Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Tour Continues

So many little time.

The Israeli-Palestinian Comedy Tour did a show in Toronto at Roy Thomson Hall on May 29th. The response was wonderful. We had around 1200 people there and had a great time. It was our first appearance in North America, and we hope it will be the start of more to come. We did the usual TV appearance, and radio, and answered the usual questions. So, for the record, it's not about peace in the Middle East. It's about me being the center of attention. And really...isn't that what we all want...for me?

Now we're back in Israel for our second Israel tour. Ray and Aaron are here and the four of us have hit the road. Actually, we hit the road with a resounding thud.

Our first show was in Tel Aviv last Thursday. It was a private show for Seeds Of Peace. Now don't get me wrong. Seeds Of Peace is a wonderful organization. They do outstanding work and their staff are some of the nicest people in the world. They're dedicated to their cause and they believe in what we're doing, as well. But the show sucked! First of all, the venue was not right for us. Secondly, it was a reunion! So the people, all younger people - I might add, were there to see their friends. Not to see us. Being a comedian, I kind of like to have people pay attention to me when I'm stage talking at them. Oh well.

Last night, however, was something special. Probably more special than our North American premier, and more special than doing a show for Seeds Of Peace. Last night we did a show at the Ambassador Hotel in East Jerusalem. The significance of it was the location and the audience. Being in East Jerusalem, the neighborhood is all Palestinian. You can argue with me back and forth about whether or not they are Palestinian and what they consider themselves. I don't care. The point being, in January we did a show at the American Colony Hotel, also in East Jerusalem. The two hotels are fairly close together, but they couldn't be further apart.

The audience reflected this difference. I have to admit, I was a little worried about this show. I had no idea how many people would actually show up, so I was expecting maybe a dozen people. What made it worse, was NBC News was sending a film crew. They were going to witness this debacle.

It didn't turn out that way. The place was packed. I estimate around 130 people, but I'm bad at that stuff. There may have been more. There was a large Palestinian/Arab contingent, along with many Europeans (diplomats and regular people), and Israelis/Jews.

And they loved us. We all had great sets. I had a great time. Two minutes into my set I received my first roar of laughter and applause, and I thought to myself, This is going to be fun. It was.

A Palestinian came up to me after the show and said, "I gotta tell you. My father is Muslim and my mother is Christian, so I could relate to everything you were talking about. I'm so glad you guys are doing this." A European diplomat said to me, "To see Arabs and Jews in the same room laughing with each other was unbelievable."

So, I'll tell you what we did. For approximately 110 minutes, the four of us put the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on hold. We didn't solve anything. We didn't make anything better. We didn't contribute to the "Grand Scheme Of Things".

We're comedians, for chrissakes. We get people to laugh. And we get paid to do it. After all, I'm only a philanthropist up to a point. But I will tell you something. Last night at the Ambassador Hotel in East Jerusalem we proved that it can be done, and we were the first to do it. It's not a bad feeling, and I know Ray and Aaron and Yisrael know what I'm talking about. Then again, so do all the people that were there.

Approximately 110 minutes is not a bad start.

Submitted by Charley


Jeff Lutz said...

>>We didn't contribute to the "Grand Scheme Of Things".

I don't know Charley. Getting people together to laugh at themselves, even if they don't all get along can contribute to the "Grand Scheme of Things." It's just a small step. Maybe that's why it doesn't seem like it does much. Here's to you 4 helping to make peace, one step (laugh) at a time.

Carol, Maybe you could implement IPCT into your peace plan. ;-)

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