"I know what you're saying, just looking at me. GUILTY! Ah, no, my friend, don't judge me so harshly. I can't help the way I look, you should see me without the beard. Praise Allah I am blessed with a fuzzy face. Forgive me, I went to Gaza last weekend to compete in the ugly contest and they told me 'no professionals'. No respect is mine, I assure you of that. Every time I go to Jerusalem, they follow me around with a pooper scooper."

Meet Sheik Mahmoud Abu Tir ("Hey, that's what it says on my pilot's license"), the number two guy in Hamas and the foremost fashion disaster in all of Palestine. And, many would say, the most explosive ("Don't use that word!") youngish comedian east of the West Bank.

Now that the elections are over and Hamas is living large, Tir has decided to take some time off and return to his first love: stand-up. Unfortunately, the Sheik failed to ascertain the number of available comedy venues in Palestine, which is currently zero.

"What, me worry?" shrugs Tir. "Fuhgedaboudit. Who needs clubs? Talent always finds a way." That way might just be in the form of Palestine's first big-time movie studio, Barking Lion Productions, which is casting Abu in it's first production, a remake of the Woody
Allen classic, 'Bananas'.

Studio head Afir Raheem Bahu says that Tir is perfect to take over Allen's role as Fielding Mellish, the consumer products tester who joins a Central American revolution to impress his girlfriend, and ends up as president of a third world country.

"This is one of those universal stories which really transcends cultures. It will resonate across Palestine, perhaps across all of the laugh loving Middle East. Mahmould is perfect. Perfect. Not only does he have the quirky look and the wit, but he has that certain necessary nebbishness which money just can't buy. Plus he was willing to play a Jew."

"What!?," shouted Abu Tir, from two paragraphs up. "A Jew!?"

 

2006, Mark Hoback