Ray Hanania recently received the Society of Professional Journalists’ Sigma Delta Chi award for a series of columns about a grocer in Oak Lawn, Illinois, who believed that the village had harassed him and eventually shut him down because he was an Arab. This serious reporting was not Ranania usual type of journalism.
Hanania is an Arab American who use his ethnicity in column-writing and performing comedy, promoting himself as the world’s funniest Palestinian comedian. He is a Christian Arab who is married to a Jew, good for a lot of laughs, he says.
Hanania, who is a former member of NSNC, will be recalled as the hilarious master of ceremonies and stand-up comedian at the Will Rogers Writers Workshop talent show in Oklahoma City. He is one of the few Arab Americans in the comedy business.
Hanania stays busy these days promoting himself in new media with his seven websites. Hanania has his own radio show five mornings a week live from the west suburban studios of WJJG, 1530 AM. And twice a week his column appears at palestinenote.com, a moderate Palestinian Web site, and at the Jerusalem Post, which nets him a lot of attention from well-known names in Israel.
His columns have appeared at various times in the Sun-Times, the Daily Herald and currently in the Southwest News-Herald, a weekly that covers southwest Chicago neighborhoods. In an article in Chicago Reader, Hanania said, “I’ve been a journalist 35 years now. It’s like a narcotic…”
At one time he was syndicated by Rick Newcombe of Creators Syndicate in Los Angeles, but Newcombe later dropped Hanania due to a lack of interest in his brand of humor. Currently, however, Newcombe believes the mood has changed and there might be more of a market for Hanania’s work.
Read additional details about Hanania and his unusual career at Chicago Reader.