Comedy Review: Crossroads

Mark Schiff, an Orthodox Jew, provides a different perspective than past Crossroads shows.

microphone 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
microphone 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Crossroads Comedy Tour Ma'abada, Jerusalem December 12 The fact that the Crossroads Comedy Tour raises money for teens at risk didn't stop comedian Mark Schiff from opening his routine last Wednesday with a joke about the then as yet uncompleted high school teachers strike. "If there's no school, where are kids going to get their drugs?" Schiff asked, setting the stage for a night of comedy that despite being toned down for a mostly religious audience in Jerusalem, was not afraid to touch taboo issues. Schiff, who has opened for Jerry Seinfeld in New York comedy clubs, provided a different perspective than past Crossroads shows, because as an Orthodox Jew, he could relate better to a Jerusalem audience than some of the gentiles that Avi Liberman has brought to Israel on past stand-up tours. Recalling a trip to Jerusalem's Mea Shearim neighborhood, Schiff pondered whether haredim asked their wives what to wear in the morning. He said that if they did, the wives would respond: "Wear the black hat, the black jacket, the black pants, the white shirt and the tie with soup on it." Liberman's past comedy tours have been so successful that he has started bringing all-star comedians from America to Israel twice a year instead of just once. A relatively young crowd packed the Jerusalem Lab to hear Liberman, Schiff, Reggie McFadden and John Mulrooney. Unfortunately, Liberman repeated many of the same jokes that he used the last time he came to Israel in June. But a recent visit to Afghanistan to entertain troops provided a lot of good new material. Liberman said he was surprised that Israelis asked him if he wore a kippa in Afghanistan."Yeah, right, and I also wore my Talit and Tefillin," he joked. He said that after visiting Afghanistan, when people ask him if he feels scared coming to Israel, he has a new answer: "Not anymore."