OLD JEWS TELLING JOKES
July 25, 2012
It’s not just jokes. There’s live piano music too courtesy of Donald Corren.
“Old Jews Telling Jokes” at the Westside Theater draws a lively crowd into its intimate space. It’s like being in a funny relative’s living room, laughing at stories that so easily mirror everyone’s experiences. Titles projected on a screen loosely divide the 90-minute evening into various stages of life. There’s sex before marriage, sex after marriage, children and no sex, accidents and sex—well, you get the picture. In between all the good-humored ribbing, poignant truths about death and commitment, family bonds and love surface.
Deft at establishing characters in the space of a few seconds, the performers evoke a mini-universe of rich, daily situations. Since many of the jokes are X-rated, detailed descriptions are problematic. But here’s one: Why don’t Jewish mothers drink? They don’t want to dull the pain.
Created by Peter Gethers and Daniel Okrent it features Bill Army (young, lanky adult), Marilyn Sokol (elderly lady clown), Todd Susman (fast speaking, Yiddish accented elderly fellow), Audrey Lynn Weston (young, attractive adult) and Lenny Wolpe (elderly, tall jokster).
Affectionately directed by Marc Bruni, a bonus arrives in a video clip of comedienne Alan King expertly working a nightclub audience. Holding a newspaper in his hand, King coerces festively attired ladies into reading obits that invariably end the same way---dead man survived by his wife---even when a despondent wife attempts suicide by jumping out a third story window, she lands on her husband, who dies while she lives. Really delicious.
Although my friend guffawed throughout the evening, she particularly related to one joke about a man who lost his private parts in an accident. When told insurance would pay for the new part that could extend five or even ten inches, he discussed it with his wife, came back and announced the money would buy---a) ten-inches, b) five inches, c) a granite counter----you decide.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Celia Ipiotis