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September 28, 2022 1:18 pm
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New York’s Funniest Realtors Are Also Jewish

avatar by Alan Zeitlin

Opinion

Adam Elliott was the winner of Funniest Realtor in NYC. Photo by Perry Bindelglass.

The judges got it right in picking the winner for the Funniest Realtor in NYC contest, which was held at the Gotham Comedy Club in Manhattan recently.

Jewish Manhattan resident Adam Elliott got the crowd laughing and took home a $500 prize, partly with some jokes about Judaism. He said he saw so many friends in the audience, that it was like a bar mitzvah, which he greatly preferred over a different life cycle event.

“I don’t remember my bris, but I know it was 100 percent the worst day of my life,” Elliott joked.

He told the crowd that real estate agents and comedians are not known to be mentally stable.

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“The winner of this competition gets a month of free therapy,” he said.

He also said dating is difficult.

“Dating and real estate are pretty similar, actually,” he said. “Apartments are just like men and women: all the best ones are already taken.”

He said he’d gone on Birthright Israel and told me in an interview that he re-connected with his Jewish roots.

I disagreed with the judges, however, because I thought that comic Stephanie Turk deserved to finish in the top four. Turk went viral for her unique “Farkakte Apartments” TikTok account, which now has 48,000 followers. “Farkakte” is the Yiddish word for lousy or crappy, and she mocks the flaws of several apartments she shows.

Like Elliott, Turk got the crowd laughing bemoaning the fact that she is single, and referred to a piece of real estate that all humans will have to use at some point.

“My first experience with real estate is when my father bought us all cemetery plots,” she said. “That’s right. Just for him, my mother, and me. Kind of insulting, right? That at 10-years- old, they already assumed I’d die alone.”

She then mimicked her mother’s voice, saying, “The way she eats, she’ll never get married. I just hope she’ll fit in that plot.”

She said she got one thing from her mother, which is common for Jewish children.

“So my mother gave me what every good Jewish mother gives their daughters,” she said. “You know what that is? Drama.”

“If you are funny, it definitely helps to get [real estate] referrals and listings,” Turk said.

Elliott said he first performed at Stand Up NY on the Upper West Side at the age of 13. Turk only more recently began to do stand-up comedy. I wouldn’t be surprised if one day we saw a show or film with the two of them in it together.

Andrew Engel, who is Jewish and the founder of the Manhattan Comedy School, said he organizes contests like these to encourage new talent, and has had contests for funniest finance workers and doctors.

But cultivating comedy is not easy. Many people could be good, but are too afraid. Some still think that if they pursue comedy, it will take away from their other job and make it appear that they are not serious. On the contrary, it can be used as a vehicle for both catharsis and comedy, and one can gain perspective that can make a person better at their job and also laugh at some frustrations, rather than grow angry and bitter.

It is true that comedy is harder than it looks, and it is wrong to think someone can just step on a stage and be funny. But some people can — and I hope there’s more contests to give these people a chance to make us laugh.

The writer is an author based in New York.

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