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Comedy for Koby: A comedy miracle after trying times – review

CM 19/08/2021

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Countless miracles have happened in the Land of Israel, but this week’s Comedy for Koby tour was by far the funniest.
It is miraculous that tour organizer Avi Liberman is even alive, let alone back performing in his native Israel, where he has been bringing American comics for charity for two decades.
On May 23, Liberman was badly injured in a car accident in Florida. Initially in serious condition, Liberman spent nine days in the hospital and currently has partial paralysis on the left side of his face, trouble closing his left eye, numbness and tightness as a result of the skull fractures. His doctors made him come to Israel early just in case, but he is on his way to a miraculous recovery.

AVI LIBERMAN leads ‘Comedy for Koby.’ (credit: YISSACHAR RUAS)AVI LIBERMAN leads ‘Comedy for Koby.’ (credit: YISSACHAR RUAS)
The three comedians Liberman brought to Israel also had to rely on miracles to make it to the Holy Land, overcoming the bureaucratic evils of the wicked coronavirus pandemic. Their entry into the country was rejected, approved and rejected again, but they made it in – a day before Israel started requiring a seven-day quarantine for anyone arriving from the US.
In a final dose of miraculous timing, the shows were the last chance for a while to see any event with more than 50 people, because new regulations kick in two days after the comics leave.
“It was a Herculean effort,” Liberman recounted in prophetic hindsight. “These guys came here under the hardest of circumstances to give some laughs to people who could really use it.”
Liberman, Hugh Fink, Willie Barcena and Don Gavin performed over the past week in Beit Shemesh, Gush Etzion, Jerusalem, Ra’anana, Tel Aviv and Modi’in.
Over the years, Liberman has become an expert at finding exactly what to say to make Israelis laugh based on the news of the day. Mocking the paralysis of his face, he said it was no different from how all Israelis look when they’re told another election has been initiated.
The audiences got their dessert first this tour with Liberman making fun of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream’s decision to not renew its contract with its Israeli licensee, who refused the company’s request to break Israeli law and stop selling over the Green Line.
Among the new flavors of Ben & Jerry’s Liberman suggested were: Heath Allahu Akbar Crunch, Krystalnachlet Chip, Charleston Self-Hating Chew, PLOreo, Strawberry Shortkike, Mintifada and Bergen Belgian Chocolate.
Besides being an Emmy Award-winning comedy writer for Saturday Night Live and accomplished violinist, Fink is also a proud Jew from Indiana, or as he put it, a “Joosier.” He recalled being asked by a teacher in school: “How long have you been practicing Jewcraft?”
A long-running gag poking fun at the Israeli Olympic baseball team (“Come on Shlomo, Let’s go Pinhas”) kept the crowds laughing.
Barcena, who lives in Los Angeles, made fun of Israeli drivers, haredim (ultra-Orthodox) and the Mahaneh Yehuda Market in Jerusalem. Lamenting his lack of work during the pandemic, he said he kept busy taking a full day to accomplish household chores he would normally hire someone with his fellow Mexican heritage to do in five minutes.
But the comic who received by far the most laughs was Gavin, who is known as the Godfather of Boston comedy and said he took inspiration from the late great comic Jonathan Winters. Gavin said with Israel competing in rhythmic gymnastics, it did not matter if Israel won a gold medal, because no matter what, its gymnasts would return home with a ribbon.
The Comedy for Koby tour is a biannual event, benefiting The Koby Mandell Foundation, which helps family members of terror victims and others who have suffered a loss in their family.
This weekend, the foundation is hosting 200 kids who have lost an immediate family member from terror, illness, car accidents and in the IDF. The children will go to a swimming pool and an amusement park, along with therapy sessions about their loss.
After a year and a half in which the pandemic limited what the foundation could do, the events planned for this weekend were described by the organizers as yet another miracle, making life better for those in need.

Source: Jerusalem Post

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