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LOS ANGELES: It was last summer and Israeli-Palestinian tensions were at the highest they'd been in some time when Jamie Masada hit on a formula for world peace: Forget about guns and bombs, and just tell jokes to each other.Masada has scoured comedy festivals from Afghanistan to South Korea and Egypt to Israel for candidates and had online voters winnow the list to 10 semifinalists who would perform at the Laugh Factory and before a worldwide Internet audience Monday.Sunda Croonquist, a black, Orthodox Jew who lives in Beverly Hills, opened things by pointing out to the audience that white people frequently mistake her for Puerto Rican: "I tell them there are two groups of people who know that I'm black.Masada was having none of that.The comedy impresario wanted an Olympics-style competition, and even if the contestants weren't strictly amateurs – which they aren't in the Olympics, anyway – they would be from all over the world.
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