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comcentr-arabia2.jpg[Image from WorldNetDaily, but jeers to them for using the word “hijack” when they meant copyright infringement.]
You know what the Middle East needs? More comedy! (Or first, some comedy. And then, more comedy!)
Daily Variety broke the news that MTV Networks and Abu Dhabi’s Twofour54 signed a deal to create Comedy Central Studios Arabia:

The new company, which will be based in Abu Dhabi, will develop and produce comedy content in Arabic for broadcast and distribution across the Middle East and North Africa. While existing Comedy Central formats are likely to be adapted for the Arab market, the focus will also be on developing new Arabic comedy talent across multi-platforms, including standup, as well as short- and long-form programming. […]
“I found early on that Arabs are funny and inherently amusing,” said Twofour54 chief exec Tony Orsten. “There is a large appetite for comedy content in this region. We want to create a production industry based on it and find opportunities to find new talent.”


Although no “existing formats” were specifically named, I’m going to guess that “South Park” and Jeff Dunham’s “Ahmed the Dead Terrorist” won’t play in Abu Dhabi. (But what about Dane Cook? Or Lil’ Bush? It should be interesting to see what acceptable imports include.) And, as far as cultivating talent in the region is concerned, the fact that the new entity will be Arabic-language content probably means that this Middle East venture is going to leave out the comedic efforts of the Israeli people.
It may not be the peace solution we’ve all been hoping for, but laughter is a start.

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