Funny guys, serious cause

Four American comedians are here to support the Koby Mandell Foundation and victims of terror.

By MEIRA BIENSTOCK
June 4, 2010 23:24
2 minute read.
Israeli-born Avi Liberman

stand up comedian avi liberman 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)

Featuring a variety of the some of the leading Hollywood comedians, Comedy for Koby, a comedic fundraising show for the Koby Mandell Foundation, brings in Bob Zany, Johnny Sanchez, Wayne Cotter and the comedian behind the whole tour, Avi Liberman.

Liberman has been bringing top American comedians to Israel twice a year since the outbreak of the intifada in 2001. For the fourth season in a row, Stand Up for Israel, together with DJW productions, has partnered with the Koby Mandell Foundation. The foundation was established by the Mandell family in memory of their 13-year-old son Koby, who was killed by a terrorist in 2001 near their home in Tekoa. The nonprofit organization works on behalf of individuals and families struck by terror, providing a range of services and programs to victims and their families.

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What started as just a fun night out turned into something to brighten people’s moods and then ultimately into an opportunity to donate the proceeds to a worthy cause. “This is just supposed to be a funny, high-quality show. The acts have nothing to do with terrorism,” says Liberman. “We wanted to give the proceeds to a good cause, and the Koby Mandell foundation is a great one.”

As always, Liberman has lined up three top-tier comics to join him. Johnny Sanchez has appeared on the The Late, Late Show on CBS and has his own Half Hour Special on Comedy Central. Comedian Wayne Cotter has hosted the Fox Television Network series Comic Strip Live and has been nominated by the American Comedy Awards as Best Standup Comedian. And comedian Bob Zany has appeared in close to 1,000  US television stints, including a spot on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. He has been a three-time American Comedy Award nominee.

One of the main objectives of the show is to have the comedians come to Israel and have a great experience and then go back to the States and “bust a lot of stereotypes of Israel that are on the news,” says Liberman.

According to Zany, “The general rule in comedy is tragedy + time = humor. The trick is figuring out how much time needs to pass before it is possible to see the humor. I try not to cross any sensitive lines, but I absolutely believe that humor and laughter are very, very powerful coping mechanisms.”

Zany explains there are always going to be references that have to be edited in terms of performing acts in different cities. However, he says, “I look forward to figuring it out along the tour. Funny is a universal language, and I will focus on that.”

And as for any messages that need to be conveyed to the audience, Zany exclaims, “Sit back, relax and enjoy the show.  And if you don't want me to talk to you from the stage, sitting in the back won’t help!”

Comedy for Koby will be held from June 1 through June 9 in Haifa, Beit Shemesh, Modi’in, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Gush Etzion. To purchase tickets, contact www.comedyforkoby.* or 052-798-5200.


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