Laughter is the basis of a new Kickstarter campaign looking to bring Western attention to Middle Eastern headlines.Based on the structure of Comedy Centrals The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, a satirical newscast all about the Middle East called The Mideast Show was dreamed up by Williamsburg resident Kayvon Afshari earlier this year. I thought there was a need to create a space, create a platform where people with a sense of humor could laugh together, Afshari said. At first, Afshari was going to shoot the show from his apartment using an iPhone, but after receiving strong, positive feedback on the idea, he began reaching out to friends and colleagues in Brooklyn and Queens to help create the first episode. The pilot episode, partially written by Jackson Heights resident Serhan Ayhan, features Afshari as the host of the show reviewing headlines out of the Middle East, a special guest, on scene reporting and much more. However, the big challenge for the show is funding. The pilot episode cost about $15,000 to create. With the hopes of producing five more episodes for the first season, Afshari has turned to Kickstarter to raise $85,000 for renting a studio, camera and equipment, hiring a professional crew, and post-production work. The funds would also help purchase props and pay members of the creative team, mostly volunteers now. The mission of The Mideast Show is create a newscast for people who have a sense of humor about the Middle East and want to laugh together, regardless of nationality, religion or ethnicity, according to the shows Kickstarter website. There is a lack of information on the Middle East that Americans have and among some people there is not even an interest, said Afshari. We are embedded in this region, however [people] dont know about it. The team behind the show is mixed with various Middle Eastern roots, including Afshari who is Persian-American. The goal is to entertain but also educate. Were not trying to make fun of people from the Middle East, Ayhan said. We want to be that bridge to educate people. To donate to the Kickstarter campaign visit http://kck.st/1pEZ93j. For more information and to watch the pilot, visit www.mideastshow.com.
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