Just 45 minutes from the hustle and bustle of beautiful downtown Tel Aviv is Sderot. Just 47 minutes from there is the Gaza Strip.
Location, location, location.
You know the old joke.
So who books Sderot? Answer is Avi Liberman.
Mark Schiff is a rare bird. He's made a living as a stand-up comic for more than 30 years and is much admired in the fraternity of American comedians. For years, he's been performing on the road with Jerry Seinfeld (one of his closest friends). Last year, his book, "I Killed," a compilation of stories of the road from the country's top comedians, got a glowing review on that most exclusive of book review stages, the Sunday New York Times. But swing by my neighborhood at around midday on any Shabbat, and chances are you'll see another Mark Schiff. This is the Orthodox Schiff, who is quietly walking back from synagogue with his wife, Nancy, and one or more of his three sons.
My dad loved my act. He thought I was the funniest person in the world.
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."
A year after my father's unexpected death from a kidney transplant, I returned home.
Six months earlier, my mother had sold our house, the one I had lived in my entire life. The synagogue was the same. The family was the same. Their friends were the same.
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.