Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

US Comedians Bring Laughter to Israel

May 28, 2013 1:24 am 1 comment

Ralph Harris performing in Jerusalem. Photo: Yissachar Ruas.

For Avi Liberman, an LA-based comedian who has performed on such shows as CBS’s “Late Late Show” with Craig Ferguson and appears frequently on Comedy Central and E!, Israel holds an important place in his very busy schedule.

The Israel-born, Texas-raised comedian visits Israel twice a year, bringing with him some of America’s best comics on a bi-annual comedy tour of the country. The comics perform to raise funds for The Koby Mandell Foundation, which assists families and children who are victims of terror.

Liberman himself has arranged widely acclaimed Stand Up for Israel comedy tours since 2001, following a visit during the Second Intifada, where he discovered that many of his old friends were not going out because of terrorist attacks.

“I wanted to give people a night out, so that they could laugh a little bit during that very tense time,” Liberman says. Subsequently, the LA comedian began organizing successful comedy tours across Israel to help boost morale.

“There are two important elements to these tours,” Liberman elaborates in an interview with Tazpit News Agency. “First, these top-tier comedians get to do something important for the community here. They don’t just come to tour and see the sites, but they actually perform their material to audiences for an important cause.”

“And while the comedians are here, they also get to see the positive side of Israel,” Liberman explains.

“It is important that Israel get some good press. Many times, I encounter comedians who think of Israel in the context of war. There is obviously a lot more to this country than those kinds of headlines,” he says.

“It’s difficult to get comedians to come on these trips,” Liberman admits. “But when they do agree to come, they are just amazed by what they see and encounter.”

The Comedy for Koby May 2013 tour began on May 22 with shows in Beit Shemesh, Modiin, Jerusalem, Raanana, Tel Aviv and Gush Etzion. While much of the audience is made up of Anglos, there are Israelis who also attend the shows according to Liberman.

Dennis Regan performing in Jerusalem. Photo: Yissachar Ruas.

The May tour features several top comedians including Wayne Federman who has performed on The Tonight Show and appeared on The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Legally Blonde, 50 First Dates, Funny People and Curb Your Enthusiasm, among many other shows and movies.

On Sunday night, May 26, during the Jerusalem show, Federman, who performed in Israel 10 years ago with Liberman, joked with the audience about some elements of Israeli life including finding parking space and driving. “Israelis are some of the calmest and most relaxed drivers in the world,” he quipped, following with a song about Tel Aviv, entitled “I Think I Found a Parking Space.”

For the other comedians, like Ralph Harris who has appeared in Evan Almighty as well as The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Late Night with Conan O’Brien, coming to Israel was a surreal experience. “It’s amazing to actually be here in Jerusalem after reading about this city,” he said.

Comedian Dennis Regan opened the Jerusalem show and mentioned that he knew a little about the Hebrew language.  Regan has made multiple appearances on the Late Show with David Letterman and has toured nationally for many years.

This is the tenth year of Comedy for Koby tour, which has brought a slew of North American comedians to Israel.

The Koby Mandell Foundation was created by Rabbi Seth and Sherri Mandell, following the brutal murder of their 13-year-old son Koby and his friend Yosef Ishran by Arab terrorists on May 18, 2001, while the boys were hiking by their home.

Avi Liberman performing in Jerusalem. Photo: Yissachar Ruas.

The foundation provides individuals and families with psychological and emotional support as well as therapeutic programming for children who have been victimized by terror attacks and tragedy. The Foundation’s website reports that in more than a decade, terrorism has claimed over 1,300 lives in Israel, and has left over 6,000 Israelis wounded, while impacting an estimated 50,000 Israelis.

Showing the power of humor in dealing with tragedy, the Mandells always make sure to open the first act of the Comedy for Koby tour with a couple of jokes of their own.

The last two acts of the comedy tour will take place in Tel Aviv on Tuesday, May 28 and Gush Etzion on Wednesday, May 29. Tickets can be ordered online at or by phone at 052-798-5200.

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.

Current day month ye@r *


  • Arts and Culture Features Opinion Playwrite Iddo Netanyahu: ‘Hitler Always Talked About Peace’ (INTERVIEW)

    Playwrite Iddo Netanyahu: ‘Hitler Always Talked About Peace’ (INTERVIEW)

    Late Friday night, on November 13, I was headed for bed when an ominous news bulletin flashed across my computer screen – something about a shooting in Paris. It wasn’t long before the “small number” of shootings and casualties began to double and triple and quadruple. The locations of attacks seemed crazily disorganized, and the tweets and videos became more and more horrifying. It was a long night for many stunned observers. We tried to understand what was happening, and […]

    Read more →
  • Israel Theater BDS Gives Belgian-Jewish Actress New Lease on Life in Tel Aviv

    BDS Gives Belgian-Jewish Actress New Lease on Life in Tel Aviv

    In an interview with the Israeli site nrg on Wednesday, Belgian-Jewish stage actress Noemi Schlosser recounted immigrating to Israel after her career in Europe was destroyed by BDS. Schlosser said she had enjoyed success in Belgium and international acclaim until she was targeted by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement for her pro-Israel stance during Operation Protective Edge — last summer’s war against Hamas in Gaza. She described watching the theaters where she performed go from packed to nearly empty over a short period of […]

    Read more →
  • Israel Sports In Israel for Champions League Soccer Match, Chelsea Manager Says Team Not Worried About Security Situation

    In Israel for Champions League Soccer Match, Chelsea Manager Says Team Not Worried About Security Situation

    The manager of the Chelsea Football Club said on Monday that he is looking forward to playing in Israel this week against Maccabi Tel Aviv, in spite of the security situation, Israeli news site nrg reported. Jose Murinho, who is already in Israel with his team to compete against Maccabi in the Champions League soccer match, was  asked whether he was worried about the current wave of Palestinian violence sweeping the country. “I have no worries at all regarding the security situation, and neither do […]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Opinion In the Middle East, ‘The Tail Wags the Dog’ (REVIEW)

    In the Middle East, ‘The Tail Wags the Dog’ (REVIEW)

    Blaming the West has become the most pervasive method of teaching for many Middle East studies departments, which are becoming the heart of pop-culture academia. Efraim Karsh, a distinguished professor of Middle Eastern studies at Bar-Ilan University and professor emeritus at King’s College London, in his latest book The Tail Wags the Dog: International Politics and the Middle East, dispels this myth. “Britain’s ‘original sin,’ if such was indeed committed, lay not in the breaking up of Middle Eastern unity but […]

    Read more →
  • Features Spirituality/Tradition With Popularity and Sales up, ‘Mensch on a Bench’ Has Much to Smile About

    With Popularity and Sales up, ‘Mensch on a Bench’ Has Much to Smile About – The Mensch on a Bench is so much happier now than he was a year ago. Look carefully and you will notice that, whereas the previous Mensch had a decidedly worried look, this latest version of the popular Hanukkah toy is flashing an exuberant grin. Is the erstwhile Mensch smiling because he expects to be in some 100,000 homes by year’s end? In truth, the change in visage was suggested last year by the “sharks” on ABC’s Shark Tank […]

    Read more →
  • Music US & Canada Adam Sandler Updates Famous ‘Chanukah Song,’ Includes Hulk Hogan, David Beckham and Scarlett Johansson in Latest Version

    Adam Sandler Updates Famous ‘Chanukah Song,’ Includes Hulk Hogan, David Beckham and Scarlett Johansson in Latest Version

    Actor Adam Sandler unveiled a new version of his famous “Chanukah Song” on Saturday, adding a slew of Jewish celebrities to the ditty’s updated lyrics. The comedian — who released the original song about being Jewish during Christmas in 1996 — performed the latest version of the comedic track during the New York Comedy Festival at Carnegie Hall. Marvel Comics creator Stan Lee, actor Jake Gyllenhaal and “the two guys who founded Google” are among the famous Jewish celebrities now in the line up. Sandler also included lyrics about Star Wars‘ Princess […]

    Read more →
  • Music US & Canada Famed Israeli Violinist Itzhak Perlman to Receive Presidential Medal of Freedom

    Famed Israeli Violinist Itzhak Perlman to Receive Presidential Medal of Freedom – Famed Israeli violinist Itzhak Perlman will be among the 17 recipients of America’s Presidential Medal of Freedom next week. He is the fourth Israeli to receive the highest civilian honor in the US. “A native of Israel, he came to the United States at a young age and was introduced to Americans broadly when he appeared on the ‘Ed Sullivan Show’ in 1958. Mr. Perlman made his Carnegie Hall debut in 1963 when he was 18,” a White House […]

    Read more →
  • Features Spirituality/Tradition Don’t Think Israel is a Luxury Destination? Check Out These 6 Spots

    Don’t Think Israel is a Luxury Destination? Check Out These 6 Spots – While Israel is a common destination for cultural and religious pilgrimages, travelers seeking the best hotels, fine dining, and upscale relaxation less often find themselves in the Holy Land. Yet in recent years, the country’s burgeoning tech scene has attracted a business crowd accustomed to ritzy accommodation. Besides, the permanent summer of Tel Aviv and Eilat makes them prime destinations for European vacationers. Israel’s populace managed to tame the swamps and irrigate the desert — so going luxury should […]

    Read more →