The Jewish Humor Festival: 'Do more stand-up'

  • Article by: BILL WARD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 3, 2012 - 7:48 PM

The Jewish Humor Festival gives the people what they want by focusing on comedians.

All the world's a stage at the Minneapolis Jewish Humor Festival, and in its third year most of the players will be doing standup comedy.

"I listened to our audience," festival director Claire Avitabile said. "The stand-up acts sold out the most, and on the audience surveys they were saying, 'Do more stand-up.'

"I came up with the idea for the festival partially based on experiences with the Fringe Festival, but a lot of the theater-type shows didn't have a Fringe-type draw."

This year's fare still includes a documentary film (about comedians, of course) and a one-woman play, but it primarily features comedians, both national (Rachel Feinstein, Dave Goldstein) and local (Rabbi Sim Glaser, Laura Thorne).

Thorne, of Minneapolis, came to comedy in a roundabout way five years ago after she was fired from her "first corporate 'real' job." In the exit interview, she said her boss recommended that she try stand-up because she told a story at an office party better than anything else she did in nine months at the company.

"It ended up being great advice," she said.

Thorne is looking forward to mixing in Jewish jokes with her regular routine, although she said she probably won't use this one:

"You know there's a Twin Cities Jewish GLBT group? First off, it's hard for anyone to fall in love no matter what. If you're only going to date Jews, you're down to less than 1 percent of the world's population. ... And if you're a Jewish transgender from St. Paul who is looking to fall in love with another Jewish transgender from St. Paul, well, good luck to you. They should combine that mixer with another equally obscure group ... like Timberwolves fans. Just so there's more than one person at that mixer."

  • MINNEAPOLIS JEWISH HUMOR FESTIVAL

    When: Jan. 14-28.

    Where: Sabes Jewish Community Center, 4330 S. Cedar Lake Road, Mpls.

    Tickets: Festival passes $70-$90, five-show passes $40-$50; prices vary for individual shows. Call 952-381-3499 or go to sabesjcc.org.

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