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Meet my Intern in Israel: Uri Ish-Shalom

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“Sammy, what are your goals for 2016?” they ask (“they” being my parents, after a long talk about cutting me off their Sprint plan).  I’m a millennial, and thus better than them, so I can respond calmly with a deeper, spiritual question: “Mom, dad…why must we always focus on goals, i.e. what we could have in the future, when we can focus on what we have right now, which for me is… 2k in savings and my recent investment in a WORLD CLASS JEWISH INTERN WORKING FOR ME IN ISRAEL RIGHT NOW AND HIS NAME IS URI ISH-SHALOM!”

The door slams in my face, as my parents kick me out, noting that what I said was not spiritual, nor a question.  Do they think I’m joking, or can they not see my sincerity like my trusted blog readers (who look very sexy today, might I add?) can.  Okay, so we all know the hacky joke that having a Jewish manager/agent is the key success in Hollywood.  Sure, it’s true, and I have one (I don’t even think there are any non-Jewish ones, and if there were I wouldn’t trust them with my assets), but again, let me ask another more important, spiritual question: I AM THE FIRST ARAB AMERICAN COMEDIAN TO HIRE AN ISRAELI INTERN AND HIS NAME IS URI ISH-SHALOM! HASHTAG PROGRESS.

Sorry for ALL CAPS, but the point I illustrate is that in 2016, I’m capitalizing.  Not like in the money sense, because I haven’t made money on this investment yet, but in the sense of bridging a very important cultural gap that I am associated with by blood and dietary preferences (I love falafel!).  Unlike a lot of (most) Arabs (actually all but me), I love the Jews, in fact…Jewish is my most favorite religion, since it’s the only religion that never tries to recruit me.  The Jehovas knock on my door, Mormons bike up to my porch all smug and perfect, Scientologists chase me down the street (with their eyes), while the Jews are just like “Umm yea, we’re the chosen ones, we’re not taking applications right now.  Maybe cut off part of your dick and get in line?”

Now, I’m aware that I could lose some of my Arab following from this news.  In fact, this might be my most controversial blog ever, and I have written about possibly having AIDS.  I’m not asking you to rehash over my history of masterpieces, but two years ago when my Jewish roommate and I posted our sketch about the Israeli Palestinian situation, I got pages of trolling comments on my Youtube channel, Jews and Arabs cursing at each other, and people from all over the world taking a side and using the appropriate racial slurs.  For the last 5 decades, Israel/Palestine has been the world’s most divisive issue, undeniably the worst dinner conversation topic, leading your family to a fist fight before desert is served (though blood on ice cream is actually delicious, it looks like strawberry sauce but adds a savory kick!).  You’ll have better luck keeping your family intact while discussing gun control’s effects on reproductive rights of transgenders who’ve been sexually assaulted by Bill Cosby.  Side note, I still might have AIDS, I’m not sure.

But, ironically, Isreal/Palestine is the thing we NEED to talk about the most.  The ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been responsible for tens of thousands of deaths, and has in some way influenced numerous acts of terror (including 9/11), the rise of terrorist groups like ISIS, and the overall turmoil in the Middle East (ya, shit just got isREAL).  It’s the reason Iran is scary right now, and the reason the US shakes its taxpayers for $10 million a day in military aid to Israel (make that $10 million and 1 dollars a day because my soldier of an intern is gettin’ paid boy!).  I often joke in my act that the ‘IP’ in ‘IP address’ stands for Israel Palestine, buecause all of the world’s problems are routed to it.  About 5 people get it.  But I still tell the joke, as it’s my Intellectual Property (IP).

And yea, that’s the problem, comedy audiences in the US don’t really care about this stuff (or do you?  Wow, look at those gorgeous eyes you’ve got).  So here’s my solution, take this movement overseas and hire a world class Israeli intern to promote my comedy in the holy land!  “I don’t see the connection…what does your comedy have to do with making peace?” my skeptical American reader chimes in, as we can see his/her chiseled abs and perfect jawline.  To whom, I say, stop worrying that pretty head of yours and SAY SHALOM TO MY MOST PRIZED INTERN URI ISH-SHALOM!

First of all, what a great guy.  He’s spent 7 years of his life in Israel, but still an American citizen (I only support domestic; Trump 2016), so when he’s not working for me or earning his PR degree (yea I read resumes ;p), you might find him at the McDonald’s drive through, listening to all the Maroon 5 classics on repeat.  Yes, Uri’s got the moves like Jagger, when it comes to helping me with online marketing, designing flyers, and exposing my Conan set to thousands of Israelis.  Good thing I didn’t bomb, right?! (That joke never gets old. But it bombs).

Speaking of bombing, that’s actually how Uri and I met… he saw me eat shit at a college cafeteria in Milwaukee.  I mean, their food was shit…I did ok, but I followed 3 rappers, who all the kids followed out of the room right before my set (ironically, it was Follow Friday).  Only Uri and a few exchange students had the decency to watch what I had flown and driven 9 hours in the snow for.  After the show, Uri complimented my puns, and I instantly realized he was one of ‘the good ones’.  By ‘ones’, I mean aspiring comedians, because Uri is a budding, young funny man himself (no sane person would work for me).  When he let me know he was moving to Israel, we quickly drew the mission statement to “combat racism and ignorance in the Middle East”.  Fun fact, Uri’s last name ‘Ish-Shalom’ is Yiddish for ‘man of peace”.  And mine, ‘Obeid’ is Arabic for ‘slave’, which is why I love interns!  Match made in heaven (since Jews don’t believe in Hell).  So far Uri has increased my Israeli fanbase from -7 to 986, and he’s put me on the radar of one of Israel’s most prominent comedians, Yohay Sponder, who was nice enough to provide a quote for the blog, in an authentic Israeli accent:

“As a comedian i see what Sammy doing, the way he speaks about he’s culture, about the conflict, it inspires me, and its smell like a better future, comedy is the best way of bring people together, and people like Sammy Obeid are always needed, the more the better, especially in the middle east”

SEE?!  DO YOU SEE WHAT WE ARE DOING HERE, MOM AND DAD?  Making the smells of peace for Israelis and Palestinians.  And that smell is hummus.

So I guess do have goals for 2016…I want to be the first Lebanese/Palestinian American comedian to perform in Israel, also the first comedian to perform in North Korea (details coming soon), the first comedian to be happy (deferred goal for the last 8 years)…I want my blogs to have layers…I want peace in the Middle East, my Arab and Jewish fans to get along, and everyone in the world to follow Uri on IG: Ushymayne

And if that’s too much to ask, I just want to get back on my family’s Sprint plan.

DOG BLOG SAD

I’m Gonna Blog Again

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A few weeks ago I’m talking to a beautiful girl at a bar in LA (I won’t name names but let’s just say the girl’s name is Sassafras and the bar’s name is Jessica.)  We just met, but we’re hitting it off, she seems to be strangely in tune with my comedic sensibilities (I’m getting butterflies just telling you about this), and she suddenly stops, looks me deep in the eyes and genuinely laughs (I don’t want to spoil this story, but I’m in love, and she’s the one)…she says, “This is weird, but you look so familiar…” !!  As dreamy and awesome as it is to hear this, I have been on TV, and thus know how to handle this situation.  Take a deep breath. Even though the ego wants to rejoice, you must maintain a humble tone, and say something low-key, so I say “Ahh…well, you … Continue reading

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I’m Sick and Tired of All This White Bullshit

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The snow!!  Oops, I meant to post a pic of a snowflake.  Eh, too lazy to change it.  I swear I’m not racist, I’d hate snow if it were any color (except whatever color my skin is).  It’s just that I’m sitting out here in New England, where, historically, olivey-brownish guys like me get held down by the Man… That’s right, Frosty the Snow Man!  I’m begging him to give me the D… The vitamin, but he keeps making it snow to the point where it’s seeping into my ears and brain and now I can’t even focus on writing my revolutionary submission piece for Buzzfeed called “19 Things I Hate About White People, Because 19 Is Where I Ran Out Of Ideas.”  So this post will just have to be about snow. :/ But I pulled some strings and got my own blog to publish it! Last … Continue reading

The Chooser

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Several weeks ago, I was walking down the street and I passed a homeless man panhandling. I took in his pitiful situation and thought to myself “what if I…. Helped him?” Anyway, here’s the result of that one-off thought experiment: a sketch starring and put together by some of my comic friends. It’s the season of giving, so give it your undivided attention. Bring the family. Merry winter.

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When Someone Tells You “You Suck” :/

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I’ve been doing comedy for seven heart-wrenching years, but been doing the human being thing for a soul-crowbarring 30.  And yet, I still have no clever response to a meanie dropping a “you suck” bomb on me.  And I hear it all the time, whether it’s an attack on my comedy while on stage or an ex telling me off for not picking up her calls.  Unfortunately, I can’t just delete every “you suck” from my voicemail; it often permeates the brain and lingers for years.  And the “you suck,” no matter what shape it takes (“you smell weird,” or  “stop calling me and hanging up, you sad, sad clown,” etc.), is the basis of all hatred in this world, responsible for wars, every case of suicide, and, most depressing of all: “mean people suck” bumper stickers. But c’mon! There’s got to be a better way of coming back at such a simple expression without … Continue reading

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3 Secrets I Used To Go Viral

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So I’ve gone viral AGAIN! (The first time being when I got infected in May, see last post). More recently, a video of mine went viral on one of the highest-trafficked websites in the world (arguably the universe), World Star Hip Hop! For those unfamiliar with the self-dubbed “#1 urban outlet,” CBS News describes the site as “infamous for posting videos of violent fights and public sexual acts.”  My video was neither AND YET still yielded over 200,000 views. Let’s see what users are saying: Okay Trillest Ever, it’s been over ten days and I haven’t forgotten, so looks like you aren’t as trill as your verification suggests! And yes Greg4422, white people love it! Now, if you’re still reading you’re probably thinking, “DAMN I REALLY WANT TO SEE THIS GUY’S VIDEO, I’VE NEVER SEEN A VIDEO BEFORE, THIS SOUNDS SO INTERESTING.”  I sense some sarcasm in your … Continue reading

I’m Palestinian, My Roommate is Jewish

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My roommate and I wrote and filmed this sketch a few years ago, but some friends I showed it to shot it down. So we never released it. Suddenly, it’s topical, so f*@k those friends. Enjoy.

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Doctor Tells Me I Have HIV

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Some of you are expecting a joke here.  Like HIV stands for “Hilarious Internet Vegetarian” or something stupid like that.  No, this time there’s no joke.  Last week at a Kaiser in West Covina, I was told that I have HIV. It’s not easy for me to put this into words, and it all happened so fast.  Just over a week ago, things were going better than ever.  I was finally back home after weeks on the road, had just won a $1,000 comedy competition, and was feeling, physically, in the best shape of my life.  I even thought to myself, “Man, this is like the best my life has ever been. I’m… Happy.”   My advice to you all is never have this thought.  Or else you’ll soon find out you have HIV. I’m at the gym on a pleasant Sunday, when I feel some eerie chills.  I … Continue reading

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Announcing My Retirement From Comedy

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Oops, I meant “Home,” not “From.” “Announcing My Retirement Home Comedy” is what it should read.  You are a sly one, auto-correct!!  Ugh, I don’t feel like going back and fixing it, but yeah, I’m still doing comedy. In fact I’m doing even more of it!  In even more adverse locations!  I’d like to announce a new series of shows that I’m producing at retirement homes in the LA area.  Well, so far just one in Torrance and one in Sherman Oaks, but watch out Glendale!   “Awww, what a proud humanitarian,” is what I hope you’re thinking. Though it’s probably, “Yeah right, he just wants stage time and is trying to make it look noble,” or “I’m still pissed about the title baiting me in.”  Truth is, my friends, it’s all of the above! Performing at a retirement home isn’t easy, as it requires extra charm, relatable material, … Continue reading

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I Got My Pilot License!

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In sunny Los Angeles we have two seasons: early summer and late summer.  Early summer is January – April, or what the industry calls “pilot season.”   When I first heard “pilot season,” I imagined a sky filled with planes twirling around awkwardly and crashing into each other as young pilots learn to fly.  Turns out that’s exactly what LA’s pilot season is!  It’s chaos and clutter, all of us scrambling around unsure of what we’re doing, networks and actors frantically trying to make fledgling scripts fly, and, at some point, almost everyone crashes.  Kale smoothie splattered everywhere. It’s weird how airplane pilots are expected to successfully lead us to our destination, while TV pilots are generally expected to fail.  Thousands of new TV show ideas are written each year but only a slim few make it to the screen, and even less will continue to fly the skies of television.  The … Continue reading

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Joke Thievery: How to Know if You are a Hack

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Joke thievery is a very sensitive subject amongst comedians.  Altercations break out over joke stealing, and a few comedians have even been killed.  Yeah, I know! … No, just kidding, no deaths.  At least I hope.  Friendships amongst comics have definitely been killed.  As well as careers.  All in the name of trying to kill on stage. Often we call someone a “hack” if they steal jokes, though it can also simply mean that they are unoriginal.  It’s important that we realize that most cases of hackery are not deliberate, but rather a product of inexperience.  It’s not like we get mad at fledgling surgeons for copying the moves from their textbooks.  So let’s distinguish. A Level 1 Hack is someone who’s just not that original.  It’s not like they’re flat-out repeating someone’s jokes, but they re-use tired premises or apply common mechanisms that other comedians use, whether … Continue reading