Comedy that can

American funnymen bring their brand of humor to Israel, hoping that laughter just might ease our pain.

comedy 248.88 (photo credit: courtesy)
comedy 248.88
(photo credit: courtesy)
Modi is a stand-up comic. The Hollywood Reporter and BackStage voted him one of the top ten comedians in New York City. He has performed numerous times at the Montreal Comedy Festival, appeared on The Sopranos, Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn, E! and had a leading role in Waiting for Woody Allen. Still, despite all these achievements, when asked of what he is most proud, he replies, "When I use my comedy to help a cause." Since Israel is a country with many causes, we're soon to enjoy Modi live on the Stand Up for Israel Charity Tour. The tour was founded in 2002 and is still run by Avi Lieberman. Comedians Avi and Modi were born in Israel but grew up in U.S. At first Lieberman just wanted to cover the expenses of the tour, while bringing the funny to Israel. But when Lieberman met the director of the Crossroads Center, which aims to help at-risk Anglo youth in Jerusalem, he decided to make it a charity event. This time around, the tour will raise funds for the Koby Mandell Foundation, which provides support to Jewish families affected by terror. (Koby, 13, was murdered in 2001 near his home in the settlement of Tekoa.) "The charity changed because we are simply trying to expand and spread the wealth," Lieberman explains. "We would ideally like to help as many people as we can while also making people laugh at the same time. We heard nothing but great things about the Koby Mandell Foundation and are very happy to be giving them as much as we can." Lieberman, as always, will MC the shows. "Every tour is always a little different because there are always three new comedians. The shows are always unique that way. It's also interesting to watch each comedian's reaction to being in Israel, and these guys are all so funny," he says. I saw last year's show and can assure you, Lieberman knows what he's talking about. Lieberman has an impressive resumé, too. He has performed on CBS's the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson and on Comedy Central's Premium Blend. His acting credits include Dave's World, Boston Common and as a funny talking head on the E! channel's countdown series. Not all of the comedians performing on this year's tour were born here. In fact, when I asked another of the tour's comedians, Michael Loftus, where he most wants to visit while in Israel he curiously replied, "the Eiffel Tower." Aside from the sheer disappointment that awaits the developmentally challenged funny man when he realizes that he must settle for Jaffa's clock tower instead, Loftus is very excited about his pending arrival. "This is my first visit to Israel. I don't know very much, except I'm really looking forward to visiting and finding out everything! I've been to Iceland before and so far I enjoy countries that start with the letter 'I'." Loftus's career as a comic and actor started in Columbus, Ohio, where he founded the comedy troupe called Midwest Comedy Tool & Die. Since then he has appeared on Comedy Central's Premium Blend and Star Search. Currently, he is a writer on the hit ABC comedy series The George Lopez Show and performs regularly at improv clubs. Also appearing on this year's tour is Chris Spencer. If he looks familiar it's probably because you've seen him on America's Top Model, ER, SoulFood, Charmed and/or The Jamie Foxx Show. He has been a frequent guest on Hollywood Squares as well. His film credits include 2 Can Play That Game, Sin, All About You, The Sixth Man and Don't Be A Menace To South Central While Drinking Your Juice In The Hood. As a stand-up comic he has performed on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Def Jam Comedy Show, Monique's Big Black Comedy Show, BET's Comic View and Showtime's Lafapalooza - to name just a few. And, just because he hates the down time, he has toured with Dave Chappelle, Damon Wayans and Jeff Foxworthy. While here - and off-stage - the comedians will travel around the country to see a few of the sites that Israel has to offer. They might even work some of their observations into their acts. As Loftus said, "Everyone is fair game, but since everybody's been in the army, I'm going to take it kind of easy." Tickets cost NIS 75-100 and the tour runs from December 3-11, passing through Ra'anana, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Modi'in and Beit Shemesh. For more information: e-mail -; phone - (054) 627-2867; internet -