Seriously good for a laugh

Comedy for Koby arrives in time to cheer up a nation.

December 10, 2010 16:28
3 minute read.
Avi Liberman performs his standup act.

avi liberman_521. (photo credit: Courtesy)

The Comedy for Koby tour has returned to Israel for the fourth time, bringing some of Hollywood’s top comedians to Israeli audiences. The show has been a rousing success since it was first launched by American Jewish comic Avi Liberman during the second intifada. Each year since then, Liberman has returned to Israel with three different comedic friends and donated the proceeds to various worthy causes, the current one being The Koby Mandell Foundation – a terror victims outreach organization founded by the Mandell family after their 13-year-old son Koby was stoned to death by terrorists in 2003.

This year’s shows will be hosted by Liberman and will feature stand-up comics John Caponera, Gregg Rogell and Dwayne Perkins. The tour will visit seven locations: Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Ra’anana, Beit Shemesh, Modi’in, Gush Etzion and Zichron Ya’acov. Liberman says he is particularly looking forward to the show in the North. "In light of the recent tragedy that occurred with the fire, I hope the show will give people the opportunity to escape from the stress and have a good time.”

With the caliber of comedians Liberman is bringing with him, there is little doubt that audiences are in for a treat. In selecting comedians for the show, Liberman says, “I just try to bring people who are funny.”

He chooses comedians who aren’t Jewish and brings them to Israel hoping to change their perceptions. “People come here 99 times out of a 100 and have a great time. It’s important to let people know what life in Israel is all about. When people think about Israel they think of Gaza, and that couldn’t be further from the truth.”

One such comedian is John Caponera, a Chicago-born comedian and actor who has been described as a “comic’s comic,” with a sensational mix of material that is guaranteed to “crack you up.” Caponera says he heard about the Koby Foundation from Liberman and immediately wanted to get involved.

“We worked together at the Improv at Harrah’s casino in Las Vegas and he asked me if I would be interested in performing at the event. I happily accepted.”

In an interview with The Jerusalem Post, Caponera says this is his first visit to Israel and he is feeling excited about it “I’m very intrigued with the goings on in the Middle East. I actually do a lot of comedy material in my act about the absurdity of certain groups in the Middle East, differences in culture and the hypocrisies, which I will probably be omitting for this trip, considering the sensitivity of the region and the charity.”

He says he is also hoping to get a clearer understanding of the Jewish people in Israel firsthand. “I’m also curious to see the difference between any of the Jewish people in Israel compared to the ones in America. The Jews I have met in America that are from Israel seem a lot tougher than the ones in the US.”

Caponera says, “I respect Israel a lot. I love the fact that everybody serves their country, and I know they have one of the best armies in the world. I sense an us-against-the-world mentality from Israel, and it makes me want to cheer for them. I’m sure I’m wrong on some perceptions and right on others, but I can’t wait to find out.”

Having previously arrived in the wake of the flotilla incident, and this time arriving to a nation in grieving in the wake of a national tragedy, Liberman has a knack for coming when the country most needs cheering up. Anyone looking for a good dose of laughter, all in the name of a good cause, need look no further.

The Comedy for Koby tour kicks off on December 8 and ends on December 16. Tickets cost NIS 100 in advance or NIS 120 at the door, with concessionary ticket available for soldiers at NIS 75. Tickets are available online at, where more specific scheduling can also be found.

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