Stand up for Koby

By LOREN MINSKY/ ITRAVELJERUSALEM.COM TEAM
December 8, 2011 15:26

Top comedians arrive in Israel to raise funds for Israeli charity, the Koby Mandell Foundation.

3 minute read.



Avi Liberman

Avi Liberman 311. (photo credit: Yissachar Ruas)

Renowned American comedians Maryellen Hooper, John Mulrooney and Saleem join Avi Liberman in the seventh Comedy for Koby tour. The much loved tour includes six hilarious national comedy shows to raise funds for the Koby Mandell Foundation, who provide support to family members of victims of terror.  An audience of 2,000 predominantly English-speakers are expected to attend.

Israeli-born and Texas-bred Liberman began and runs Stand Up for Israel, an organization that brings top level American comedians to Israel to benefit Israeli charities. “After the beginning of the second Intifada, I wanted to find a way to brighten the mood,” says Liberman. “I realized that this was one way that I could contribute.”

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The comedians each have their own unique style of humor and have years of experience performing on television, in film and on the comedy circuit in North America and around the world. Mulrooney is known for his performances on Comedy Tonight and Comic Strip Live as well as Comedy Central, Showtime and HBO. Hooper, the recent winner of The 2010 Boston Comedy Festival, has appeared on The Dennis Miller ShowThe Martin Short Show, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and has had her own half hour special on Comedy Central.  Saleem has toured with music greats The Temptations, Boys II Men and Vanessa Williams as well as with comedy legends George Carlin, Joan Rivers, Chris Rock, Adam Sandler, Kathleen Madigan and Gary Shandling.

The comedians each got to know Liberman through his work on the American stand-up circuit, and jumped at the opportunity to take part in the tour a few years ago. The trio were firm crowd favorites, and were keen to return. Liberman invited them back this year despite a long list of comedians interested in taking part.

For every fan the highlight of the show is different but most people appreciate hearing material based on the comedians’ experiences coming to Israel – dealing with El Al security, visiting the Dead Sea, dealing with taxi drivers in Israel and experiencing the holy sites.

The Koby Mandell Foundation is named after a young teenager murdered by terrorists in 2001. Funds raised from this year’s tour go to support the Camp Koby program for children who have been directly affected by the loss of a loved one in a terror attack. The camp gives them the opportunity to enjoy the fun and relaxation of summer camp alongside peers who can relate.
Liberman is passionate about the work he does. “Contributing to a worthwhile charity and making people laugh – what could be better?” He is optimistic about the Anglo comedy scene in Israel. ”It’s great to see it grow,” says Liberman. “There are a lot of talented people here."

Comedy for Koby started its national tour in Ra'anana on December 6, followed by Beit Shemesh on December 7, Modiin on December 10, Jerusalem (two shows) on December 11, Tel  Aviv on December 12 and a final show in Gush Etzion on December 13.
 
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