By the time you read this, you probably will have watched Sarah Silverman in her underwear, demonstrating a lesbian sex act with her dog. Because that’s the way politics works these days.
Can comedy save a life?
KassemJEW is on the streets of Westwood to talk to Angelenos about Israel Independence Day. Happy Yom Ha'Atzmaut!
KassemJEW on the streets for Purim. What do you know about Purim?
The fate of our country won't be decided by a politician. It will be determined by a comedian. Not long before Jon Stewart announced his Rally to Restore Sanity, he told a New York magazine writer why he and his crew on "The Daily Show" would never do something like that. "We're not activists," he said. "Maybe the nice thing about being a comedian is never having full belief in yourself to know the answer. So you can say all this stuff, but underneath, you're going, 'But of course, I'm f---ing idiotic.' It's why we don't lead a lot of marches."
The gospel choir sang "God Bless America." If you weren't thinking of the Jewish immigrant Irving Berlin who wrote that song, you couldn't appreciate the beautiful irony of the moment.
". . . Bob is particularly funny because he has this dual, schizophrenic reputation from the G-rated family shows to the X-rated stand-up show . . ."
Half a century after Mort Sahl packed in Berkeley undergrads and hip San Franciscans at the hungry i nightclub, the man who revolutionized stand-up comedy hasn't mellowed.
This other Rickles will be revealed in a new feature-length documentary, "Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project," directed by longtime friend and fan, John Landis, best known for "Animal House" and "Trading Places." The film premieres Dec. 2 on HBO and will later be released on DVD.
Arts and entertainment briefs.
Jeff Garlin loves being Jewish. He's a borscht-eating, challah-noshing, temple-going, "big bowl of Jewish," as he so proudly describes himself. A proud Jew at home, Garlin also plays one on television.
"Jews are not cultured people," she complains. The other woman disagrees.
"They are cultured," she insists, "they are just different."
When asked whether he is Jewish, Mark Troy responds, "You will be needing proof of that?"
Who doesn't love old Jewish comedians? Those mamzers of mirth and halutzim of humor who paved the road from the Catskills to Vegas as first-generation entertainers.
"Herb is this wonderful combination of New York savvy, old school wisdom and outrageous life experiences," Kaminoff says. "Imagine Garrison Keillor, only if he was a handsome Jewish guy from Brooklyn."
7 Days in the Arts
7 Days in the Arts
His turn on is making single Jewish women laugh. His hometown is Jewtown, Calif. He puts his age at 99 (although he looks at least 50 years younger). His occupation is comedian/dancer/male model -- and rabbi. Yes, the tzitzit-wearing, black-bearded Rabbi Rabbs (a.k.a. Hershel Remer) is in a class by himself.
7 Days in the Arts
Shelley Berman is 80 years old and hot, hot, hot. When he cups his hand over the phone and yells to his wife: "Where am I this week, Sarah?" he's not having a senior moment. Fresh from playing Larry David's father on the HBO series, "Curb Your Enthusiasm," he's got bookings in Las Vegas, feature film shoots and network television tapings on top of his regular slate of teaching classes at USC. Shelley's current schedule would kill a person half his age, which is why, at 44, I'm functioning as his occasional producer, acolyte and coffee bringer ("Last time someone brought me hazelnut -- can't a person get an honest cup of coffee any more?") at 24th Street Theatre, where we're in the middle of a live Shelley Berman minifestival.
The new Oscars' host and the latest Jew to take on the role is -- drumroll, please -- Jon Stewart, the comedian and host of Comedy Central's mock news program, "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart." Stewart is the latest in a long line of comedians, including Johnny Carson, Bob Hope, Steve Martin and last year's host, Chris Rock.
"After 9/11, all I did was sit around and be scared," Albert Brooks told me recently. "After a year and a half," Brooks now says, "I just got tired of it."
In an age of assimilation, a couple of generations removed from the ghetto, can Jews still be funny? Yes, says David Steinberg, host of the new talk show, "Sit Down Comedy With David Steinberg," which premiered this past Wednesday on TV Land.
Well-traveled comedian Pauly Shore has taken his act on the reality show highway, and his father, Sammy, a fellow comedian and family patriarch, is riding alongside as his co-star.
7 Days in the Arts
Many young Americans know comedian Alan King's work -- they just don't realize it.
I understand that by many peoples' standards, Stern is indecent, but he has been so for a long, long time. The incident that prompted Clear Channel to dump him, and for which the FCC may levy fines, has been so commonplace on his program that it could have been mistaken for a promo spot.
To prove she could still tawk Joan Rivers created "Broke and Alone in L.A."
"I wanted to see if people who didn't know me would think I was funny," said the comedian, who premiered the monologue two years ago at Scotland's Edinburgh Festival.
At the time, Rivers was alone, but not broke, after splitting with her multimillionaire boyfriend.
"I didn't want to sit around and mope, and the show got me off my tush," she said.
"Who's A Jew" may be our tribe's favorite trivia game, but when it came to Bob Hope -- who died July 27 at 100 -- his ski-slope nose gave it away: the comedian was not Jewish.
Avi Liberman likes to keep his jobs separate. A Sinai Akiba Academy teacher's assistant by day and a stand-up comedian by night, Liberman doesn't do arts and crafts on stage and doesn't tell jokes at school.
The self-described raconteur refuses to label herself a stand-up comedian. But Rhea Kohan's wit has, over the last decade, made her a sought-after personality in the local Jewish community, and she refuses to charge money for her humorous hostessing.
Avi Hoffman, who wowed Los Angeles audiences two years ago in "Too Jewish?" is returning with "Too Jewish, TOO!"
Jack Benny will be honored this weekend at a convention, "39 Forever," sponsored by the International Jack Benny Fan Club and the National Comedy Hall of Fame.
When the Jewish actor-comedian wanted to do something to help brighten the lives of Israeli children wounded in suicide bombings, he contacted his friend Stephen Berman, president and COO of JAKKS Pacific toy company.
The collaborative effort resulted in a donation and shipment of more than 500 toys to hospitals in Tel Aviv, each with a personal note from Sandler included. However, while the celebrity's name was probably the most recognizable to the children, it was the lesser-acclaimed Berman whose massive donation made the whole thing possible.
The first time I saw Jan Murray perform was on my TV in 1964.
Two Jewish pioneers of the popular culture, comedian Milton Berle and director Billy Wilder, died last week in Los Angeles.
"The Haunted Smile: The Story of Jewish Comedians in America" by Lawrence J. Epstein (Public Affairs, $27.50).
"I'll tell you. I don't get no respect. My mother stopped breast-feeding me as a kid. She told me she liked me like a friend." (Rodney Dangerfield)
For as long as I've been a comedian, I've been asked two questions over and over:
Why are there so many Jewish comedians? And why do you think Jews are so funny?
After the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, club owners told comedian Marc Maron to lay off the topic. But the premiere alternative comic just couldn't let it alone.
The ghost of Lenny Bruce still haunts North Hollywood.
Just around the corner from the Lankershim Boulevard hobby shop where Bruce was busted for heroin in 1962, "Lenny's Back" at the American Renegade Theatre offers a thoughtful, stinging monologue from the grave.
Richard Lewis is a comedian who has perfected the art of the kvetch.
Mark Schiff's friends looked at him funny after reading an early version of his play, "The Comic." "It ends with a murder-suicide," the comedian concedes. "But it's funny."
I am a comedian and I have been lucky enough to have worked in my business for 20 years. This is a huge thing because most people in comedy never even work 20 days in 20 years.
It's Day 1 of rehearsal for the new and improved version of Richard Krevolin's "King Levine," scheduled to reopen at the Tiffany on May 1.
I am a comedian and I have been lucky enough to have worked in my business for 20 years. This is a huge thing because most people in comedy never even work 20 days in 20 years. I have also been blessed to be part of a great group of comedians who have emerged in that time. Three of them are not just my peers, but also good friends. I both love and respect them as comedians and as human beings. Jerry Seinfeld, Paul Reiser and Larry Miller.
If anyone was preordained to be a rabbi, it was Jackie Mason. Born in Sheboygan, Wis., in 1937, the Yiddish-accented comedian comes from four generations of rabbis. All three of his brothers are rabbis. And, once upon a time, Mason himself was a rabbi, teaching Talmud in far-out places like Lathrop, Pa., and Walden, N.C.
Elon Gold is an Orthodox Jewish comedian whoplayed an offbeat Jewish guy from Long Island on the recent WBsitcom, "You're the One." Though the short-lived series wascancelled, Gold has plenty of Jewish-themed TV and even movieprojects in the works. During a recent conversation with TheJournal's Naomi Pfefferman, he said he owes it all to"Seinfeld."
In 'The Wedding Singer,' Adam Sandlerproves he can carry a tune and a movie.
Before Carl Reiner invented the "Dick Van Dyke Show" and thetemperamental, toupee-clad Alan Brady, before Mel Brooks was aYiddish-spouting Indian chief in "Blazing Saddles," indeed, beforethe dawn of Christianity, there was The 2000 Year Old Man.
Author Annie Reiner is tall, elegant, poised -- and politelyexasperated when you ask about her famous father and brother.
You can hardly blame her: It's the umpteenth time she's beenasked.
The reluctance of the popular comedian and others to lend their talents to the event reflect the growing strains between large segments of the American Jewish community and Israel, centered on the legitimacy and treatment of non-Orthodox Jews in Israel.