Dean Obeidallah

Dean Obeidallah

Dean Obeidallah is a former lawyer turned political comedian and commentator. Dean has appeared on numerous TV shows including CNN, Comedy Central's "Axis of Evil" Special, Current TV's "The Young Turks," ABC's "The View," MSNBC's "Up With Chris Hayes," NBC's "Rock Center," and ABC's "Nightline." Dean has written articles for CNN.comThe Huffington Post, BBC Radio and written jokes which have appeared on NBC's "Saturday Night Live's Weekend Update" segment and CBS' "The Late, Late Show." He is also co-director of the soon to be released "The Muslims Are Coming!" Twitter: @deanofcomedy

Website URL: http://www.deanofcomedy.com

How to Be Loved Like Rush Limbaugh-9th Most Admired Person in the US

22 January 2014 Published in Blog

By Dean Obeidallah

January 15, 2014

(The Daily Beast) Rush Limbaugh is the ninth most admired person in the United States! That is, at least according to a new poll released this week. But if you are like me, I’m sure you have the same question: Why isn’t Rush higher up on the list?

For example, the poll has the Dalai Lama coming in at number seven, two spots ahead of Rush. But, honestly, what has the Dalai Lama really accomplished? He just walks around in a robe and talks about peace. Rush, on the other hand, has 20 million listeners and is responsible for coming up with new content five days a week on his radio show.

With that aside, here’s the thing: You, too, can be just as admired as Rush. How you ask? Simple, just follow these easy life lessons that Rush has bestowed upon us over the years--they are a road map to admiration:

1. Call out fakers:  Rush isn’t the type to hold back when he sees a person faking it and neither should you.  For example, actor Michael J. Fox, who suffers from Parkinson's disease, appeared in campaign commercials for Democratic candidates who supported stem cell research. Many applauded Fox but Rush couldn’t sit idly by when he noticed Fox faking symptoms to get sympathy.  So, even though Rush isn’t a doctor, he wisely called out Fox for “exaggerating the effects of the disease” by his “moving all around and shaking, ” dubbing it "purely an act.” It’s courageous statements like these that will lead people to admire you.

2.  Women want honesty: Rush knows the number one thing women want is pure, unadulterated honesty. And that’s what he gives them. That’s why he told us that the women who oppose sexual harassment are “out there protesting what they actually wish would happen to them sometimes.” You see, women are just waiting for men to sexually harass them, and deep down they know it. Rush has also shown us the importance of being honest when debating a woman about political issues. Don’t hold back, because that would be sexist. That’s why Rush called grad student Sandra Fluke a “slut” and a “prostitute” after she testified before Congress in support of health insurance policies covering the cost of birth control.

To continue reading please visit The Daily Beast.com

Seven Reasons Chris Christie Isn’t Toast

10 January 2014 Published in Blog

By Dean Obeidallah

January 10, 2014

(The Daily Beast) The pundits are circling like vultures. You can’t turn on a cable news channel—except for Fox News, of course—without hearing an expert tell you how deadly Bridgegate is to Chris Christie’s presidential ambitions. Some have called for the governor to resign. Others say he’s “forever tarnished.”

But barring evidence that directly implicates Christie in the political-retaliation debacle, this scandal won’t hurt his higher aspirations in any significant way.  How can I say that? Well, I have seven reasons why:

1. We have the attention span of a house cat. We focus on an issue until another shiny object—or a piece of string—distracts us. Right now cable newsdom is all abuzz with Christie—but how long will that wall-to-wall coverage last? Until Miley Cyrus twerks again or Dennis Rodman visits another country in the Axis of Evil or Rick Flair gives another pep talk.

2. The other leading 2016 candidates have—or will have—scandals.Hillary Clinton has Benghazi, which the GOP will keep on life support for the next few years. Rand Paul plagiarized speeches. Ted Cruz was born in Canada. Marco Rubio has “Watergate”—his desperate need for water when giving important speeches, as well as a penchant for enhancing his bio to make himself look “more dramatic and victorious in the face of adversity.” And we still have another year or so until the presidential election cycle begins in earnest.

To continue reading please visit The Daily Beast.com

‘SNL’ Gets What the Rest of TV Should: Racial Diversity Means Quality

07 January 2014 Published in Blog

By Dean Obeidallah

January 7, 2014

(The Daily Beast) “Tragedy plus time equals comedy.” This famous quote that has been attributed to people from Woody Allen to Carol Burnett.

“More diversity equals better comedy.” This much less cited quote I think is even more relevant today. No need to Google who said this—I just did. (But I do expect it to become hugely famous-so save this article.)

On Monday, Saturday Night Live announced it had hired comedian and improv performer Sasheer Zamata to join its cast. The addition of SNL cast members usually gets a little press but this was not a typical addition. Zamata was added after a controversy erupted over the lack of black female cast members at SNL—the last being the amazingly talented Maya Rudolph who left in 2007.

Adding diversity to a comedy show—or to any show for that matter—simply to fill a quota would be wrong. But as a comedian and as someone who worked at SNLon the production staff from 1999-2007, I can tell you that greater diversity truly does equal better comedy.  Authentic voices representing different backgrounds only enhance the comedy stew. So instead of one-note comedy bits, we see nuanced ones that resonate as being truthful—which in turn is better comedy.

And I say this from first-hand experience. When I worked at SNL, I was the only person on the production staff of Arab heritage. Consequently, when writers were working on sketches that dealt with the Middle East—and believe me, there were a lot in the years after 9/11- they would often ask me questions.  Some were factual inquires. Others were: “Is this racist?”  If I sad “yes” they made sure to put it in the sketch. (Kidding!)

To continue reading please visit The Daily Beast.com

6 Reasons This Could Be Obama’s Best Year as President

04 January 2014 Published in Blog

By Dean Obeidallah

January 3, 2014

(The Daily Beast) “Obama is done! He’s a lame duck. It’s over for the president.”

These are the type of the comments we saw in the media as 2013 came to a close. As some political pundits saw it, Obama can forget seeing any of his proposals enacted and should simply enjoy the perks of being president -like free cable and limo rides.

Could they be right? Sure, it’s possible. Obama’s approval ratings are near his lowest as president and his disapproval rating is at 54 percent, his worst ever.

With that said, 2014 could be a great year for the president—in fact, it could be his best ever. I know some of you are thinking: I must be crazy.  Well, a lot of people who have been called crazy later went on to be recognized as geniuses. Of course, some who were labeled as “crazy” actually turned out to have mental disorders.

In either event, here are the six reasons that 2014 could be Obama’s finest.

1. The US economy is improving: A good economy generally equals higher approval ratings for president and in turn more political capital for him to push for his proposals. Even President Clinton had an approval rating of 73% in themidst of his impeachment. Why? One big reason was the US economy was strong with unemployment at 4.5% and falling. Currently, the US economy appears poised for growth. The unemployment rate is at its lowest point during the Obama administration at 7%. This is in sharp contrast to the 10% unemployment rate we saw at one time in Obama’s first term. In addition, the stock market just had its best year since 1997, the GDP for the third quarter of 2013 grew at a surprisingly strong 3.6% annual rate and the IMF recently raised its 2014 growth projection for the US economy.

To continue reading please visit The Daily Beast

The Right’s ‘Duck Dynasty’ Hypocrisy

19 December 2013 Published in Blog

By Dean Obeidallah

December 19, 2013

(The Daily Beast) Attention conservatives: you have the right to hate any group you want. Blacks, gays, Muslims, Jews, other sects of Christians, whoever you like. In fact, the U.S. Supreme Court has noted numerous times that the First Amendment guarantees “freedom of thought” in addition to freedoms such as religion and expression. Consequently, you can think as many hateful thoughts as you choose.

But here’s the thing: if you voice those hateful views publicly, you will be held accountable. That’s called personal responsibility. You would think people on the right would be familiar with that concept since they idolize Ronald Reagan, who famously said, “It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions.”

Look, you aren’t going to find a bigger defender of freedom of speech than myself.  I’m both a writer and standup comedian, so expression is my lifeblood. But the First Amendment does not provide you immunity. It simply means that the government can’t prevent you from expressing yourself. But once you say something, you will be called to answer for it.

To continue reading please visit The Daily Beast

It’s Conservatives Who Really Want Christ Out of Christmas

17 December 2013 Published in Blog

By Dean Obeidallah

December 17, 2013

(The Daily Beast) The War on Christmas is on! This epic battle pits the forces on the right who demand that we say “Merry Christmas” to everyone regardless of their faith—or lack thereof—against those who prefer to say “Happy Holidays.”

How fierce has this so-called “war” become? Well, Sarah Palin is travelling across the country alerting people that “angry atheists” want to “abort Christ from Christmas.” Palin is like a modern day Paul Revere—you know, the guy Palin told us warned the British in 1775 that the British were about to attack the colonists.

Bill O’Reilly, the “Father Christmas” of the War on Christmas, recently clamoredthat there are dastardly people who want to, “banish any mention of Jesus in the public square.”

And apparently these atheists—who represent about 1.6 percent of our population—are so dangerous that it compelled Texas Governor Rick Perry to enact the “Merry Christmas law” earlier this year to ensure that public school teachers could say “Merry Christmas” without fear of attack.

But here’s the glaring hypocrisy of the right: they want to keep “Christ in Christmas,” but they don’t want to keep Christ’s teachings in the policies they advocate. It’s as if there are two Jesus Christs.  There’s the one in the Bible who advocates helping people in need, especially the poor. And then there’s the Jesus that conservatives worship, whose philosophy is to callously slash programs that help the less fortunate, from food stamps to health insurance to unemployment benefits.

To continue reading please visit The Daily Beast


Can it get any worse for Obama?

03 November 2013 Published in Blog

By Dean Obeidallah

November 2, 2013


(CNN) -- Things are looking horrible for President Barack Obama. There's the Obamacare website fiasco. Ongoing allegations of National Security Agency spying on European leaders. There was the government shutdown that damaged the economy on his watch. And a new poll released this week finds Obama with his lowest approval rating -- and his highest disapproval rating -- ever.

 

If this were a movie, we would be at the part where the hero finds himself surrounded. He has no escape routes and he's outgunned. What will happen next: Will our hero prevail like John McClane in "Die Hard," or will he fail like William Wallace in "Braveheart"?

Well, the good news for Obama is that the script for the final scenes of his presidency has not been written yet. The bad news is that he may not be the one writing it.

 

Simply put: Obama is not the protagonist driving his own story. Rather, his storyline is being dictated by others. No question, he has long had trouble controlling the narrative, with a GOP bent on denying him, basically, everything he wants. But now he's heading toward the end of his final term -- and the clock is ticking on his agenda.

To continue reading this article please click HERE to visit CNN.com

Rand Paul's Muslim-Bashing Speech

14 October 2013 Published in Blog

By Dean Obeidallah

October 14, 2013

(The Daily Beast) Was Rand Paul’s most recent, big set-piece speech about A. The government shutdown; B. The debt limit; or C. The dreaded Obamacare? Nope, it was none of them. Instead, Paul spent his 19-minute speech at the Value Voters summit on Friday talking about Muslims.

 

Now, I’m Muslim and I love attention - so on some level I’m happy when people talk about Muslims.  But despite what some may tell you, not all press is good press. And in the case of Rand Paul’s speech – it was awful press for Muslims.  In fact, by the end of  Paul’s talk, he had almost convinced me to hate Muslims.

Instead, his speech made me realize just how desperately Rand Paul wants to be President. Paul opened his speech with an attention grabbing line:  “From Boston to Zanzibar, there is a worldwide war on Christianity.”

Now, I thought he would be talking the typical fare: “war on Christmas,” Obama wants you to take birth control, gay people have the audacity to want to get married, etc.

But nope. Paul quickly made it clear that the war on Christians is being waged by Muslims.  How did he support this theory?  He would cite isolated actions by a few Muslims in various countries.  In fact, in the cases of Boston and Zanzibar, Paul noted the actions of two Muslims in each location to support his thesis that there are up to a “100 million” Muslims who want to slaughter Christians.

To continue reading this article please click HERE to visit The Daily Beast.com.

Confederate flag was the flag of traitors

25 October 2013 Published in Blog

By Dean Obeidallah

October 25, 2013

(CNN) -- You can debate whether the Confederate flag is a symbol of racism. But the one thing you can't dispute: The Confederate flag was flown by traitors to the United States of America who slaughtered more than 110,000 U.S. soldiers.

 

I know some will take issue with my calling the Confederacy a band of traitors, but let's be blunt -- that's what they were. They broke from the United States and created their own nation, calling it the Confederate States of America. They issued their own currency, elected their own president and Congress, raised an army and went to war with the United States of America, firing the first shot at Fort Sumter, South Carolina.

 

What's even more troubling about the so-called Confederate flag we see so often is that it was not the official flag of the Confederacy. It's worse than that. The flag commonly referred to as the Confederate flag was actually the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia.


Why is that worse? Because this was the flag carried on battlefields by Confederate troops during the Civil War as they killed U.S. soldiers.

 

And yet people still proudly display the Confederate flag.

To continue reading this article please click HERE to visit CNN.com


Ted Cruz is the Miley Cyrus of the Senate

11 October 2013 Published in Blog

By Dean Obeidallah

October 11, 2013

(The Daily Beast) Ted Cruz desperately needs help. He has an addiction. And alarmingly it’s to the one of the most powerful and destructive drugs out there: fame.

Cruz’s addiction has lead him to do the unthinkable. No, not shutting down the government, but the more amazing feat of becoming the Miley Cyrus of politics. In fact, he’s been making Miley look like a camera-shy recluse.

What’s next for Cruz to get our attention? Cruz giving a speech in Senate chamber while licking a gavel à la Miley? Tweeting out a nude selfie? Or worse: twerking.

Some of Cruz’s fellow Republicans have been warning us for weeks about his erratic behavior, but we have ignored them. Sen. Bob Corker called him “confused.” Karl Rove noted that, “His fellow senators don’t know where he is coming from.” And Republican congressman Peter King—a man known for his warmth and compassion—made it clear that what Cruz is doing is “a form of governmental terrorism.”

How did we miss the signs of Cruz’s fame addiction? He didn’t even try to hide it. Just this past February, in only his second month as a U.S. senator, Cruz made it clear that he required insatiable amounts of attention. Then, he used video clips and innuendo to attack Chuck Hagel’s reputation during Hagel’s confirmation hearings for secretary of defense.

To continue reading this article please click HERE to visit The Daily Beast.com