Last Saturday a handful of Arab comedians took the stage as part of the Legends of Arab Comedy show, one in a series at this year's New York Arab American Comedy Festival. The festival is now a decade old and featured seven stand-up performances full of Arab comedians, a number of whom have performed in the festival since the beginning. Energetically hosted by comedian Aron Kader, the performance was attended by a largely Arab crowd whose spirited responsiveness stayed quite consistent throughout the night.
One of the themes of the night was an oft-repeated country-by-country roll call, serving as the basis for snarky, nationality-themed humor. ("Anyone here from Saudi Arabia? You? From Riyadh. Never heard of it.") The geographic representation was checked and re-checked by comedians a few times, with the obvious numerical advantage going to Egyptians. The roar that followed "Who here's from Egypt?" was just as deafening every time.