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Jewish Journal

Hank Rosenfeld

  • N.Y. nostalgia with an egg cream chaser

    October 9, 2008 | 5:12 pm

    "A lot o' the tribe are here," Stewie Stone said. The 68-year-old comic, who got his start as a Borscht Belt tummler at the Concord Hotel, was one of many landsman stuffed into Beverly Hills High School for a reunion on Saturday night -- the 23rd annual New York Day in L.A.

    The...

  • Generations of comics salute Mort Sahl on his 80th

    August 23, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    "Mort Sahl changed the face of comedy. Before his, that face was Marty Allen's."
    -- Jack Riley


    And if you get that reference, you would have loved the Mort Sahl 80th birthday celebration at the Wadsworth Theatre on June 28. What's not to like? Shelley Berman in a seersucker suit...

  • Books: Shmegegis of old, shmegegis of gold

    December 14, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    "Old Jewish Comedians," illustrated by Drew Friedman, edited by Monte Beauchamp. (Fantagraphics Books, $14.95) www.fantagraphics.com .

    "Weep before God. Laugh before people."
    -- Jewish Folk-Saying.

    Who doesn't love old Jewish comedians? Those mamzers of mirth and halutzim of humor...

  • Theater: All in the ‘Herbicide’ family

    December 7, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    The Emmy-winning writer Jay Kogen ("The Simpsons," "The Class" and other shows) is helping Herb Astrow go over the opening lines of his first solo stage performance.

    "Remember, it's an intimate evening with," Kogen tells him. "It's your party. So rather than just going into a story,...

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  • Will kill for laughs

    October 12, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    "Comics, that gifted, exclusive society of professional fools." -- Larry Gelbart in his book, "Laughing Matters"
     
    Stand-up comic Mark Schiff is sitting in his tiny office on Pico, near the Museum of Tolerance, talking about the time he played the Knesset.
     
    "I pointed to the...
  • The ‘revenge of the fired’ could fill a book—and does

    September 14, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    Because I've been fired from nearly every job I've ever held, I always thought nobody in the world understands what I've been through. Boo-hoo, right? But along comes Annabelle Gurwitch and her book, "Fired!: Tales of the Canned, Canceled, Downsized, and Dismissed," which includes...
  • Clowning Around

    July 27, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    clowns

    Dan Berkley always carries two noses. "I always try to have a spare," he says. "Particularly in a pie fight, it can come off. Doing anything, you're gonna lose a nose."

    Berkley knows noses. He's a clown in town with the Ringling Bros. When we met, he'd just jumped off the circus...

  • A Man for All Seasonings

    June 1, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    The Rabbi of Chelm was teaching a class,

    "Rabbi," a student asked. "Why is the sea so salty?"

    "Idiot," the Rabbi intoned. "Because it's full of herring."

    Like many baby-boomers today, I sometimes feel older than Keith Richards up a palm tree. So when Irv and Eddie, my better...

  • Sex at the Skirball

    April 13, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    When sexy authors like Erica Jong and Jerry Stahl get together onstage, you expect fireworks. But when I drag my friend Kay up to Skirball for the Writers Bloc conversation, the room is too bright, and Kay tells me Jong's blue-framed eyeglasses and gold necklace make her come off...

  • Wandering Jew - Music to My Ears

    February 16, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    "In syngagyng a sangasongue ... " -- James Joyce, "Finnegans Wake."

    Singing in synagogue is something I wish I were better at doing or at least less embarrassed about doing full-throated. At the Synagogue for the Performing Arts, the congregation doesn't have that problem. They have...

  • Groucho, Harpo, Chico and Irv

    December 8, 2005 | 7:00 pm

    "We were young, gay, reckless! That night I drank champagne from your slipper. Two quarts. It would have been more, but they were open-toed." -- Groucho Marx to Margaret Dumont in "At the Circus."

    When Irving S. Brecher was writing the Marx Brothers' movie, "At the Circus," in 1938,...

  • A Wing Girl and a Prayer

    April 28, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    I’m your average middle-aged schmo. I’ve never been able to pick up women in bars or bistros. Never met my beshert in a bakery on Fairfax Avenue or in Beverly Hills, or in one of Los Angeles’ retro-hip boîtes with those sleek banquette settee things, either.
    But I did go out with two...
  • Asch’s Apocalyptic Now

    March 17, 2005 | 7:00 pm

     

    "If we don't change something now, if people don't open their eyes, we're not gonna have a world," said director Eva Minemar during a rehearsal with "God of Vengeance," the classic Sholem Asch play. An enfant terrible of the Yiddish-Polish theater, Asch staged his story of...

  • A Man Walks Into a Hospital and . . .

    October 28, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    The Room

    Irving Brecher, 91-year-old wannabe-stand-up comic, is nervous. The Doctors Emeritus Society of Cedars-Sinai is at the buffet in the Harvey Morse room, a conference hall where the old practitioners gather every month to hear specialists on subjects like pain control....

  • Smuggling Jicama

    June 10, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    "Security measures enacted after 9/11 are impeding the inflow of scientific talent that helps energize American universities.... If the red tape is not untangled soon, it could cause long-term harm to universities and high-tech industries." -- (Visa Quagmire, The New York Times...

  • Schizophrenia With a Dash of Schmaltz

    October 16, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    When Iris Rainer Dart's cousin was diagnosed with schizophrenia decades ago, the illness sent shockwaves through her Jewish family. "They were from the shtetl and superstitious," said Dart, 59, the best-selling author of 1985's "Beaches." "They thought that the illness was a curse,...

  • Finding Community

    September 25, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    Synagogue is never mentioned in the Torah. -- Leo Rosten

    Like many unaffiliated Angelenos between 30 and marriage, I face a problem every Rosh: How to benefit from this diverse Jewish community while remaining a sort of post-sect/noninstitutionalized member of the family. Intending...

  • Bazel Draws Sabra Artists to Encino

    September 25, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    Hanging out with a group of Israeli artists at a hot new cafe in Encino may not be the same as sitting on Dizengoff in Tel Aviv, but the conversation is as close as it gets for Los Angeles. Tempo is still great for Middle Eastern food and music, but now Cafe Bazel appears to be the...

  • Lunch at Langer’s With Eddie and Irv

    July 31, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    Some Fridays, if I'm lucky, I get to eat pastrami with Irv and Eddie at Langer's, the great old delicatessen on Seventh and Alvarado streets across from MacArthur Park. Irv and Eddie are in their 80s, so the fight over the check begins before they even order anything.

    "You were...

  • No Buddy Quite Like Him

    July 24, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    The "Encyclopedia of Jewish Humor" includes 14 pages of jokes on death, so when Buddy Hackett passed away in Malibu at 78 on June 30, the chapel at Hillside Memorial Park was packed with every comedy icon that hadn't booked an out-of-town Fourth of July gig.

    Sid Caesar sat up front...

  • Jewish Gridder

    June 26, 2003 | 7:59 pm

    In a world where some high school athletes hang out at strip clubs or haze each other in powder puff rituals, isn't it good to know that there's still one nice Jewish football player keeping to a more righteous standard?

    So what if he chalks up all his stats for an Episcopalian high...

  • Miriam Meditations

    May 15, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    When you first move to Los Angeles from New York, it's hard to immediately jump into the dating scene. In Manhattan, you get used to falling in love almost every other block -- so easy is it to bump into yet another adorable woman outside say, the 92nd Street Y, Zabar's, Makor, the...

  • A Jewish Music Treasure Trove

    February 20, 2003 | 7:00 pm

    Fairfax is the best avenue in Los Angeles, containing, within one miracle mile, Little Ethiopia and the Peterson Auto Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Farmers Market. Cross Beverly Boulevard, and you come upon Russian nightclubs and Israeli cafes. But lately, creeping...

  • Hijinks ‘n’ Hilarity Mark Wit’s Career

    December 12, 2002 | 7:00 pm

    Irving Brecher, my 88-year-old writing partner, stood onstage at the Arclight Cinemas on Sunset Boulevard and Vine Street after screening "Meet Me in St. Louis." Irv wrote this classic in 1944, one of seven MGM musicals he did. The moderator of the Arclight "Screenwriter's Network...

  • The Bookstore and the Jew

    May 23, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    "You can say for us," said my rabbis, "that if the rich and important and soul-harassed Jews of the town will come to our synagogues, we will not tell them about God alone but teach them how to fight." -- Ben Hecht in PM newspaper, 1941.

    The war got odd for me the other evening when...

  • Being Jan Murray

    April 4, 2002 | 7:00 pm

    The first time I saw Jan Murray perform was on my TV in 1964. I was in pajamas, with my two sisters in Detroit, and on comes their favorite morning game show, "Treasure Hunt." This tall, suave gentleman is the host, and he has a great wit and raspy New York inflection that glues us...

  • Golden-Aged Tell-All

    March 1, 2001 | 7:00 pm

    The scene: Avenue of the Stars, Century City.

    The characters: A few older men in a Park Hyatt suite.

    The action: They kibbitz

    Turner Classic Movies (TCM) is here from Atlanta to interview Golden Age Hollywood figures for an oral history, the Turner Classic Movies Archive Project....

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