(photo credit: Dana Dekel)
Five years ago, the new immigrant and comedian David Kilimnick could be
regularly seen at the OU Israel Center performing one-man acts with titles like
“The Aliyah Monologues” and “Find Me a Wife.” But nowadays, Kilimnick is often
behind the bar at his club pouring drinks with one hand and fiddling with a
karaoke machine with the other.
That’s because comedy went from a passion
and part-time job to an all-engrossing business for Kilimnick when he opened the
first comedy club in Jerusalem, the Off The Wall Comedy Basement. Three years
later, he is hoping to spread the jokes to Tel Aviv.
Beginning this week,
Kilimnick will be hosting monthly shows at the Carousel Theater in Tel Aviv with
top performers from his comedy club in Jerusalem.
“It’s going to be the
Tel Aviv branch of Off the Wall Comedy. We will probably get it going weekly at
some point,” says Kilimnick about the upcoming shows that will include both
headliners and open mic nights.
“Every time I go to Tel Aviv,” he
deadpans, “there is always an Israeli coming up to me saying, ‘Tel Aviv is New
York.’ My response is ‘I’ve been to New York, it’s very different. In New York
you can find kosher food.’” Kilimnick says that besides the language, the style
of comedy will also be different from other Tel Aviv shows because it was
uniquely developed in Jerusalem.
“Let’s stop with the Seinfeld-type
We are the holy city, let’s create the comedy of
heart, the comedy of emeth (truth),” says Kilimnick about the concept behind his
If his acts were broken down to three basic themes, they
would be single life, religiosity and life in Israel as an immigrant.
moved to Israel to meet my naturally blonde Yemenite girl,” says Kilimnick in
his show entitled “Find Me a Wife.” Later on in the act he continues, “I live in
the Katamon area, where the single people in Jerusalem go to
Kilimnick says that these themes are supposed to represent real
issues in his life and that he is hoping to bring absurdities to the community’s
attention through his comedy.
“A single religious person’s voice in the
Jewish community cannot be heard because we are wrong, we shouldn’t be, there is
no place for us. I was at a Saw You at Sinai event [a religious dating website]
and I felt like ‘This isn’t right,’” says the 33-year-old comedian about his
inspiration behind the “Find Me a Wife” show.
Despite his anguish, if you
ask Kilimnick, he’ll tell you that he is “the most eligible bachelor of
“Print that, man,” says Kilimnick with a mischievous
Other shows by Kilimnick include the “Second Aliyah Monologues,”
which is a more experienced version of the first “Aliyah Monologues” with which
he started his comedy career in Israel, and the “Frum from Birth – The Religious
THE AMERICAN-BORN Kilimnick also performs in Hebrew
during the weekly Hebrew comedy shows at Off the Wall. He started performing his
act for native-born Israelis a year after making aliya. He says they enjoy his
very different perspective on being in Israel.
“If this was a
conversation, we would never be having it. It would have ended when you heard my
accent,” he says with his strong American accent to the Hebrewspeaking
Kilimnick opened the Off The Wall comedy club three years ago
to create a center for Jerusalem comedy at the top of the busy Ben-Yehuda
Street. There are currently 25 English-speaking comedians and 20 other
performers at the Hebrew shows.
“Give it up for your headliner and
bartender,” is a usual line at Off The Wall, where Kilimnick will often tend bar
for most of the show, and then put on a jacket to go up as the final
In addition to comedy, there are also open music nights, as
well as occasional poetry competitions. However, one of the big draws of the
club is the nightly karaoke. On the night of women-only karaoke, popular among
girls from abroad studying in seminary, the small club is packed with 40 to 50
women waiting for their turn to sing along with the tunes of Britney Spears or
“It took us a while to accept karaoke, but it is a big thing,”
says Kilimnick while tending bar around midnight for the late-night patrons
taking turns on the karaoke stage.
Kilimnick can be found at the club
five to six nights a week, sometimes appearing to be no more than the club
bartender during a musical performance. But in truth, his stand-up work at the
club is sustaining the unique home of Jerusalem comedy.