It’s Back! Old Columbus Jews Telling Jokes – January 17

Posted By: WebManager on Jan 02, 2015 in Blog

Here’s an old Columbus Jew telling a couple jokes… funny and appropriate for all ages, courtesy of our own Fred Luper: http://youtu.be/uH2VHrUddrg

 Last year’s smash hit “Old Columbus Jews Telling Jokes” is back for another night of big laughs all in memory of our own “Smiling Sam” Gordon. The one-night only event will take place at the College Ave. JCC on Saturday, January 17, 2015. New this year is a cocktail hour beginning at 7 pm, which includes two free drinks with every ticket. Plus, a dessert reception follows the show. Also new are this year’s hosts, Billie Friedman and Neal Shapiro.

At 8 pm, Friedman will get the comedy started with a hilarious opening set, while Emcee Neal Shapiro will line up participants. The karaoke-style joke-off is in remembrance of the life and comedy of the late Sam Gordon, a jokester well-remembered by Billie Friedman, who had been friends with Gordon since the two met in 1966. Gordon’s daughter, Jody Scheiman is thrilled that someone so close to her father will be honoring his memory by taking on the hosting duties. “Bill was a dear friend of my dad’s. For many years they had breakfast together as part of their breakfast club at the Clarmont. They shared jokes and were always playing jokes on one another. And dad would be thrilled to know that he is hosting and working really hard on this event,” said Scheiman.

Friedman said he, too, feels honored to be hosting an event celebrating his beloved friend. “His sense of humor always struck me: that’s a gene, you know— you either have it or you don’t. I don’t think you can teach somebody to be funny. And Sam was funny; we appreciated each other’s sense of humor,” Friedman said of Gordon.

Like Scheiman, Friedman also had fond memories of their almost daily breakfasts at the Clarmont. “30 years ago, everybody who was downtown working ate at the Clarmont for breakfast. Tables full of lawyers, judges, businessmen—and Sam was right in the middle of everybody,” Friedman remembered one of the few times his friend was able to pull one over on him.

Once, while Gordon was entertaining a fellow group of professionals, he invited Friedman to their table. Friedman recalled Gordon’s request that he tell a stale joke: “I said, ‘Sam, I’m not going to tell them that one—that’s the oldest joke in the world!’ And he said, ‘They’ll stop you if they’ve heard it.’ So I launched into this joke and got a sentence or two in, and every guy at the table held up a sign they had ready that said ‘STOP.’ He set me up, waiting for me!”

Friedman never was able to return Gordon the favor. “He’d seen it all, everything but the death of vaudeville, so he was ready; I never could pull one over on him. The thing is with Sam and me we could see the prank coming, so there wasn’t much point. We each knew as many punch lines as the other one. But I did not see that ‘STOP’ coming and I should have; that was a good prank,” said the lawyer and amateur comedian who has performed after-dinner theater and as a stand-up comic, hosted his own TV show, and even won second place at the Funny Bone Comedy Club’s amateur night.

Audiences will be in store for surprises and more at the January 17 Old Columbus Jews Telling Jokes night. Neal Shapiro looks forward to seeing the audience’s reaction as he returns to the microphone. The sports announcer and radio DJ, who was known as “Neal Martin” on-air, speculated as to why he was chosen to Emcee the event. After successfully telling a few jokes at last year’s event, he said, “They liked me so much they wanted me to be part of hosting it this year. I told some pretty good ones; I had people’s eyeballs popping out of their heads, but they loved it,” he said.

Whether you’ve experienced the delight of the open mic comedy forum or are new to the concept, you’ll want to make sure not to miss the second annual “Sam Gordon Old Columbus Jews Telling Jokes” comedy night. For a night of bawdy good fun with seasoned comics, fresh faces, and everyone in between, the entire community is invited to the Jewish Community Center at 1125 College Avenue in Columbus. Beginning at 7 pm, January 17, a cash bar and refreshments will be served as the community shares jokes in memory of Sam Gordon.

One of the few times Friedman’s jokes failed him was while speaking after a dinner held by a cement and brick layers’ union. “I strode up to the mic and said ‘Okay you guys, where is Jimmy Hoffa?’ And nothing. There was not a reaction in the room. That was an experience I won’t forget,” and he hopes won’t soon repeat.

“You don’t get any laughs when you practice law, either,” said Friedman, who has practiced law for 40 years. He admitted that for him, there’s nothing greater than making an audience laugh. “That is the absolute best thing that can happen. Doing comedy is like being at the top of a Ferris wheel and having somebody shake the car. There’s just nothing safe about it. You’re out there. It’s just you and the microphone. I love it,” explained Friedman of his love of comedy. “It was a stress reliever. Since I was a kid, I’ve always been able to knock off tension with jokes… with seeing the funny side of things. Because there’s nothing so serious that doesn’t have a funny side. You’re going down a path and you expect it to go one way, and all the sudden it turns the other way. Surprise is the essence of humor.”

Audiences will be in store for surprises and more at the January 17 Old Columbus Jews Telling Jokes night. Neal Shapiro looks forward to seeing the audience’s reaction as he returns to the microphone. The sports announcer and radio DJ, who was known as “Neal Martin” on-air, speculated as to why he was chosen to Emcee the event. After successfully telling a few jokes at last year’s event, he said, “They liked me so much they wanted me to be part of hosting it this year. I told some pretty good ones; I had people’s eyeballs popping out of their heads, but they loved it,” he said.

Whether you’ve experienced the delight of the open mic comedy forum or are new to the concept, you’ll want to make sure not to miss the second annual “Sam Gordon Old Columbus Jews Telling Jokes” comedy night. For a night of bawdy good fun with seasoned comics, fresh faces, and everyone in between, the entire community is invited to the Jewish Community Center at 1125 College Avenue in Columbus. Beginning at 7 pm, January 17, a cash bar and refreshments will be served as the community shares jokes in memory of Sam Gordon.

Tickets are $40 per person or $35 each for groups of ten or more, which includes dessert and two drink tickets to the cash bar. Last year’s event sold out, and this year tickets are already going fast. Don’t wait, purchase yours today! For tickets or more information, call 614-231-2731 or visit www.jccgalleryplayers.org.

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About the JCC

The JCC is a place that nurtures a passion for Jewish learning and living. Through its programs and services, the JCC provides an inviting Jewish Neighborhood and comfortable place to thrive. Hours: M-Th 5:30 am - 10 pm; Fri 5:30 am - 6 pm; Sat 1:30 - 6 pm; Sun 7 am - 7 pm

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