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America at a Crossroads: STAND UP: Muslim American Comics Come of Age

The latest installment in the "America at a Crossroads" series explores the emergence of Muslim- and Arab-American comedians in the wake of 9/11, demonstrating how they use humor to take on stereotypes about Middle Easterners and terrorism. The film showcases five performers, their comedy and the way it is shaped by the everyday tribulations of their lives. Some of the comics are Arab, some are Muslim and some are both. All are Americans. This is the story of how each of these men and women felt the aftershock of 9/11. At a time when people of Middle Eastern background were advised to lie low, they all chose to stand up … and crack jokes.

Co-producer: Independent Television Service (ITVS).
Producer/director: Glenn Baker.
Airdate: May 11, 2008 at 10 p.m. Check local listings.

Press releases


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Maysoon Zayid, captured in mid-punch line, is one of five Muslim-American comics – all American citizens – featured in “Stand Up: Muslim-American Comics Come of Age.”

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Ahmed Ahmed performing at The Improv. An accomplished actor, he’s one of the five comedians featured in this special.

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Tissa Hami boasts a unique profile for a comedian: female, Ivy League-educated, of Iranian descent. Her talent sparkles in this special.

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Azhar Usman is an Indian American who has performed his brand of stand-up comedy all over the world. He is featuered in this special.

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Dean Obeidallah entertains the crowd at the Arab American Comedy Festival, an event he co-founded and which is prominently featured in “Stand Up: Muslim-American Comics Comes of Age.”