A Rabbi, a Muslim, and a Baptist preacher walk into a room. (Rim shot!) Yes, it is the setup for a joke, but not like you expect. Comedian/Rabbi Bob Alper, Muslim comic Azhar Usman, and myself, an ex-lawyer, turned Baptist minister and standup comedian are taking the stage for the Laugh in Peace Tour. Appearing everywhere from The World Bank Headquarters in Washington, DC to the Palestinian Fest in Houston, Texas, to Congregation Tifereth Israel in Columbus, Ohio, the goal of the tour is to build bridges and reconcile differences through humor.
The three of us believe that humor may be the quickest way to world peace. Given the current headlines, it’s hard to imagine a message the world needs more.
Humor highlights our commonalties. When we laugh with someone, whether it is a stranger, a friend, or an enemy, our worlds overlap for a tiny, but significant moment. It is then that our differences fade and our common connections gleam forth. As the poet W.H. Auden wrote, “Love your crooked neighbor with your own crooked heart.”
Our audiences span every imaginable face: Jews, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Atheists. And for two short hours, the differences are forgotten and we all laugh together.
In the show, Rabbi Alper explains about the differences in language and culture:
“After three years at seminary I took a year off, to study in Israel. I had some Biblical Hebrew under my belt, but it was difficult during the first weeks.
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