Death for Jokes

When Danny Cohen and I flew to Israel to perform comedy for civilians stuck in shelters and the IDF soldiers defending them, we received death threats and violent, hateful messages from radical Muslims. Two New York comedians being told to die (which is a low number at some shows!) for telling jokes.

For telling jokes.

Today again we see the fine line between angry radicals threatening and acting. I don’t have a simple solution, I just think it’s closer to home than most of us realize. It kept Danny and I up some nights. It was traumatic. I didn’t write about it then because it wasn’t my job. I was there to bring light. There’s plenty of light, and even on the darkest days it’s the best direction to face. Especially on the darkest days.

I once heard John Cleese explain that the challenge with religion is it’s created by smart people who speak in metaphor and often received by stupid people who can only understand the literal.

These French comedians long ago gave their lives to bring light into dark situations. This week, stupid terrorists made that literal.

For telling jokes.

TRNDNGNEWS with Ari Teman
TRNDNGNEWS with Ari Teman

But we’ll continue their mission, to tell jokes, because that is what comedians do when you make the room dark, we bring your attention to the light. You can rally, and you can cry, but go watch or read some comedy tonight in honor of these writers. It’s what they lived for.###

Ari Teman is an award-winning TV comedian and host of TRNDNGNEWS who flew a group of comics to Israel during Operation Protective Edge to entertain troops & civilians in shelters (read that blog here). He runs Friend or Fraud, a cybersecurity startup based in Tel Aviv and NYC. Hire Ari for your organization , follow him on twitter, and like him on facebook.


Ari Teman (Entertaining IDF Iron Dome Command Base)
Ari Teman entertaining the Iron Dome command base.
About the Author
Ari Teman is an award-winning comedian performing on TV, in sold-out theaters across North America and Israel, for the President and the Israeli Ambassador, and as a headliner for Jewish, corporate, and charity events. He can whistle in 17 languages. Ari is also founder Friend or Fraud, the 12gurus conferences (12gurus:Health and 12gurus:Charity), and the founder of JCorps International the first and largest Jewish "social volunteering" network. Follow him on Twitter & Facebook for jokes, shows, and updates. Book him at
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