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How the Dean of Comedy Made It Happen //

11.22.09
bySeif Al-Din

DeanObeidallahComedian Dean Obeidallah gave us the Arab-American Comedy Festival, Axis of Evil and The Watch List, now he tells FEN how he made the transition from being a full-time attorney to being a comedian and how you can too:

What drove you to pursue comedy and to what extent have you left your job as an attorney?
When I went to law school it was because I had dreams of running for elected office. I believed a law degree was a good background for politics.  After a few years of being a lawyer though, I realized I was more creative than I previously thought and the law was too dry and confining. I started performing comedy at night because I always enjoyed making people laugh.  After doing comedy for a few years at night, I decided to take a chance on doing it full time.

I always believed it’s better to take a chance on something you really want to do than to look back later on your life and wonder what could’ve been. I haven’t practiced law in many years and I’m much happier!

What tips can you offer to aspiring comedians?
The best tip I can offer to anyone who wants to do comedy is to do it. Too many people are frozen by their own self-imposed barriers to take a chance on doing things out of the “normal.”  You don’t have to quit your job or school to try comedy–it’s a night time thing. In fact, you shouldn’t quit your day job for at least a few years so you can develop an act.

The key to succeeding is writing material and performing and then re-writing. You have to repeat this over and over again. It’s the same approach that all the comedians follow from the newer ones to the most famous.

I’d also recommend taking a stand up comedy class if you live in New York City or Los Angeles. They help teach you the basics of stand up and will help your development. But overall the number one thing is to get on stage as often as possible and perform!

For more on Dean, check out our 6Qs with him >>



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