Friday, September 16, 2005

Israeli Humor (Or Lack Thereof)

Yesterday was the first "real" day here at the United Nations. By 6pm, we had nothing else to do, and I was facing a very long night spent with the little American puppies. I've found that the Europeans and South Americans, even the 18 yr olds, are much more mature than their American counterparts. So neither the idea of going into Ashdod with the children or staying in the Love Shack was particularly appealing. Luckily, my phone rang. Last week, at Sam's Tel Aviv birthday party, I met his friend Isaac, who teaches at the Technion. Isaac was in Tel Aviv with some friends, and was planning on going to a comedy club, and invited me along. After dinner, I hopped on the (very cheap!) bus to Tel Aviv, and arrived at the tachana hamerkazit 40 minutes later. Isaac picked me up, and we began the adventure of navigating our way through Tel Aviv by car.

Tel Aviv may be the most poorly designed city that I have ever been in. Now, I am very much accustomed to one way streets, but in Tel Aviv, you'll have three streets in a row where you can't turn right. Then, when you finally turn, you're on a street that soon curves in the opposite direction from the one you want, and in three minutes you're in a totally different neighborhood with no idea how to go back to where you started. We finally got to the club, but the show was canceled. So we hopped back in the car and went to the other comedy club. The show started at 10:45, and featured six stand-up comics that each had about 15 minutes. After a brief intermission, we went back in for another six comics. The show ended around 2:30. I understood about 25% of what was said. Since I was also very tired, I came very close to falling asleep a few times. Only the fear that the comic would see me and make fun of me in front of everyone kept me from taking a nap.

Israeli stand-up is not quite my kind of thing. Even without the language barrier, most of the comics were very vulgar. Ten of the twelve made jokes at some point that involved farting or taking a shit. There was one woman comic who was so unbelievably crude that I was a bit embarassed that she was Jewish. Everything was either a swear word or a reference to genitalia and procreation. A few of them were actually very funny. What I found most amusing, though, was how Jewish the jokes were. You don't have stand-up comics talking about streimels and sufganiot in the States.

Isaac drove me all that way back to the kibbutz afterwards, dropping me off around 3:30am. I'm running on four hours of sleep and two cups of coffee, so it's time for a pre-shabbos shluff.

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