(photo credit: Yissachar Ruas )
The crowd was a little confused at the biannual Comedy for Koby show in
Jerusalem Sunday night. Not as to why they were there, but where they had come
Funny-man Avi Liberman tried to take stock of the audience and
asked one man if he was American. He readily responded yes, but then added,
“Well, a little I’m from Canada,” to which the crowd roared with
When one girl answered that she was from England, it was
Liberman’s turn to look perplexed, “You said ‘Yes’ like you were from the
Now in its 10th year, Comedy for Koby has been bringing dozens
of comics to the Holy Land since 2003, raising money for the Koby Mandell
Foundation, in addition to charities that help teens at risk. Rabbi Seth Mandell
and his wife, Sherri, started the foundation in memory of their 13-year-old son,
Koby, who was murdered in a terrorist attack in 2001. The foundation provides
therapeutic healing programs to assist families torn apart by
Liberman warmed up the audience with some topical
He said that as soon as he landed, he lost $300. “That’s the last
time I eat ice cream with Bibi Netanyahu.”
At Liberman’s mere mention of
Stephen Hawking, the crowd responded with resounding boos.
understand the irony,” Liberman said, “that we invented the chip that allows him
“We should be smart enough to hack into it, ‘Mr. Hawking, can
you explain your black-hole theory?’
“‘The-disengagement-from-Gaza-was-a-huge-mistake,’” Liberman mimicked in a
Following Liberman, Dennis Regan has been doing standup
for more than 20 years all over the US and has performed multiple times on the
Tonight Show with Jay Leno and the Late Show with David Letterman. In a Q&A
following the performance, he said what surprised him the most about visiting
Israel was that “the greatest danger of being killed here is being run over by a
guy on a bike in Tel Aviv.”
Wayne Federman, one of the first comedians to
join Comedy for Koby and returning for his second time to Israel, treated the
audience to some special musical numbers on the piano.
“This is my new
song about Tel Aviv. It’s called ‘I Think I Found a Parking Space.’” It was the
first visit to the Holy Land for comedian Ralph Harris, who closed the show. He
said he had been in contact with Liberman for about eight years, and this was
the first opportunity he’d had to finally perform here. “I couldn’t wait,” he
The Philadelphia native wasn’t sure what to expect before he came
to Israel. He said the only thing he expected from Liberman was the opportunity
to perform a great show but that the experience had gone above and beyond, with
Liberman taking the group on tours and teaching them about Israel.
only see it in the news, and the things in the news are so sensationalized,” he
told the Jerusalem Post after the show.
“I knew it was a holy place, and
I couldn’t wait to get here and see some of the things I always read about in
Harris came out for his set with an energy that threatened to
break free of the stage. He had the audience doubled over at his impersonations.
At one point he fought breaking character himself, taking deep breaths to
control his own laughter at his impersonation of his 100-year-old
But he also imparted some wisdom, finishing with advice to
the audience to call their grandparents. “Their biggest fear is that they’ll be
forgotten,” he said.
After the show, excited fans clamored around the
comedians, taking pictures and thanking them for coming. The amount of hugs
Liberman received was a testament to the popularity of the show and the
importance it holds for the patrons.
The comedy tour continues in Tel
Aviv on Tuesday and Gush Etzion on Wednesday. Tickets can be ordered online at
www.comedyforkoby.com or by phone at 052-798-5200.