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Thursday, July 29, 2021

Can we “Coexist” on laughter alone?

The Coexist? Comedy Tour ft. Birdstrike Theater

Tuesday, 7 p.m., $4 general admission, $2 with a student ID

198 Young

Sometimes the topic of religion can be tense, controversial or even comforting. The Coexist? Comedy Tour is proving that religion can be a humorously good time as well.

The Coexist? Comedy Tour will perform at Young 198 on Feb. 24 at 7 p.m. Tickets for students are $2 and general admission is $4 and can be purchased at the door or at the Freeborn Hall box office.

Keith Lowell Jensen, Tapan Trivedi, John Ross, Sammy Obeid and Tissa Hami form this troupe, bringing their individual religious viewpoints and amazing comedic skills with them. Respectively titled The Atheist, The Hindu, The Christian, The Buddhist and The Muslim, these five comedians have been generating unrelenting excitement and laughter from audiences for the last year and a half.

The show will also feature Birdstrike Theater, a student improv comedy group on campus who will do a 30-minute opening set.

“I think it’s a really cool joint comedic effort and an awesome opportunity for UC Davis to have them come here,said Mike Lane, director of Birdstrike Theater.

Jasmine Lau, ASUCD Entertainment Council assistant director, said that the EC decided to bring the tour to Davis to satiate requests for a comedy show.

Co-producers Jensen and Trivedi came up with the idea for the group backstage at The William J. Geery Theatre in Sacramento.

According to Trivedi, after he and Jensen uncovered each other’s opposing religious viewpoints, they decided to combine forces to create the tour.

“[We thought] if we can bring this on stage, it would be awesome,Trivedi said.

Each member showcases his or her talent separately, following a line-up that depends on the location. They all do jokes about their own religions but also touch on each other’s religious viewpoints as well.

Our first and foremost goal is to entertain, but the secondary goal is to educate,Trivedi said.

The comediansstyles onstage vary from high energy to laid-back. Ross and Hami even include musical exhibitions during their sets, such as Hami’s parody of Adam Sandler’sChanukah Song – her version is a Ramadan Songand Rossuse of the Omnichord on stage.

When trying to classify his style of humor, Jensen had to think for a second and laughed:I don’t know, cerebral? That’s a word that someone else used to describe it recently. I think it’s really hard for an artist to classify their own stuff but I mean, it’s just stand-up comedy to me.

Jensen said that his material covers everything from parents and schools to separation of church and state.

“Within this performing entity, my big issue is the idea that we need to allow for religious freedoms and make room for each other so that we can all get along,he said.I’m not out to paint anyone as the enemy. I’m just trying to make fun of them!”

He paused before adding,And laugh with them hopefully!”

The group’s unique theme is a fresh form of comedy that has increasing success with numerous television appearances and shows at premier comedy clubs. Each comedian has the freedom to talk about anything, touching on unspoken taboos. Audiences have commented that the experience has stayed with them and been really positive, Jensen said.

“I love that we can address issues like that, but only if it’s making people laugh; that’s what they came for,Jensen added.

For more information, visit coexistcomedy.com.

ELENA BUCKLEY can be reached at arts@theaggie.org.

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