Coming out of the Beit Shmuel theater in Jerusalem on Sunday night, the audience
of Comedy for Koby was all smiles. Audience members said that of all the
comedians Los Angeles- based Avi Liberman has brought to Israel to raise money
for charity, this summer’s tour was by far the funniest.
also did their research. They came prepared with Hebrew words to throw into
their jokes and knowledge of the latest politics and popular topics of
conversation in the Holy Land.
Liberman opened the show by saying that
he’ll be spending a good deal of time in Israel now that he’s come up with an
idea for a successful business venture – he’s going to open up a girls’ school
in Beit Shemesh.
He also poked fun at the various countries that olim in
the audience hailed from, saying no Jews live in South Africa outside of
Johannesburg and Capetown, putting on a posh British accent and talking about
the Jubilee and the royal family.
Funnyman Ron Pearson had the audience
in stitches from the moment he opened his mouth.
“I’m the youngest of
eight children,” he began.
“That’s a large Christian family... or a very
small family from Efrat.”
In addition to his witty observations about
Israel (“this country has more pregnant women than anywhere else on the
planet!”), Pearson is a master of physical comedy. In one routine, he did
impressions while juggling.
Like Pearson, African-American comic Kivi
Rogers came onto the stage with a boom.
“I am not Sudanese,” he said,
referencing the protests that have arisen regarding African refugees in the past
few weeks. “I will be heading right out of here.”
He mentioned his
experience at the Western Wall as well. Overall it was positive, but he wished
they’d do something about all that trash in the wall.
Cory Kahaney, the
only comedienne in the group, was eager to impress upon the crowd just how
Jewish she is. She talked about the decision to marry a Jew (not an issue most
of her audience would have to grapple with, she conceded) and the critical
Jewish mother-in-law that came with him.
The comedians brought something
for everyone in their eight-show, six-city tour: they were rude without being
crude, they brought in physical stunts, world culture, politics and Jewish
But at the end of the day, the cause they’d come to support was
all too serious.
The Koby Mandell Foundation, which helps children and
families torn apart by terrorism by running a summer camp and respite retreats,
among other activities, lost one of its major sponsors this year. It would be a
great loss for this segment of the population if the foundations could not
continue – and it would be a loss for culture in Israel to lose one of the best
comedy events the country has known for the past 11 years. One can only hope
that people will continue to support this important cause, so that comedy fans
and terror victims across Israel can continue to have a reason to smile.