It's not easy being Arab or Middle Easterner in the Western world. With Islamophobia and xenophobia on the rise, it get's even harder to smile. But comedy is a way to break the walls of fear, and comedians of Arab and Middle Eastern origin have been putting it to good use.
Here is a number of Middle Eastern and Arab American comedians who have been using comedy to dispel negative stereotypes and refute misconceptions about the Middle East, Arab-Americans, and Muslims.
These groundbreaking minority comedians make America seriously LOL.
1. Maysoon Zayid
This Palestinian-American comedian will make you smile from ear to ear. Maysoon Zayid started her acting career by appearing on the popular soap opera As the World Turns.
In 2003, she co-founded the New York Arab-American Comedy Festival with fellow comedian Dean Obeidallah.
Zayid tackles serious topics in her stand-up routines, such as racism, terrorism, and the Israeli-Palestine conflict.
She was the very first comedian to ever perform stand-up comedy in Palestine. Our favorite thing about Zayid is the way she signs off her performances with "Next year, in Jerusalem Inshallah."
2. Jennifer Jajeh
Jennifer Jajeh is an American actress, producer, filmmaker, and writer. She was born in San Francisco, California to a Palestinian family.
Her short film In My Own Skin was screened at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City and on PBS.
3. Mo Amer
Mohammed Amer is a Palestinian-American stand-up comedian who started his career when he was just 19 years old.
He is best known for the comedy trio tours Allah Made Me Funny, which includes fellow Muslim comedians Azhar Usman and Preacher Moss.
He has toured in more than 27 countries, including Germany, Italy, Japan, Egypt, and Bahrain and has even performed for U.S. troops overseas.
4. Amer Zahr
Amer Zahr is a Palestinian-American stand-up comedian, writer, filmmaker, and producer. He is also an adjunct professor at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law.
Zahr was born in Jordan to Palestinian parents (a Muslim father and a Christian mother). His family moved to the United States when he was just three years old.
He founded and produced the 1001 Laughs Ramallah Comedy Festival in August 2015.
His first book, Being a Palestinian Makes Me Smile, is a compilation of passages taken from his blog, The Civil Arab, that reflect on his Palestinian upbringing, society, and politics.
5. Maz Jobrani
Maz Jobrani is an Iranian-American comedian and actor. Born in Tehran, Iran, his family moved to the United States when he was just six years old.
Jobrani is a founding member of The Axis of Evil Comedy Tour. He performs at numerous comedy clubs and has made regular appearances on the CBS sitcom Superior Donuts. He has co-written the movie Jimmy Vestvood: Amerikan Hero.
Jobrani is also is the author of the book I'm Not a Terrorist, But I've Played One On TV - a truly laugh-out-loud read.
His humor mainly focuses on his Iranian heritage and the stereotypes surrounding Middle Easterners in America.
6. Ahmed Ahmed
Born in Helwan, Egypt and raised in the U.S., this hilarious Egyptian-American comedian moved to the United States when he was just one month old.
Throughout 2004, Ahmed, alongside comedian Rabbi Robert Alper, toured the United States to deliver their successful show One Arab, One Jew, One Stage, which promoted interfaith harmony through comedy in light of the 9/11 attacks.
In 2005, he co-founded The Axis of Evil Comedy tour with Maz Jobrani. He performed in the tour along with Maz Jobrani, Dean Obeidallah, and Aron Kader.
7. Dean Obeidallah
Dean Obeidallah is an American comedian of Palestinian-Italian descent. He is the host of SiriusXM radio's The Dean Obeidallah Show.
He's received the first Spirit of Bill Hicks award, named in honor of legendary comedian Bill Hicks, for "thought provoking comedy".
His satire focuses on racism, Muslim Americans, Islamophobia, religion, politics, and Arab culture.
8. Aron Kader and Pakistilia!
Aron Kader is a Palestinian-American comedian. He was born in the United States to a Palestinian Muslim father and a Mormon mother.
Kader has performed in the New York Arab American Comedy Festival, started by fellow tour member Dean Obeidallah.
Kader performs regularly at his hometown club, the Comedy Store in Los Angeles.
9. Max Amini
Max Amini is an Iranian-American stand-up comedian. Amini was born in Tucson Arizona, to immigrant Iranian parents
He performs at comedy clubs in Los Angeles and around the world. His satire expresses his views on cultural topics.
Amini put together a stand-up comedy tour, named "Exotic Imports", which featured second-generation Americans of diverse cultural backgrounds.