“Oh, Hello” Makes Its Way from Broadway to Your Living Room

Two old guys sharing a New York apartment panic about their rent going up and host a show centered around comedians and a tuna sandwich inside a deli. Ever read a sentence more Jewish? Oh, Hello, a Broadway show featuring this plot, just made it to Netflix. Watching it from a Jewish lens, I struggled between discomfort and uncontrollable laughter. [Read more…]

Moo Shu Jew Show

Celebrate the first night of Hanukkah at the 8th annual Moo Shu Jew Show. Enjoy the perfect December 24th duo of Jewish comedy and Chinese food. Start the evening with a delicious multi-course dinner in the heart of Chinatown.

Then, get ready to laugh! Co-produced with late night TV favorite Cory Kahaney, this year’s comedic lineup features Julie Goldman (“The People’s Couch”), Josh Gondelman (“Last Week Tonight with John Oliver”) and Avi Liberman (“The Late Late Show”). To see what you can expect from these talented comedians, check out these clips of Julie, Josh and Avi.

Tickets are $75 in advance and $85 at the door, if any remain.

This show will sell out, so get your tickets here now! Registration is required.

Food is not kosher; vegetarian options are available. Table seating is assigned on a first purchased, first served basis, at tables for 10. When purchasing tickets, please include the names of fellow attendees with whom you prefer to sit, and we will do our best to accommodate all such requests.

PJFF Film: “The Last Laugh”

Can humor be found in the darkest of places? For comedians, the Holocaust has often been considered a taboo subject, a no man’s land for jokes — a place you don’t want to go as an entertainer. In “The Last Laugh,” a filmmaker sets out to challenge this assumption and find out if joking about the Holocaust and other human atrocities is ever acceptable.

Juxtaposing clips from films, performances and interviews with top comedians and prominent Jewish leaders (including Mel Brooks, Sarah Silverman, Joan Rivers, Louis C.K., Susie Essman, Judy Gold, Abraham Foxman and Shalom Auslander) with an intimate profile of Auschwitz survivor Renee Firestone (as well as other survivors), director Ferne Pearlstein weaves together a poignant and in-depth exploration into what is and is not off-limits in comedy.

A powerful documentary about a controversial subject, “The Last Laugh” in no way undermines the horrors of the Holocaust, yet it still succeeds in putting a smile on your face. After all, what can be more heartening than witnessing the resiliency of the human spirit in the face of tragedy?

This film was an official selection of the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival and the Tribeca Film Festival.

Special Event: The film is followed by panel discussion and reception. The guest speakers are the film’s director, Ferne Pearlstein; Paul Lewis, author and professor of English at Boston College; and Elliot Ratzman (moderator), visiting assistant professor in the Department of Religion at Swarthmore College. There has also been an exciting last-minute addition to this list of special guests: the Emmy Award-winning comic Judy Gold.

Buy tickets here.

Capitol Steps Performance

Two days before the election, join us for a night of hilarious musical political satire as The Capitol Steps, a Washington DC-based comedy troupe that began as a group of Senate Staffers, presents songs from their current album, “What to Expect When You’re Electing.” Just like this election, their show is constantly changing, strenuously bi-partisan, and includes songs like, “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Crimea,” “Ain’t No Pipeline, Now It’s Gone,” and “The iMpossible iWatch.”

If you’ve ever wanted to see Hillary Clinton sing a show tune, Donald Trump sing a rock song, and Chris Christie do classical ballet, this might just be the show for you!

 

capstepslive-2016-trump-hillary-sanders

“Israeli Rock Godfather” Arik Einstein Dies at 74


“You Can’t (Leave Me)” by Arik Einstein’s band, the “High Windows.”

— by Amir Shoam

The iconic Israeli folk singer and comedian Arik Einstein passed away suddenly at the age of 74.

Einstein introduced entire genres, including rock, to Israeli music. Imagining Israeli music without him is like imagining the NBA without Michael Jordan. He will be missed.

More praise for this Israel entertainment legend and videos of his music and comedy follow the jump.

Parody of Israeli immigration

Shawn Evenhaim, Chairman of the Israeli-American Council commented,

We are sad to hear about Arik Einstein’s death and send our condolences to his family, friends, fans, and to all Israelis. Einstein is an Israeli cultural legend and probably the greatest Israeli singer of all time, and we’re sure that every Israeli who lives in the U.S. today shares in the sadness of his passing. A major icon of Israeli culture has left us, but his memory and songs will stay with us forever.

International Bible Quiz parody

Song on Soviet invasion of Prague

Thanksgivukkah: The “Movie”

What happens when Thanksgiving and Hanukkah become one monster holiday?

The parody tallier for “Thanksgivukkah: The Movie” was written by Yisrael Campbell, Gary Rudoren and Daniel Smith, and produced by Shoot East.

Campbell also stars in the video alongside Amihal Hazony, Sharon Katz, Deb Kaye, Aharon Naiman and Marni Schamroth.

A calmer parody video after the jump.

This video, produced by Shmideo, jokingly claims to be a “definitive source on the origins of Thanksgivukkah, as told by the pilgrims themselves.”

McDonald’s and Visa’s Attempt To Embelish The Minimum Wage

McDonald’s and Visa have created a website which tries to show employees how to get by on on the minimum wage. According to Think Progress:

The site includes a sample “budget journal” for McDonalds’ employees that offers a laughably inaccurate view of what it’s like to budget on a minimum wage job. Not only does the budget leave a spot open for “second job,” it also gives wholly unreasonable estimates for employees’ costs: $20 a month for health care, $0 for heating, and $600 a month for rent. It does not include any budgeted money for food or clothing.

McDonald’s sample “budget” follows the jump along with a video on how McDonald’s pays their low-wage employees with high-fee Visa cards instead of actual cash.

Interview: the Show That Proves That Women are Funny

— by Lisa Grunberger

I had the opportunity to interview Jennifer Childs, Artistic Director of 1812 Productions, Philadelphia’s All Comedy Theatre Company, about her new comedy, which she wrote and directed, It’s My Party: The Women and Comedy Project. It’s My Party began in 2010 with two questions: how do women use comedy and how does the usage change as they age. Through collage, cabaret, and stand-up Childs investigates gender stereotypes that lock women into certain roles, such as the ditz, the vamp, and the old maid.  

In some ways, the play responds to Christopher Hitchens’ provocative comment in a Vanity Fair article years ago, claiming that women aren’t funny. The first act of this compelling show had the audience laughing on the opening night last Wedensday. The all-woman ensemble includes comedic veterans of the Philadelphia theatre. The play incorporates original and devised music by the cast and the musical director Monica Stephenson, and features a set by 1812 Productions’ designer Lance Kniskern.

Full interview after the jump.

It’s My Party: The Women and Comedy Project
Playing at: Plays and Players Theatre, 1714 Delancey St.
Through: Sunday, May 19.
Tickets: $22 to $38.
Information: 215-592-9560 or 1812 Productions’ website.

Q: Tell me how The Women and Comedy Project came about? What was your process? There are African-American Women, white women, an Asian woman, and a diverse age-range. No Latinas and or Jewish women — how did you make casting decisions and were questions of ethnicity important in your thought process?

JC: I interviewed over 100 women all along the East coast, pulling together anecdotes, stories and personal experiences. I wanted it to be racially and age diverse, but I was more interested in exploring the brains, heart and sous of these women. It would have become a different show if there was one woman representative of each “flavor” or ethnic background.  

Q: How did you arrive at the three act structure of the play?

JC: I could have written a linear 90 minute script, but I gave myself permission to stretch the form and it was very liberating.

Q: Can you briefly describe each act and what you had in mind?

JC: The first act, which I call ‘The Lecture,’ represents the youngest age, say women in their 20s who I found use humor to gain attention. It’s an age when you don’t have your own voice and you use stereotypes and imitations to find your comedic voice.  

The second Act, called ‘The Ritual,’ represents women in their 30s and 40s, when women discover that comedy can save your soul. You can use humor as a weapon to fight and survive.

Q: This is where we hear the women sharing their stories. Were these stories autobiographical or were they a composite or synthesis of the many interviews you did?

JC: They were the actresses’ own stories, that we had “workshopped.”

Q: In the second act, we hear one of the characters tell a story about learning she has breast cancer, which her mother had died of. Was this the actress’s own story, and couldn’t this be seen as potentially not funny? Or as simply “empowering” and therapeutic to share but not necessarily art or theatrically interesting?

JC: It is her own story, and I’m surprised that that’s confusing to people. I was reading about the comedienne Tig Notaro and how she was diagnosed with cancer right after her mom died, and she was so funny. It’s about owning what happens to you and not apologizing for it, and that can be funny.

Q: Tell me about the third act of the play.

JC: The third act, called ‘The Rave,’ is about the oldest age, women in their 70s, and it’s about being audacious. In naming it “the rave” I’m referencing the rave dances, but also the association with stark raving mad and the rave as a rant. By this age, women don’t care anymore. If you want to wear polka-dots, stripes and mismatched shoes, so be it. My daughter is 9 and my mother is in her 70s, and I see similarities in their not caring about what other people think.

Q: How, if at all, do you think about audience?

JC: Comedy is about audience. I think it is extremely important to connect with the audience, which I think of as the last character in the play. The show isn’t finished until there is laughter. Only then is the rhythm complete. I mean, if a joke is told in a forest and no one is there to hear it, is it funny?

Q: One of the characters says “I’m too radiant for irony.” What did you learn during your interviews about women, humor and irony, and how did this get translated into the show?

JC: I was surprised that no woman I interviewed thought she was funny. When I asked them to sing a rap I had written during the auditions — and this was a rap about being smart and beautiful and sexy — the women were tentative. Some feared that people will not like them if they sing a song like this. But this is exactly what the play is exploring — I want women to take ownership of their own goofiness. To find a way to say “this is what I want.”

Q: The danger is sounding too sincere or sentimental in this approach, right? Too much like Jack Handy’s “deep thoughts.”

JC: It’s a fine line. More and more people employ irony and cynical humor on the stage, but it’s the death of theatre if we presume that you can’t be hurt, that there’s no vulnerability. Part of comedy is precisely this threat of being vulnerable. I see sincerity and openness as being a lot braver than coming up with snarky comments. it was important to me to create something that felt honest and honored the interviewees’ stories.