala Salaam Maksoud Foundation for Arab-American Leadership.

Zayid writes the biweekly column "The Palestinian American Princess's Guide to NYC." She is also co-founder, with Dean Obeidallah, and an executive producer of the New York Arab American Comedy FestivalOff-site link.

In the fall of 2006, her one-woman show LITTLE AMERICAN WHORE debuted at L.A.'s Comedy Central Space. L.A.W. was produced by Kathy Najimy and directed by Abby Marateck.  A film version of L.A.W. is currently in developmental pre-production.  Zayid is a principal cast member in the forthcoming Adam Sandler movie, YOU DON’T MESS WITH ZOHAN.

Zayid was born in Englewood, New Jersey.  She spends three months a year in the Palestinian territories, where she runs art and wellness programs for disabled and wounded refugee children and orphans.  www.maysoon.comOff-site link

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