Tons of Jewish Comedians.
How many Jewish comedians do you know of? In Rabbi Bob Alper’s case, he was cracking jokes from his toddler years (unless you don’t classify puns as jokes), through his teenage years at youth groups, and he regularly includes jokes in his sermons. In his words, he has “years of experience performing in front of a hostile audience.”
How do you go from rabbi to stand-up comedian?
It wasn’t until he placed third at the “Jewish Comic of the Year Contest” that Alper considered making stand-up comedy a full time job. Today, you can hear his clean comedy daily on Sirius/XM satellite radio and at hundreds of live performances throughout North America and London.
Alper pulls humor from many parts of his life, and being a rabbi, he has quite a bit of material from his time doing everything from officiating at weddings to grief counseling. He uses his background in clever and touching ways. Standing on the stage at Toronto’s Muslimfest, he began his set by saying,
“I feel really strange here. So alone. Such an outsider. Think of it: all of you … all of you are … uh … Canadians! And I’m American.”
The power of humor is not just in making people laugh. Hopefully after the last chuckles die out and the tears are wiped away, you start to think a little bit. After all, if you laugh together, find the same things hilarious, can you be that different? At the very least, you may spend a few seconds contemplating the matter – planting idea seeds, maybe – and at best, you may realize something about yourself or other people that you’ve never considered, much less embraced.
Comedians – be they Jewish, Muslim, Christian or anyone else – make us laugh and think. Their background just specifies what they might bring to the table – or better yet, the stage.