Recycled 1980s stand-up material, jokes I remember from my grandfather and an audience that lapped it all up was the unfortunate, rarely funny waste of time presented as the Tel Aviv installment of the Comedy for Koby tour.
Just about half a year ago I sat through a similar show, part of comic Avi Liberman's Stand Up For Israel mission to bring American stand-up comics here to cheer us up. The show then, headlined by the oddly funny and unexpectedly gracious Harland Williams, succeeded in far exceeding any of my expectations for the quality of funny that a talking head on the E! channel could muster together for a trip to our strip.
This time around, I realized that comedy was hit or miss.
Let me be clear: There were some very funny bits - even bringing tears to my eyes. But these were fleeting moments, interspersed among too-long riffs on gays, race relations and why Jerusalem is religious and Tel Aviv is secular. I'm assuming that the comics were briefed on this clichÃ© point, but I just don't care what the "deal is" with bicycles in Tel Aviv on Yom Kippur.
Each comic had his shining moment: Chris Spencer's well-timed dropped jokes and constant references to "shazbot" (the show was on a Saturday night), Modi's Jim Gaffigan-like interludes of conversing with the audience and Mike Loftus's well-honed professionalism all allowed for some saving grace.
But, for a group attempting to raise money for The Koby Mandell Foundation (an organization that aids the families of victims of terror), I was hoping for something to aid me just a bit in escaping the mundane.