Jay Firestone and I were invited to attend a benefit for Hillel 818, a newly formed collaboration between Pierce & Valley Colleges Hillel and CSUN Hillel. The 7 p.m. VIP reception, held on the second floor of the Laugh Factory, was a sweet affair, literally. I’m talking chocolate fountain, dozens of cookies and cakes and kosher wine. The line-up of comedians was also delicious, though the “headliner,” Elon Gold, was a no show (for family reasons). Here’s Jay’s take on the night, with some personal musings on the world of comedy:
Iâm not used to being a VIP, Iâve rarely been treated like an IPâ¦and sometimes people act as if Iâm not even a P (the reality of living in Los Angeles and making less than $100,000/year).
Thatâs why Tue., Jan. 29 was such a nice change as I attended Hillel 818âs Comedy Night fundraiser at the Laugh Factory. For a moderately priced ticket, the comedy of host Lisa Ann Walter and comedians Adam Hunter, Kirk Fox and Wendy Liebman reminded my why I became a VIP in the first place.
For the first time in my life, I was served chocolate-covered strawberries without having to listen to a haftarah portion first.
For the first time in my life, I had kosher wine without feeling bad about not asking my mother if she wanted a glass, too.
And for the first time in my life, I had a false sense of confidence that was appropriately linked to a false sense of being very important.
It was nice, but as I sat and watched the comicsâ superb performances, I couldnât help but think about my own brief encounters with stand-up comedy.
It was the summer of â91â¦I was 6. My parents were pressuring me to tell a joke at the Shabbas dinner table, when I chokedâ¦not just on my chopped-up carrots, but on the pressure of a successful delivery as well. Maybe I was too young or maybe those carrots were just too big, I donât know. But as I sat in the audience on Tuesday night, glancing around at the mix of youthful faces alongside sets of elderly couples, I thought about a path I couldâve taken and a life I couldâve lead.
Imagine how many Hillel fundraisers I couldâve hosted at the sweet age of 6. The event, which ended up raising roughly $15,000 for Hillel 818, was just the spark I needed. Seeing those comedians perform and watching Hillel 818 graciously benefit from generous guests prompted me to do something I hadnât done in over 15 years.
Give stand-up another try…only this time, I think I’ll stick to mashed-up carrots.