Sunday, September 28, 2008

Friday, September 26, 2008

Does this make me a terrorist?

Hi kids! After airing nationally on PBS and internationally on the BBC, the documentary that I'm in, "Stand Up: Muslim American Comics Come of Age," will air on October 1st on (gasp!) Al Jazeera. Yup, the home of Osama bin Laden videos will broadcast yours truly all over the Middle East. I do believe this officially makes me a terrorist. Yesssss!

Coexist? in The Fairfield Daily Republic

Click graphic to enlarge

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

"Best Of" Sacramento News and Review

"BEST UNLIKELY COMBINATION OF JOKESTERS
The Coexist? Comedy Tour


An atheist, a Christian, a Muslim, a Hindu and a Buddhist walk into ... oh c'mon, how did you expect us to introduce these guys? Give us a break. The five aforementioned zealots, better known as Keith Lowell Jensen, John Ross, Tissa Hami, Tapan Trivedi and Sammy Obeid, make up the Coexist? Comedy troupe, a group of comedians benefiting from the no-P.C.-equals-new-P.C. trend, devoted to uniting others by poking fun at our differences. Genius, right? Yeah, we thought so, too. The Coexist? Crew has toured the state, including multiple sold-out shows and earned themselves rave reviews by turning troubled waters into fine comedy wine. Don't miss their next local gig at the Crest Theatre, a couple of weeks before Christmas--if you're into that sort of thing. www.coexistcomedy.com. K.B."

Cool. Thanks News and Review. And congratulations also to The Crest which got Readers Choice for Best Movie Theatre. I guess we're two great tastes that are going to taste great together.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Sacramento Magazine Loves Us

The new Sacramento Magazine has an article profiling 15 "Must See" shows coming to the area and our show at The Crest is included. In addition our hilarious Hindu, Tapan Trivedi, is singled out for a feature in the side bar.
Way to go Tapan! Way to go us! Thanks Sacramento Magazine.

Monday, September 15, 2008

McCain-Palin Vs. Obama










Posted by Tapan
--If you grow up in Hawaii, raised by your grandparents, you're"exotic, different."
Grow up in Alaska eating mooseburgers, a quintessentialAmerican story.


-- If your name is Barack you're a radical, unpatriotic Muslim.
Name your kids Willow, Trig and Track, you're a maverick.

--Graduate from Harvard Law School and you are unstable.
Attend 5 different small colleges before graduating, you're well grounded.

--If you spend 3 years as a brilliant community organizer, become the firstblack President of the Harvard Law Review, create a voter registrationdrive that registers 150,000 new voters, spend 12 years as a ConstitutionalLaw professor, spend 8 years as a State Senator representing a district withover 750,000 people, become chairman of the state Senate's Health andHuman Services committee, spend almost 4 years in the United States Senaterepresenting a state of 13 million people while sponsoring 131 bills andserving on the Foreign Affairs, Environment and Public Works and Veteran's Affairscommittees, you don't have any real leadership experience.

If your total resume is: local weather girl, 4 years on the city counciland 6 years as the mayor of a town with less than 7,000 people, 20 months asthe governor of a state with only 650,000 people, then you're qualified to become the country's second highest ranking executive.

--If you have been married to the same woman for 19 years while raising 2beautiful daughters, all within protestant churches, you're not a realChristian.
If you cheated on your first wife with a rich heiress, and left yourdisfigured wife and married the heiress the next month, you're a Christian.

--If you teach responsible, age appropriate sex education, including theproper use of birth control, you are eroding the fiber of society.

If, while governor, you staunchly advocate abstinence only, with no otheroption in sex education in your state's school system while your unwed teendaughter ends up pregnant, you're very responsible.

--If your wife is a Harvard graduate lawyer who gave up a position in aprestigious law firm to work for the betterment of her inner city community,then gave that up to raise a family, your family's values don'trepresentAmerica's.-

If your husband is nicknamed "First Dude", with at least oneDWI conviction and no college education, who didn't register to vote until age25 and once was a member of a group that advocated the secession of Alaska from the USA, your family is extremely admirable.

Sorry Mr.Darwin ! I feel better now.

From Tapan:
So the Church of England will make an official apology to naturalist Charles Darwin for criticising his famous theory of evolution. This brings about TWO very interesting points.

1) What good is an apology about 125 years after his death ?

2) If Darwin was called a naturalist - did he wear clothes while conducting his experiments ? This puts a whole new spin on the evolution chart . No wonder EVERYONE on the evolution chart is naked. Darwin couldn't concieve it any other way. He was, as put very wisely by the Church - a naturalist.

Jokes aside , the Church of England has now issued apologies to Galileo and even allowed a Bishops wife to be painted in a portrait. The picture is presented here for your benefit so that you can see for yourself how important the Bishop's wife is. About as important as Q at a Bond girl's reunion .(Yes, I drew an English simile from my similewell for this.)

This is , still a far cry from the Islamic world that there is no picture of either Mohammed or any of the other Prophets. I can understand that there should be no cartoons but no pictures. Ok. So you guys don't believe in idol worship so how come Iraqi idol is so popular ?
Lastly , it has just come to my attention that the mega famous rapper AKON - (Smack That Ass all over the floor ) is a muslim. Not a converted Nation of Islam muslim but a muslim born and brought up in Senegal. Wow - Smack that ass all over the dirt floor !
More later.


Friday, September 12, 2008

Tapan on Showtime

Here is a clip from Tapan's upcoming appearance on Comics Without Borders.

Are Europeans any better than Muslims on treating comedians ?

So we all know about the Mohammed cartoons and the uproar that it caused in the Muslim world. We have seen the Albert Brooks movie (its a friggin movie not a documentary and not a real happening !) Finding Comedy in the Muslim world. And we sit back and think that they are all crazy Koran thumpers out there.

Now comes a case from Italy where an Italian comedian - a FEMALE Italian comedian Sabina Guzzanti supposedly insulted the Pope and Italy has laws against this. Sabina is facing FIVE YEARS IN PRISON for this. The crowd at the show where she did the joke LOVED it.

The joke consisted of her saying that the Pope would be in hell being tormented by homosexual demons , and very active ones , not passive ones.

The joke clearly shows how irreverand Sabina is ! Gods, I want to work with her .

This is what makes the U.S. of A. the best place in the world to do standup. Even an immigrant like me can come into the country , sign up at an open mike and do the most atrocious joke about the leader of the U.S. of A. and he goes home scot free.

Don't try this in China. You make a joke about the premiere of China or any nation that China is doing business with you will see you eye being gouged out by a hot spoon faster than you can order #43 on the Panda Express menu. You try this in India you get assaulted by mass populi and your body is swept up on the street the next morning.

But why is it that in the supposedly advanced nation like Italy (and I hold you personally responsible for Starbucks and Mussolini) you don't have the freedom to do a joke about what is perhaps the most controversial religious head of our times. It is important to note that the first words out of the mouth of the current Pope Benedict , son of Poached and Omlet, was actually a joke. I actually saw his inauguration and he said something to the affect of 'Hello Everyone, my name is Cardinal Ratzinger. No wait , that was my old job. Some habits die hard. I am the new pope.' This Pope gets his advise from the best. He used what we in the business call a classic aside. Of all the comedic instruments available to mankind an aside is one of the lowest. Next only to juggling puppies and baby eating jokes.

So why is it that when a seasoned comic like Sabina makes a joke about the Pope that takes his act to a higher level (pun intended) she faces 5 years prison time instead of getting lifetime royalties and a secure place in heaven.

Your holiness, if you should be so kind to read this note I have but one suggestion for you. In this day and age when religion is under phenomenal pressure to succumb to the whims of the mighty and every major religion is losing thousands of believers to death and atheism - humor is the best marketing technique to win them back and if you strike the right deal with the Almighty - even bring the dead back to life. Embrace humor - you have a standing invitation to come on down to any of our show and do a 5 minute set. If you are any good you will have a regular spot on our show - even if we have to fire our regular Christian comic Mr.John Ross.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A sad anniversary

It was seven years ago that America got a wake up call from the rest of the world. It was on that day that we were reminded what it feels like when war comes to your home.
I say reminded, but for most of us it was a completely new feeling and a terrible one at that. I can't help but tear up as I think back to that morning.

In the days following it became clear to me that I wanted to talk about reality in my comedy, I had to in fact. For a guy who grew up on Steve Martin, Andy Kaufman and The Unknown Comic this was not the direction I thought I'd be heading. I always enjoyed nonsensical, silly comedy with costumes and vaudeville type goofiness the most.
Of course I had later in life discovered Carlin, Lenny Bruce, Richard Pryor, Dick Gregory and Bill Hicks so I wasn't without mentors.

Looking over these Mentors in light of the dark times I found myself in I was most touched by the gentleness present in Bruce, Pryor, Gregory and even Carlin's early (really mid) stuff. I knew that I wanted to take the anger and despair and find the humor and humanity in it and share it, not just with like minded individuals so we could fuel each others rage but with the very folks I'd have trouble getting along with but who essentially had the same peaceful, loving goals at heart.

So, I started writing, trying to balance the critiques I had with the compassion and empathy I felt. I dig Bill Hicks and Lewis Black but I didn't see that the world needed another angry man yelling at them in hilarious ways.

This led me to return to the stand up comedy stage (I had focused primarily on writing, performing and directing sketch for the past few years) and I landed on a stage with a Hindu friend of mine, Tapan. I did my atheist material, much of it dealing directly with 9-11, for the first time. This was about five years after the attacks. Within a month of that performance Tapan and I were putting together the Coexist? Comedy Tour.

I know the other comics on the tour were effected deeply by the 9-11 attacks as well. Tissa cites them and America's response to them as being a major catalyst to her going on stage at all. And today, as I think about the horrible thing that happened and I feel a renewed need to respond and to respond carefully and correctly. I'm very happy about this tour. I really believe in it. This is a beautiful thing that I'm very lucky to be a part of.

So thanks John, Sammy, Tissa, Chad Lehrman, Cheese, Bengt Washburn, Mikhail the White Russian and anyone else who has performed with us. And thanks to all the audience members who have and who continue to support this effort.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Shoud I convert to Christianity?

Hi kids! Please read my recent blog entry on Iranian.com:
http://www.iranian.com/main/blog/tissa/my-honor-i-will-try

It's a childhood story about how my Girl Scout troop leader tried to convert me to Christianity. Sorry John, but she didn't win. But she came awfully close. :) Read the story to find out how and why.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

See me on the BBC World News

Co-existers of the world unite! This Saturday, September 6th, the documentary that I'm in called "Stand Up: Muslim American Comics Come of Age" will air around the world via the BBC World News service. Details here: http://www.bbcworldnews.com/Pages/ProgrammeFeature.aspx?id=82&FeatureID=863

It's kind of funny how I found out about this airing. My friend Lara, who is in Tanzania doing refugee relief work, suddenly IM'ed me and said, "omg omg i just saw you on TV here!" Way to go, Lara! But maybe you should be watching less satellite TV and tending more to the refugees. I'm just sayin'.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Seattle is Booked

I'm stoked. I love Seattle. I head up there most years for The Seattle Sketchfest. This November we'll all be heading up to help christen the brand new location for The Comedy Underground. We're still working on Bellingham and Portland so watch for details on these shows soon. And please, if you'd like us to visit your town visit our www.eventful.com request page and request or rather, DEMAND we pay you a visit.