Try to contain your laughter, but my 2024 New Year’s resolution was to take a more positive focus with this blog. Yeah, I know I’ve missed the mark by a country mile, but my news feeds are rife with stories about GM, Ford, Boeing and the media that invariably trigger me, derailing the list of humorous pieces I planned on writing. The danger with humor is that I never know how it will land, but its spares me from critical emails encouraging me to stop writing about GM’s Mary Barra, Ford’s Jim Farley, and trashing the New York Times and other media.

This likely will come as a surprise, but when I lived in New York City I performed as a stand-up comic. No doubt even more surprising is that I received some accolades I’ve longed cherished. A Village Voice reporter once saw me perform during a comedy class and dubbed me, “A Canadian Woody Allen.” Darrell Hammond, of Saturday Night Live fame, saw me perform and went out of his way to compliment me on the originality of my act. I also won a comedy contest for the best act.

My routine about growing up in Canada and learning to date New York City women never failed to bring down the house. My routine about how Detroit, at the time the murder capital of America, should have played up its crime with measures like banning women and children on the city’s freeways at night, also was a surefire audience winner.

Alas, I never had the fire in my belly required to go the distance as a comic. I’m not certain if this is still the case, but when I lived in New York City there were two primary ways to get stage time. One was to do “bringer” shows, where if you brought ten friends and family members to a comedy show, the club would give you seven minutes of stage time. The other was to do so-called “open mics” in usually dive bars where the only requirement was to buy at least one drink.

One of the more infamous open mics was held Wednesday nights at The Kon-Tiki Room, which I recall was on 34th Street in east midtown and doesn’t appear to exist anymore. The quality of comedy at open mics was typically pretty dismal, but the Kon-Tiki seemed to attract the worst of the worst. Indeed, it was sitting in the Kon-Tiki waiting my turn that I decided not to continue pursuing a comedy career. The comics that night were particularly abysmal, but one who was bombing royally had a gem that still makes me laugh.

The comic, who was Jewish and spoke with a distinct New York City accent, recounted how he had recently performed in the rural south before a crowd of rednecks who weren’t laughing at his jokes. Seeking to bond with his audience, he raised his hand and shouted, “Heil Hitler.”

“Wrong hand, you moron,” an audience member shouted.

Over the years, I haven’t found most comedians to be very funny. There’s a meanness to many of them, and they delight in ridiculing audience members. The best comedians make fun of themselves, with Larry David being a modern example.

In recent weeks, I’ve seen some brilliant and wickedly funny comedic videos, which I admired for their insights as well their humor. I thought I’d share them.

Comedy Central’s Kamala Harris Take Down

The folks at SNL should hang their heads in shame for their lame and tiresome mocking of Donald Trump, who is a parody on to himself. It takes no courage to lampoon Trump because the mainstream media will nod with their collective gleeful approvals.

Going after Kamala Harris takes guts, particularly with Joe Biden faltering in the polls and Harris having low approval ratings to begin with. Some folks at Comedy Central are apparently non-partisan and put together a merciless take down of America’s vice president

Kudos to those responsible for this video, and a special shout out to the woman who plays Dahlia Rose Hibiscus. LHOL.

If Joe Biden hopes to get reelected with Harris as his running mate, he’d better hope this video doesn’t go viral.

Erez Nehederet Pro-Palestine Protesters

The satirical show Erez Nehederet (A Wonderful Country) is often likened to America’s Saturday Night Live, but that’s an insult to the writers and performers at Erez Nehederet, whose talent and humor runs circles around SNL.

To prove my point, here’s a link to what SNL came up with in wake of the campus protests taking place at what were once believed to be the best universities in America. I’ve often wondered what happened to some of the comedians I saw perform at the Kon-Tiki Room, and I can’t help but wonder if some found their way to SNL.

Here’s Erez Nehederet’s take on America’s campus protests. For some background, the women featured making demands is based on a Columbia student who demanded “humanitarian aid” after some protesters occupied a university building.

The Hypocrisy of Hollywood

I was unfamiliar with the American actor Michael Rapaport until recently when I began seeing videos of his unrelenting support for Israel in wake of Oct. 7. Not all Jewish entertainers have the courage to stand with Israel during its time of need, but Rapaport isn’t afraid of the very real possible consequences of getting canceled.

A while ago, Rapaport visited Israel and teamed up with Erez Nehederet and starred in this take down of Hollywood and the Oscars. Even Jew haters might enjoy his calling out of Hollywood’s hypocrisy.

Jewish Hollywood A-listers who refuse to support Israel might want to visit the Academy Museum’s exhibition Hollywoodland: Jewish Founders and the Making of a Movie Capital for an education on some courageous Jews and the circumstances that led them to create America’s motion picture industry. It’s a fascinating and long overdue exhibit.

Jaywalking — The College Campus Edition

When Jay Leno hosted the Tonight Show he often had a feature called Jaywalking, where he’d stop people at random in Los Angeles and ask them seemingly simple questions about history, geography and other topics that stumped his subjects. Viewers were often shocked by the responses.

A YouTube channel called The Jewish Nation produced its version of Jaywalking, interviewing portesting college students about their knowledge of Gaza. The admitted ignorance of these students is mind boggling.

Michigan’s Marie Adele Grosso

On a not-so-funny note, I came across the podcast featured below with Marie Adele Grosso, a Barnard College student who was among the hundreds arrested during NYPD’s raid at Columbia University. Grosso, who is from Michigan’s Lansing region, was featured this New York Times story as well as in one of my recent posts.

Here’s an opportunity to see and listen to Grosso’s insights for yourself. Let’s just say that Grosso does Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib proud.

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