'Laugh in Peace Comedy Tour' comes to SVAC


MANCHESTER -- A rabbi, a Muslim and a minister -- in the form of East Dorset's Rabbi Bob Alper, Kuwait-born Palestinian comic, Mohammed Amer, and the Rev. Jennifer Munroe-Nathans -- bring the internationally acclaimed "Laugh in Peace Comedy Tour" to the Southern Vermont Arts Center on Saturday, Sept. 6.

The brainchild of real-life Rabbi turned full-time comic, Bob Alper, Laugh in Peace has played more than 300 shows to rapt and convulsed crowds across the nation and across the pond, in England.

To be more precise, the idea actually came to Alper's publicist who, some years ago, asked him "What would you think of performing with a Muslim?" To which Alper replied, "Do you have any other ideas?" "Yes. I said that," laughed Alper, "But not because I was opposed to working with a Muslim. The idea of traveling with another comic -- we're all lunatics -- seemed crazy to me." Many, many shows later, and now with the addition of a Christian cleric, the show has taken on a life of its own.

Alper's been honing his comedic chops for years, having performed before thousands at the Montreal Comedy Festival, 2,700 at the Chautauqua Institution in New York, and much smaller but no less receptive crowds at the renowned Hollywood IMPROV. And his stage-mates are no slouches, either.

Mohammed "Mo" Amer has done shows in 16 countries, across five continents -- including multiple USO tours where he performed for U.S. troops in Iraq -- and was favorably compared to Eddie Murphy by Julian Hall, of The Independent (U.K.). He has happily and successfully played to tens-of-thousands in outdoor arenas and to several random people in coffee shops. His goal is to use his comedic talents to promote understanding between the Muslim community and the non-Muslim peoples of the world.

The Rev. Jennifer Munroe-Nathans, Senior Pastor of the Church of Christ, Congregational, in Millis, Massachusetts, has been performing stand-up throughout New England and constantly tries out new material on her long suffering friends and family. She recently made her debut at the world-famous Catch a Rising Star.

"Given the state of unrest in the Middle East right now, and elsewhere, you'd think there's no hope," said Alper. "But we're living proof that there is hope. We're not trying to trivialize anything, by any means. We know what's at stake. But the fact is, you can't hate each other when you're laughing with each other. And that's where the hope is."

Tickets for this performance are $25 ($20 for Arts Center members) and are available online at svac.org or by calling 802-362-1405.

The Southern Vermont Arts Center is located off West Road (930 SVAC Drive) in Manchester. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday noon to 5 p.m. For more information, call 802-362-1405 or email info@svac.org. Visit any time at svac.org.


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