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 www.comedyforkoby.com 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 *

More...

  • Arts and Culture First English-Language Trailer Debuts for Natalie Portman’s Hebrew Film ‘A Tale of Love and Darkness,’ Based on Amos Oz’s Memoir (VIDEO)

    First English-Language Trailer Debuts for Natalie Portman’s Hebrew Film ‘A Tale of Love and Darkness,’ Based on Amos Oz’s Memoir (VIDEO)

    The first English-language trailer for Natalie Portman’s directorial debut — A Tale of Love and Darkness — based on Israeli author Amos Oz’s memoir, was released on Thursday. The movie, originally filmed in Hebrew, tells the story of Oz’s childhood in Jerusalem at the end of the British Mandate and the early years of Israel’s independence. Portman, who was born in Israel and speaks fluent Hebrew, plays the lead role of Fania, the author’s mother. She struggles to raise her son as she deals with inner demons, a […]

    Read more →
  • Features As Berlin Prices Rise, Israelis Turn East for German Real-Estate Bargains

    As Berlin Prices Rise, Israelis Turn East for German Real-Estate Bargains

    JNS.org – Sonnenallee, a street in Berlin’s Neukölln district, looks like it comes straight out of an Arab city — so much so that it goes by the nickname “Gaza Strip.” Kebab and bakery shops are advertised in Arabic; men sit in men-only coffee shops; and bridal shop windows showcase glittery, not-so-stylish gowns. But take a random turn, and you’ll find a swath of bars, burger joints, and Indian restaurants where hip Berliners announce that they have arrived to urban coolness. […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Israeli Actress Gal Gadot Slays in ‘Wonder Woman’ Trailer (VIDEO)

    Israeli Actress Gal Gadot Slays in ‘Wonder Woman’ Trailer (VIDEO)

    Israeli actress Gal Gadot engages in fierce action sequences in the new Wonder Woman trailer, which Warner Bros. premiered during the San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday. The nearly 3-minute trailer, the first to debut for the superhero film, shows scenes of Diana, princess of the Amazons, fighting alongside men in the battle against the world’s toughest enemies. The first shot of the video shows Wonder Woman discovering a man, Steve Trevor (played by actor Chris Pine), washed ashore. The clip then takes viewers to the all-female island where Wonder Woman was born. […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture A Theatrical Look at Diplomacy and the Oslo Accords (REVIEW)

    A Theatrical Look at Diplomacy and the Oslo Accords (REVIEW)

    Is diplomacy worthwhile, even if the end result isn’t what we hoped for? That is the question, among many others, posed by the new play Oslo, by J.T. Rogers. Making its New York debut at Lincoln Center, the play examines the secret diplomatic process that led to the historic 1993 peace accords. The character of Shimon Peres makes an appearance onstage — and he, along with Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat, tower over the proceedings. But they mainly do so in absentia. Instead, […]

    Read more →
  • Spirituality/Tradition Sports Israeli Trailblazer Dean Kremer Brings Jewish Values to Nascent Pro Baseball Career

    Israeli Trailblazer Dean Kremer Brings Jewish Values to Nascent Pro Baseball Career

    JNS.org – Other than being part of the Los Angeles Dodgers organization, Sandy Koufax and Dean Kremer have something else in common: a respect for Jewish tradition. Koufax — who was recently ranked by ESPN as the best left-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball (MLB) history — decided not to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series because the game fell on Yom Kippur. “I would do the same,” Kremer said in an interview. Last month, the 20-year-old Kremer became […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Lead Guitarist of British Rock Band Queen Asks Adam Lambert to Sing in Hebrew During Upcoming Israel Concert

    Lead Guitarist of British Rock Band Queen Asks Adam Lambert to Sing in Hebrew During Upcoming Israel Concert

    The famed lead guitarist of British rock band Queen, Brian May, encouraged Jewish singer-songwriter Adam Lambert to perform in Hebrew during their upcoming joint concert in Israel, an entertainment industry advocacy organization reported on Tuesday. During a recent interview with Israeli television personality Assi Azar, May was played a 2005 video of Lambert singing the popular song Shir L’Shalom, (Song for Peace). May was so impressed by Lambert’s singing of the Hebrew track that he told the American singer, “We have to do that. Let’s […]

    Read more →
  • Sports Kenyan Marathoner to Compete for Israel in Rio Olympics

    Kenyan Marathoner to Compete for Israel in Rio Olympics

    JNS.org – Kenyan-born marathoner Lonah Chemtai is expected to compete for Israel at the Olympics Games in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil next month after gaining a last minute approval. “I am very proud [to represent Israel] and I hope to achieve a new personal best time,” Chemtai told Reuters. Chemtai, who grew up a rural village in western Kenya, first came to Israel in 2009 to care of the children of her country’s ambassador to Israel. The 27-year-old runner recently gained […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Identity Will Laughs Lead to Love on Show About Orthodox Dating?

    Will Laughs Lead to Love on Show About Orthodox Dating?

    To date or not to date? That is not the question for most Modern Orthodox singles in New York. The question is when will they find their future spouses, and when will their families stop nagging them about having babies? Inspired by the success of the Israeli show “Srugim,” Leah Gottfried, 25, decided she would create and star in her own show, “Soon By You.” “Dating is so serious already,” Gottfried said. “We wanted to take a lighter approach and laugh at the […]

    Read more →