Dean Obeidallah and John Avlon Episode 477

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37 mins Born in the Great State of New Jersey, Dean Obeidallah's comedy comes in large part from his unique background of being the son of a Palestinian father and a Sicilian mother. Dean, an award winning comedian who was at one time a practicing attorney, co-starred on Comedy Central’s “The Axis of Evil” Comedy TV special. He is the co-creator of Comedy Central.com’s critically acclaimed Internet series “The Watch List” featuring a cast of all Middle Eastern-American comedians performing stand up and sketch comedy. Dean has appeared twice on ABC’s “The View,” on the nationally syndicated TV series “Comics Unleashed with Byron Allen” and was one of five comedians profiled in the recent one hour TV Special entitled: “Stand Up: Muslim-American Comics Come of Age” which aired in the US on PBS and internationally on BBC World and Al Jazeera. Dean co-directed and co-produced the award winning documentary “The Muslims Are Coming!” featuring a tour of American-Muslim comedians performing free comedy shows across the heartland of America in the hopes of using comedy to foster understanding and dispel misconceptions about Muslims. The film also features special guest interviews with various well known people including: “The Daily Show’s” Jon Stewart and Assif Mandvi, Russell Simmons, Soledad O’Brien and Ali Velshi, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, comedians Lewis Black, David Cross, Lizz Winstead and Colin Quinn as well as Congressman Keith Ellison, and many more. The film is now available on Netfilx, iTunes and Amazon. Dean co-created the comedy show “Stand up for Peace” along with Jewish comic Scott Blakeman which they perform at colleges across the country in support of peace in the Middle East and as a way of fostering understanding between Arab, Muslim and Jewish-Americans. He is writes for MSNBC, CNN and The Daily Beast as well as other publications. Dean is also the co-creator and co-producer of the New York Arab-American Comedy Festival .He is also proud to serve as the Executive Director of The Amman Stand up Comedy Festival – the first stand up comedy festival ever held in the Middle East Dean is proud to have received the first annual “Bill Hicks Spirit Award” for “thought provoking comedy” (named after the late comedian Bill Hicks) from the NY Underground Comedy Festival and the Hicks’ Family. 1:13 John Avlon is an author, columnist and commentator. He is a senior political analyst and fill-in anchor at CNN, appearing on New Day every morning. From 2013 to 2018, he was the editor-in-chief and managing director of The Daily Beast, during which time the site’s traffic more than doubled to over one million readers a day while winning 17 journalism awards. He is the author of the books Independent Nation, Wingnuts, and Washington’s Farewell as well as co-editor of the acclaimed Deadline Artists journalism anthologies. Avlon served as chief speechwriter to New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and won the National Society of Newspaper Columnists award for best online column in 2012.

After the attacks of September 11th, 2001, he and his team were responsible for writing the eulogies for all firefighters and police officers murdered in the destruction of the World Trade Center. Avlon’s essay on the attacks, “The Resilient City” concluded the anthology Empire City: New York through the Centuries and won acclaim as “the single best essay written in the wake of 9/11.”

His first book, Independent Nation: How Centrists Can Change American Politics was described by Barron’s as “a rewarding portrait of a political trend the established parties have tried to ignore” and hailed by TheModerateVoice.com as “the best political book ever on American centrist voters.”

Wingnuts: How The Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America was praised by President Bill Clinton, who said “Wingnuts offers a clear and comprehensive review of the forces on the outer edges of the political spectrum that shape and distort our political debate. Shedding more heat than light they drive frustrated alienated citizens away from the reasoned discourse that can produce real solutions to our problems.”

The two Deadline Artists anthologies, which Avlon co-edited with Jesse Angelo and Errol Louis won acclaim from the Washington Post as “one of the greatest collections of newspaper articles ever compiled” while the American Journalism Review described it as “the most addictive journalism book ever.”

Avlon has appeared on The Daily Show, Late Show with Stephen Colbert, CNN, Real Time with Bill Maher, PBS, and C-Span. He has spoken at the Kennedy School of Government, the Citadel, the State Department’s visiting journalist program, and civic organizations around the nation.

He serves on the board of Citizens Union of New York and The Bronx Academy of Letters as well as the advisory board of the Theodore Roosevelt Association. He was appointed to the New York City Voter Assistance Advisory Committee in 2011. Avlon is also a co-founder of No Labels – a group of Democrats, Republicans and Independents dedicated to the politics of problem-solving and making government work again.

In a profile, author Stephen Marshall wrote “Avlon talks about politics the way ESPN anchors wrap up sports highlights.” Columnist Kathleen Parker wrote, “Americans who are fed up with the Ann Coulter/Michael Moore school of debate and are looking for someone to articulate a commonsense, middle path, may have found their voice in John Avlon.”

He is married to Margaret Hoover, the author of American Individualism and host of PBS’s Firing Line. The New York Times says, “Their telegenic union may be a lesson in overcoming the orthodoxies that divide us.” They live in New York City with their son, Jack and daughter, Toula Lou.

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