Laugh in Peace stand-up tour encourages interfaith comedy

A reverend, rabbi and Muslim comic walked into Hendricks Chapel on Friday, filling it with laughter.

There was nothing but laughter and smiling faces in Hendricks Chapel Friday afternoon as the Lutheran Campus Ministry at Syracuse University and SUNY ESF partnered with Hillel and the Muslim Student Union to bring The Laugh in Peace Comedy Tour.

The comedy tour celebrates the 100-year anniversary of the Lutheran Campus Ministry and features the comedic trio of Muslim comic Mohammad “Mo” Amer, Rabbi Bob Alper and Reverend Susan Sparks. They're three figures from different religious backgrounds, performing together to promote interfaith dialogue.

After taking a moment of silence to honor victims of the bombings in Boston, the show started off with stand-up from Rev. Sparks, who currently lives in New York City but is originally from the South. Part of her routine contrasted the lifestyles of city-folk with the Southern lifestyle.

“As a Southerner, you can say anything you want about anyone you want as long as you end it with ‘Bless your heart,’” said Sparks.

Rabbi Bob Alper took the stage next. He acknowledged that sometimes his jokes fell flat but he did not mind when they did. During his performance, he discussed his life growing up Jewish and his life today as a Rabbi doing stand-up.

“We had a boy, a girl, and a vasectomy,” Alper joked about his children. “Around the time of their teenage years, I grew to favor the vasectomy.”

Amer ended the show by enjoining the audience in his act. He talked about his life growing up a Muslim in America after his family moved from Kuwait to Texas. Amer said that in his Latino dominated public school, he was placed in an English as a second language class even though he fluently spoke English.

“The ironic part about the whole thing is that instead of learning English, I learned Spanish, which is great because I’m brown and I speak Spanish so if anything breaks out, I can just camouflage.”

The purpose of the “Laugh in Peace” tour is to show that people from different religions can build relationship with one another through comedy. Arts and sciences senior Aryn Rapp said she was pleased with the performance.

“I thought the whole message behind the entire project was really cool,” said Rapp. “How laughter brings people together and you don’t really thing about that, especially in a sense of religion. I just think it was a really great event and was very successful.”

To learn more about the Laugh in Peace comedy tour, visit its Facebook page.

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