As the cold, winter season continues to chill the region, the StandUp for Peace comedy performance in Albright Auditorium on Friday, Feb. 5 is sure to warm and lighten hearts and souls, and hopefully shed new light and understanding on one of the world’s oldest conflicts. The comedy duo of Jewish-American Scott Blakeman and Arab-American Dean Obeidallah, will take to the stage at 7:30 p.m. Friday night to bring together people from all backgrounds “to laugh and encourage a dialogue in support of a peaceful, political resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
The performance is said to be the two comedian solution to Middle East peace and, as Blakeman suggests, “just by standing on stage together, and bringing Arabs and Jews together in the audience, we’re making more progress than they are right now in the Middle East.”
StandUp for Peace was created in 2002 by Blakeman and Obeidallah as a series of comedy shows to help benefit Seeds of Peace, a summer camp in Maine which seeks to support and promote peace and understanding between Palestinian and Israeli teenagers. They have since performed at the historic Leadership Summit at the Seeds of Peace camp and have performed at more than 70 different theaters, Jewish and Arab-American Community Centers, Temples, comedy clubs and colleges. The dynamic duo has been featured on MSNBC, NPR and Air America, as well as in multiple published articles.
Blakeman has made more than 30 national television appearances, including being the warm-up comedian for the “Late Show with David Letterman” on CBS. He has performed for Jewish audiences all around the world and often appears at the cutting-edge cultural center, Makor, in New York. Besides performing, Blakeman also teaches a Standup Comedy Workshop at The New School, where he previously taught students such as Jon Stewart and Caroline Rhea. NBC-TV declared Blakeman “the top political comedian working in New York today.”
Obeidallah has appeared on Comedy Central’s “Axis of Evil” Comedy Special and is the co-creator and co-producer of Comedy Central.com’s Internet series, “The Watch List.” Besides working with Comedy Central, Obeidallah has performed on ABC’s “The View” and various other television broadcasts. He is also the co-creator and co-producer of the annual N.Y. Arab-American Comedy Festival and has performed in multiple Middle Eastern cities like Amman, Cairo and Dubai.
Hillel Treasurer, Hunter LaCroix ’12 noted, “This comedy act will go lengths toward bringing those of various other cultures together to laugh at the differences and similarities that we, as global citizens, see every day.” The show will be free for all HWS community members and is being sponsored by Hillel, along with The Young Memorial Trust for International Understanding and World Peace, CAB, Project Nur, BAC, as well as the Peace Studies and International Relations programs, the Religious Studies department and the Office of Intercultural Affairs.
Collection boxes will be available for donations to the Seeds of Peace camps.