The Shmooze

Israelis Get a Good Laugh (Care of a Catholic)

By Benji Lovitt

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The well-known Rabbi Joseph Telushkin once remarked that the Jewish people laugh “in order not to cry.” Well, for fans of American comedy in Israel, there was certainly a good reason not to cry this Easter season.

Comedy Central and late-night TV regular, Jim Gaffigan, a practicing Catholic, surprised fans when he performed two impromptu shows in Israel, while visiting the Holy Land for Easter with his family.

Gaffigan reached out to Los Angeles-based comedian Avi Liberman, founder of the Comedy for Koby benefit tours in Israel, and faster than you can say “What’s the deal with falafel?” Gaffigan had sold out two shows.

His performance in Jaffa’s Arab-Hebrew Theater was pulled together in only 48 hours. Thanks to the power of social media, the word spread quickly, with Americans and Israeli fans in disbelief at the veteran comic’s surprise visit.

Gaffigan tailored his show for his special location and had the crowd roaring with lines such as “As you can tell, I am an Ethiopian Jew” and “This reminds me of my Bar-Mitzvah.” Gaffigan followed up his Jaffa show with an appearance at Jerusalem’s Off the Wall Comedy Basement and even stuck around afterward to hang out with his fans.

And for the readers who are simply dying to know about his most famous shtick: Yes, Jim brought the “Hot Pockets”.


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