The “1001 Laughs Palestine Comedy Festival” made its debut in August 2015, and it convened a second edition in 2016. The festivals give the audiences of Palestine five consecutive days of live stand-up comedy in Ramallah, Jerusalem, and Bethlehem, entertaining over 2,000 people. It is one of a kind. I, Amer Zahr (firstname.lastname@example.org), am the festival’s producer and founder. I’m a Palestinian-American comedian, writer, and law professor living whose comedy travels have taken me throughout America, Canada, and the Arab world, including dozens of shows in Palestine.
Check out the CNN story from our first festival!
The festival does not only seek to entertain. Comedy serves an important social purpose as well. Laughter is a universal language, shared by all peoples. Laughter also humanizes. Perhaps the greatest challenge for Palestinians is that we are too often misunderstood or mistreated in the media, frequently depicted as “non-human.” Comedy, like much art, can help to solve this issue. Comedy is about preserving narratives and championing freedom of expression in the arts. The festival will only be a success if it serves as a gateway to the world to discover more about our culture and people.
The festivals to date have garnered worldwide media attention, and we hope to get even more in the future. I will work diligently to ensure that all major international media outlets stay aware of the festival, in order to cover it on an international scale. We hope that through this festival, our Palestinian laughter draws the ears of the world.
In the past, the US State Department funded this project. For a number of reasons, we no longer seek nor desire the sponsorship of the American government. We are looking for sponsor/s to help us raise the budget of at least $80,000 that we need to make the festival a success.
Sponsors would be featured on all promotional material, thanked at every show, and have the option to display or advertise at every performance. The tentative dates for this year’s festival are August 13-18, 2018, with performances in Ramallah, Jerusalem, and Bethlehem, Jenin, and Khalil. My production partner on the ground is Maestro Productions, led by Ramallah native Hani Kashou.
We look forward to your support in this historic endeavor, and we hope to share the success of the festival with you.
“If you can make someone laugh, he will listen to you.” – Amer Zahr