Zuaiter’s comic version of the Volvo commercial not only got hundreds of thousands laughing, but also drew their attention to the siege conditions in Gaza, including 12-hour power cuts and chronic fuel shortages, that make ordinary living there tougher than Van Damme’s feat.
Zuaiter’s own path to success was also difficult. He and his friends started out in stand-up comedy after giving up hope of finding a job in media production, their field of study, in Palestine.
“It was quite tough at first because we didn’t have any technical equipment, cameras, microphones, or a place to call our studio,” Zuaiter says. Pooling their own money to buy equipment, they turned one room of Zuaiter’s apartment into a makeshift studio—and started to grow famous in the Gaza Strip through social networks and YouTube.
They now have their own show on Palestine TV, “Bas Ya Zalame”, or “Cut It Out, Man”, intended to encourage social reforms and cure harmful habits—with laughter. Their team mission, they say, is “to put a smile on people’s faces and cause them happiness, elevate Palestinian art and make it internationally famous, and become role models” in their insistence on achieving their dreams despite all obstacles.