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Today organizers announced plans for the 6th Annual New York Arab-American Comedy Festival (NYAACF). “This is our first festival ‘Post-Bush,’” says co-founder and producer Dean Obeidallah. “Having a President who actually wants to reach out to Arabs and Muslims is pretty liberating for us as comedians -- we don’t feel like we need to be as defensive about our heritage and culture.” This doesn’t mean you’ll be seeing the “softer side” of Arabs, according to co-founder and producer Maysoon Zayid. “We’ll still cover everything from politics to pop culture to crazy Arab mother-in-laws. Nothing is off limits.”

In an effort to inspire the next generation of Arab American comedians, the NYAACF is holding their very first “ARABIAN IDOL” contest. “ARABIAN IDOL” is a FREE STAND UP WORKSHOP & AUDITION. Participants will battle it out to win a spot in the festival’s “New Faces of Arab Comedy" Show. “ARABIAN IDOL” will take place on Wednesday May 6, 2009 from 7:30 to 9:30 PM at Alwan Cultural Center located at 16 Beaver Street in lower Manhattan.

Since its humble beginnings in 2003, the NYAACF has evolved from a three-night fest featuring 20 performers to a five-night fest starring over 50 Arab-American comedians from across the country. But the size isn’t the only thing that’s changed. “Our material in the early years can be summed up like this: ‘We are Americans just like you, please don’t beat us up.’” Today, says Obeidallah, “it’s an unapologetic celebration of our heritage. We even make fun of our own culture now, which we would never have done back then.”

For more information about NYAACF and a schedule of the events, please visit www.arabcomedy.org. Tickets are available online at www.comixny.com or by calling 212-524-2500. To sign up for “ARABIAN IDOL” send your name and contact info to [email protected]

Official Website: http://www.comixny.com