The re­ally like­able kosher co­me­dian

af­fec­tion­ate and funny take on Jewish be­havioural quirks im­presses

The Jewish Chronicle - - Arts&entertainment -

there IS a sense of quiet anx­i­ety in­volved in go­ing to Jewish-themed live com­edy acts. You can­not help but worry: “Will the ma­te­rial ring true, or be ex­cru­ci­at­ingly wide of the mark? Will the Jewish au­di­ence-mem­bers be of­fended? Will the non-Jewish mem­bers be con­fused? Will the per­former feel let down if the Jews do not laugh? Will there be time to eat?”

th­ese fears seem to be more acute in the UK where audiences are not quite as comfortable with Jewish­ness com­pared with those in the US.

When Jackie Ma­son came to Wem­b­ley to per­form at the Is­rael 60 Gala Show last spring, there was out­rage among the com­mu­nity. his jokes were dated and not re­ally rel­e­vant any more.

So thank good­ness co­me­dian Mark Maier was not struck by the dreaded Jewish stand-up curse when he per­formed his new show, The 9 O’Clock Shmooze, at the new end the­atre in north Lon­don last week.

In fact, his Jewish-re­lated ma­te­rial — which made up the ma­jor­ity of the act — got the best re­sponse and proved that you can do Jewish gags in this coun­try and hit the right note. the idea that Jews should want to park very close to the en­trance of the David Lloyd Cen­tre in north Finch­ley so they will not have to walk too far in or­der to get to where they ex­er­cise was funny on many lev­els.

that Maier’s stag week­end in­volved a huge meal and a schluf rather than sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll was amus­ing, as was the ob­ser­va­tion that Jews can­not do DIY be­cause the word spelled back­wards is YID.

non-Jews in the au­di­ence may not have got the ref­er­ences to “bar­mitz­vahs” (and why so much money is lav­ished on them when the boys nor­mally sound ter­ri­ble), “ shkoy­achs” and “good Yom­tovs”, but they would have cer­tainly un­der­stood Maier was giv­ing them in­sights into an idio­syn­cratic, slightly bonkers group of peo­ple.

the comic also proved that he had a great ear for ac­cents — his im­pres­sions of Is­raelis, York­shire­men, Scots and Cock­neys — adding to the hu­mour.

But the most com­pelling thing about him was (as Si­mon Cow­ell would put it) his like­abil­ity fac­tor. It did not mat­ter if all the jokes were funny or not, the au­di­ence was on his side and he did n o t a p p e a r over l y c on­cerned i f a gag failed to get a laugh. he has a com- fort­able stage pres­ence which puts the au­di­ence at ease.

there was only one prob­lem — two evenings of Mair’s six-night run were out of bounds to Jewish audiences, be­ing Yom­tovim. So we did have some­thing to kvetch

about af­ter all. The 9 O’Clock Shmooze con­tin­ues on Oc­to­ber 26 and 27. Tick­ets on

0870 033 273

Maier: in­sights into our idio­syn­cra­sies

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