These Stand-Up Comedians Bring People Together with Laughter

An Arab and a Rabbi comedian prove that laughter transcends differences and brings people together.

Nov 11, 2015
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Two comedians take the stage, greeted by enthusiastic applause. They start off the night with the opening joke, followed by roaring laughter from the audience. It’s like any other night at the comedy club, except for one minor detail - the two comedians on stage are a Rabbi and an Arab.

For 14 years, Bob Alper and Ahmed Ahmed have been travelling together to college campuses, synagogues, mosques, and comedy clubs throughout the US. Their mission? To build bridges between Jews and Arabs around the world – using humor. What they call the “Laugh in Peace Comedy Tour” began as simply a means to raise their visibility, but as Alper said in an interview with the Times of Israel, “as soon as we got into it, we realized there’s a lot more to it. The show provided people with hope.”

While a Rabbi and an Arab on stage together may seem like perfect comedic content in itself, the duo make a deliberate effort to keep their performances nonpolitical. Instead of highlighting their differences, they prefer to emphasize their bond – Alper’s trips to California to visit Ahmed’s family, Alper’s neighbors who frequently inquire about Ahmed’s wellbeing. As Alper says “we want people to know that we don’t just show up to an event, be funny, get a check, and go our separate ways. We like hanging out. That’s the message – the friendship.”

The comedians deliver the closing joke and are greeted with another rousing round of applause. It’s like any other night at the comedy club except for one minor detail – the two comedians on stage are not an Arab and a Rabbi – they are friends.

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Mirele writes about everything related to doing good, with a particular interest in volunteering and social entrepreneurship, informed by her background in eco tourism.
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