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Producer calls show about being Muslim ‘comedy as a form of activism’

Hookah Me Up nightclub in downtown Columbus is hosting a comedy show with a goal this weekend.

The traveling show, “The Muslims Are Coming” will be performed at 8 p.m. Saturday.

Producer Dean Obeidallah and comedian Negin Farsad said they hope the tour will help audience members foster an understanding of what it means to be Muslim.

This is the first leg of the tour. It also visits Florida, Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee. This portion of the tour ends Aug. 15. In October, the tour continues in the Midwest.

Shows are be filmed for a movie, “The Muslims Are Coming!,” which will be released later in the year.

Farsad hopes the audience will find humor in the show.

For the past five years, Farsad has been making a living doing stand-up comedy and writing and directing for television, blogs and web projects. When she was a teen she realized she was funny.

“When I was 14, I took a drama class. I was kitchen wench No. 3 for a musical and it really changed my life. I realized I could actually be funny. I became a normal person. Now, I find one way to humiliate myself, one after the other,” she said.

She was recently named one of the funniest 50 women by the Huffington Post.

But before she became a comedian/writer/director, she was a public policty advisor for New York City.

“I’m way more narcissistic,” Farsad said. “Back then, I was pure and noble. I’ve always wanted to make a change. I believe in that. I just don’t do it from the public policy-making way any more.”

Both Farsad and Obeidallah are excited about the tour.

“I’ve never been so excited in my life,” Obeidallah said.

“We want to try to reach out to fellow Americans,” he said. “We can do comedy. We figured to do it for free. We’re trying to make a difference. I’m investing my own money. It’s comedy as a form of activism.”

Obeidallah thinks that most Americans are open-minded about learning about other religions and cultures.

“That’s what makes this nation exceptional,” he said. “For some people, all the jokes in the world won’t change their minds,” Obeidallah said. “But if you want to laugh, we’re first and foremost professional comedians. We’ll talk about everything from politics to pop culture to President Obama. It’s comedy written for everyone.”

Obeidallah said as an American, he’s proud to be an American, and he’s proud of his religion and heritage.

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