The most important thing you need to know about Adir Miller’s show in Jerusalem on Thursday is that I laughed basically the whole time. The joke density was very high and very fast-paced, with at least a punchline a minute.
That being said, the show was a bit like the comedy equivalent of a security blanket. There weren’t many surprises; the audience mostly comes in comfortably knowing what to expect.
Considering that he’s been a near-constant presence on Israeli TV at least since I made aliyah in 2005 when he was sharing a screen in prime time with the Ma Kashur comedy trio; and that his 2008-2014 sitcom, Traffic Light, was an award-winning hit, one needs to have been only a casual follower of Israeli popular culture to be familiar with his shtick.
And his shtick, at least since Traffic Light came out, has been to complain about marriage. A lot. If you’ve been married for a while, you don’t have a lot of sex, and when you want to, your spouse is asleep on the couch. Also, sometimes husbands take shortcuts in taking care of the kids, and their uppity wives get annoyed. You’ve surely heard these jokes many times before, even if you’ve never seen Traffic Light or an Adir Miller comedy routine.
Plus, there’s the massive well from which Israeli comedians love to draw jokes: Ashkenazim are like this, and Mizrahim are like that – in this case, mostly Yemenites, the community from which his wife comes.
On the one hand, to this day I quote a joke in this vein I heard Miller tell over a decade ago, in which he mocked Ashkenazi mothers like my own, for whom throwing away a half-eaten cottage cheese cup past its expiration date is a mortal sin. And the Traffic Light episode in which Miller’s fictional fiancée, who is Mizrahi, has a nightmare that Miller’s Ashkenazi family will give speeches in memory of the Holocaust at their wedding is a classic.
On the other hand, it’s kind of a tired format.
And yet, as I said, I laughed the entire time. Miller is a pro.
A big portion of the show was audience interaction, and that was where he shone the most. It seemed like the risk of audience members saying something unexpected – as opposed to the material he does every night – brought him to life. He was fast on his feet, improvising hilarious retorts with impeccable timing.
Thursday’s show was Miller’s first time back at the Jerusalem International Convention Center since COVID-19, and it was sold out.
If you’re looking for a first-time venture into gatherings of thousands of people (masked and with green passports, of course) since the pandemic struck, or if you’ve already gone out, Miller’s show is a good choice. And don’t worry – there were only a couple of coronavirus jokes.