Politics aside, Dean Obeidallah is very lame. Check out his latest appearance on CNN. We refuse to pretend a comedian is funny because he happens to be an Arab-American. He is very unfunny, and if he was a true anti-Zionist, and a courageous voice for the cause of Palestine he would not be a regular guest on CNN. Is the “Dean of comedy” willing to risk his “good Arab” designation and early afternoon CNN appearances?
Let’s hear Dean describe Israel as an illegitimate, racist, colonial project that has no right to exist in Palestine. Or perhaps he might be willing to reject the terrorist label placed on Hizballah and tell his audiences this is a group of freedom fighters made up of Lebanese civilians dedicated to defending their homeland from the terrorist state of Israel which the US government supports. Dean can mock George W. Bush’s poor English, but can he refer to him as a war criminal that should be sent to the Hague and put on trial?
Other comedians, George Carlin for example, did not fear challenging the prevailing narratives or inserting unpopular, but truth-based, commentary into their routines. Carlin was a courageous comedian who infused his entertaining performances with a progressive political and moral message. We highly recommend his first live HBO show, Jammin in New York. That exceptional stand-up comedy performance came in the aftermath of the first US war on Iraq in 1991 and serves as an example of the genius stand-up comic’s ability to combine political satire with an ethically conscious, social message.
Obeidallah and the other so called Arab and Muslim comedians have no satirical skills, they’re not ethically conscious entertainers advocating any legitimate cause either in the US or the Arab world, and their silly performances have no redeeming social value. In the end, they’re just a handful of outgoing individuals exploiting their ethnic heritage, and current events (serious issues of war and peace) in the Arab world in pursuit of barely mediocre careers on the margins of American pop culture.
We won’t ask them to Ikhras if they don’t expect us to laugh.