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Now available online: BackStage with the Israeli-Palestinian Comedy Tour
“It is important that Palestinians and Israelis stand up together to confront the growing animosity between our two peoples, to denounce extremism and hatred, to act to reduce the animosity between our two peoples. And while we can have a healthy and energetic and even passioned debate about the issues, we need not be disagreeable in our disagreement. Palestinians must not resort to anti-Semitism in arguing their legitimate concerns, and Israelis must not be defamatory in denouncing criticism of Israel as being anti-Semitic. We must stand for one principle and apply it fairly to both sides and when we do, we will contribute towards bringing peace to both our peoples.”
— Ray Hanania, January 3, 2004
Israeli-Palestinian Comedians “fight” Is it real?
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“The Arab Woody Allen”
Ray Hanania is an award-winning journalist, nationally syndicated columnist, author and one of the country’s few Arab (Palestinian) American stand-up comedians and satirists. He is the only Palestinian to write a humor AND serious column for a web site owned by a major Israeli newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth’s www.YnetNews.com (2004-2007) and also for the Jerusalem Post Newspaper.
Hanania is managing editor of The Arab Daily News at www.TheArabDailyNews.com.
Hanania made his mark in journalism as a hard-hitting Chicago City Hall reporter (1976 through 1992). But he always had a flare for the lighter side. In 1988, he authored one of the nation’s first humor profiles on growing up Arab in Americafor Chicago Magazine
called “Ya Habibi.”
In 1996, he published the humor book, “YA HABIBI: Growing up Arab in America.” The humor in his book helped start some of the Arab community’s first comedians. In 1998, he authored a humor column for NEWSWEEK Magazine lampooning the profiling of Arabs at airports. His most recent humor book is “Slice of Life,” a collection of his award winning humor columns.
Hanania has performed his unique stand-up comedy at Taste of Chicago, Caroline’s on Broadway, Brandeis University, and at Arab festivals in Seattle, Milwaukee and Dallas.
He is one of the most covered Arab comedians in the country. His comedy addresses a wide range of topics including an Arab and Muslim theme regarding growing up Arab in America. And, Hanania lampoons his real-life marriage to his wife who is Jewish. The comedy topics expand far beyond ethnic humor. They include topics from his years as a political reporter covering Chicago City Hall and regional American politics, to everyday life featured in his many humor columns published in newspapers around the country.
Hanania avoids using foul language or four-letter words in his act, which sets him apart from some other known Arab and non-Arab professional comedians. Positive reviews of his show are widespread.
After performing some 30 shows at Zanies Comedy Club in Chicago, he was removed from the show in August 2002 when Jewish comedian and conservative columnist Jackie Mason refused to perform with a Palestinian American comedian. The owners of Zanies Comedy Club, who tried to exploit the rare Palestinian-Jewish combination, contributed to the conflict that ensued. (Read the pre-controversy interview with Hanania before he was attacked by Mason’s supporters.)
While some Arab comedians put down other Arabs and Muslims for pursuing comedy after Sept. 11th, Hanania believes that the world is a big place and there is more than enough room for competition. He works to help other Arabs and Muslims enter stand-up comedy, humor writing and satire. He has dedicated his life to defending the rights of Arabs and Muslims in America.
He is proud to be have been a supporter of the first annual New York Arab ComedyFest. He often partners with Egyptian American comedian Sherif and also Jewish American comedian Aaron Freeman in shows.
Hanania hails from an Orthodox Christian family. His father is from Jerusalem and his mother is from Bethlehem.
Call and check on booking him today.
If you are a producer looking to script a TV sitcom on an Arab-Jewish marriage with all the potential humor involved, contact me because “Everyone Loves Abdullah” can work!
to book Ray Hanania today for stand-up comedy
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"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."
Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).
Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, and at www.TheArabDailyNews.com, www.TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com. He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, YNetNews.com, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.
The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website www.SuburbanChicagoland.com, Hanania's columns also appear in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.
Click here to send Ray Hanania and email.
His Facebook Page is Facebook.com/rghanania
Visit this link to read Ray's column archive at the ArabNews,com ArabNews.com/taxonomy/term/10906
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