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What do a Hindu, Christian, Muslim, Jew, Buddhist and atheist have in common? Besides the fact that they all perform stand-up on the "Coexist? Comedy Tour," they are all from Northern California and have spent time in the same Prius while on the road.
Saturday night, the Coexist Tour will stop at the Crest Theatre for a live taping. The show features Tissa Hami (the Muslim), Mike Winfield (the Christian), Tapan Trivedi (the Hindu), Moshe Kasher (the Jew), Keith Lowell Jensen (the atheist) and Sammy Obeid (the Buddhist) performing stand-up about their religious differences.
It started a little over two years ago, with a conversation between Jensen and Trivedi about God. Jensen told Trivedi that he was an atheist and that nothing is a god, while Trivedi explained his belief that nearly everything is a god.
Jensen, the creative brain behind the Crest's Trash Film Orgy and All-Sketch Comedy Festival, figured he was on to something. So he pitched the idea of a religious comedy show to Trivedi and the rest is history.
"I like people coming together laughing at their differences, and then afterwards all having a drink," Jensen said. "This is why I co-founded the Coexist Tour."
They loaded into Trivedi's Prius, but it wasn't always a smooth ride. Along the way, the original Christian, Sacramento's John Ross, lost his faith and quit the tour. He was replaced by Winfield, another Sacramento-based comic.
"I was 'saved' when I was 14," Ross said earlier this year. "But I really fell away from Christian culture over the years."
That wasn't the only rough spot on the road. "The Jew and Muslim comedian fought a lot," said Trivedi.
Then there were tough questions from audiences like one posed in Stockton: "Why do you want to kill everybody?" someone asked Hami, the Muslim.
"She is not one to throw punches, (but) she gave it right back to them. She didn't take any prisoners," Trivedi said. "We tried not to do shows in Stockton (after that)."
Aside from such ignorant questions, Trivedi said his favorite moments on tour came while speaking with audience members when they tested the routine at the 49-seat Geery Theater, 2130 L St.
"After the show, people wanted to talk to us, and that to us was valuable, awesome," he said. "When people came and asked specific questions about things that matter to me in my heart, that's when I realized I'm doing something right."
Saturday's show will be taped by filmmaker Larry Brand, producer of HBO's Assume the Position with Mr. Wuhl. Travedi said he hopes HBO will buy the tape.
Not particularly religious? "Atheists who show up will be made fun of as well," Jensen said. "Always laugh at yourself first."
Tickets are $25, and can be purchased here, or at the Crest box office, 1013 K St. The show begins at 8 p.m.
Photo 3: Tapan Trivedi, courtesy Tapan Trivedi