david sidman the israeli show_311.
(photo credit: Screenshot)
Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show doesn’t have anything to worry about yet. But the
Israeli Show with David Sidman is hoping to build on Stewart’s success in the US
with his own fledgling weekly posting on YouTube in which he spoofs the latest
news coming out of our corner of the world.
“It’s basically a one-man
show,” said Sidman, who emigrated to Jerusalem from Boston over a decade
“My wife works the teleprompter and is my stylist; that’s about
Sidman is cast in the role of news anchor on the two to three minute
shows, presenting sardonic comments on current events in Israel, with the help
of video clips and photos in the background. While clearly grass roots, low
budget and not quite ready for prime time with canned laugh tracks and Sidman’s
straight-laced, stilted delivery, the show does have its moments.
commenting on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s recent statement that some
European leaders treat the Palestinians like a spoiled child, Sidman said the
Europeans ignored the PM and instead threw the Palestinians a ‘sweet 16’ party.
And some of his one-liners are zingers like “Shakira visited Jerusalem and went
to the Kotel where her hips apologized for lying.”
“I go to news sites
like The Jerusalem Post
, and I’ll watch the nightly news; when I find stories
that are either popular or unusual, I’ll take a long walk with my dogs and come
up with a bit on them,” said Sidman, a dog trainer by profession (a skill he
learned during his IDF service).
He’s done stand up routines on Israeli
stages and worked in radio in Boston doing a comic routine on a sports show, but
The Israeli Show is a labor of love for him, one that he hopes will provide more
than just laughs.
“It became obvious to me that the entire world was
obsessed with news about Israel. The Daily Show is America’s third most popular
news source, and I realize why – people want to know what’s going on but the
news generally is very boring,” said Sidman.
“So if you can make it fun
and interactive and something they can relate to, then you have a win-win
IT’S ALMOST impossible to not come off with a political
viewpoint when doing comedy about Israel, and while Sidman aims to poke fun at
all segments of society, he does have an agenda that goes beyond
“I’m thrilled to be focusing my talents on something that will
benefit the pro-Israel community. The whole issue of hasbara (public
information) kind of blew my mind. There’s a hasbara tack now that instead of
taking on anti- Israel bias and engaging those controversial issues, there’s
instead a focus on completely unrelated issues – like Israeli hi-tech
innovation,” he said.
“My advantage as a comedian is that I can take the
anti-Israel bias out there and engage it, using comedy to expose its hypocrisy.
But first and foremost, it’s a comedy show. I think hasbara is a side effect.
People who watch it should realize it’s a good hasbara tool, but it’s not the
My main goal is to keep people abroad informed about what’s
going on in Israel and let them have a good laugh at the same time”
hoping that the show (type in TheIsraeliShow in the YouTube search
continues to build momentum, which will enable him to invest some
the expansion of the concept.
“I’d make the show longer, incorporate
other comedians, do some bits on the street talking to people, and
it more like a Saturday Night
framework,” he said, referring to the
long-running US satirical comedy show.
“Now, it’s more like just the
‘Weekend Update’ part of SNL
than anything else.”
While Sidman keeps up
with the local satirical current events shows like Eretz Nehederet
, he sees a
wide chasm in the root of humor between the US and Israel.
“The humor in
Israel is completely different than the US – it’s a lot less subtle,” he
“I think, despite Eretz
’s qualities, the humor in the US
is more thought out and creative. I don’t think native Israelis would
necessarily find my show to be funny.”
And despite naming his show after
the Comedy Central staple, Sidman admitted that he wasn’t really a great
“I like his show but I don’t love it. I like the idea of it
more than I like the jokes – they’re touch and go. For comedy, I like