Standing Up in Tel Aviv

mulvey-sitting[quote_box_right]*For more delightful circumcision jokes you’ll have to come see me perform in Cincinnati or Columbus.[/quote_box_right]by Ricky Mulvey

It’s really hard to do stand-up in Tel Aviv if you are telling English jokes. Your options are pretty much to either tell your circumcision jokes to your friends or put them in a blog.

I finally found one place though. A beach bar called Mike’s Place  has an open mic every Monday. I’ve been here a month and have not performed in that time. I was ready to go like a dog on a pork chop, (or a Ricky on a desperately missed pork chop in this Kosher land).

The mic was advertised as one for all talents including comedy, but there ended up being a bunch of fantastic musicians and me telling jokes.

open-mikeWhen I arrived for sign-ups I asked the guy if anyone else did stand-up. He said no one had in months. A few people tried and never came back. I realized that I maybe should have scoped the place out a bit before going.

For instance I called the bar about the open mic and asked if I could perform in English– I did not know that the theme of Mike’s Place — is America.

The host basically told me “Yeah I guess you can do jokes. Yeah, we advertise that we let people do comedy. There’s mainly Russians and Israelis here and they will want to talk during your set, but it’ll be great. The wait staff will probably pay attention to your jokes.”

Ah, the opening, welcoming arms of the Tel Aviv stand up community.

But I went up  and talked about things I am extremely comfortable with, like how I went to a surprise circumcision party a while back (because that’s what Jews do) and how I realized it was a surprise for me because I did not know I was going, but also for the baby because he had NO idea what that knife meant. Then how I got a text that I needed to leave early so I told the rabbi to cut faster, but it was okay he told me. He only needed to take a little off the top.*

It’s been recommended I put more pictures in my blog, but I don’t think there is much I should include for this topic.

Naturally I was terrified when I went up to do stand-up in this room that makes photos tough. As you can see these nice Russian men to my right wanted nothing to do with my jokes

Overall the crowd was loud and not paying attention, but the people that listened were great for the most part. I was excited to see if there was a big difference in how my jokes hit here versus America, but it was pretty much the same  for me.

After, one woman told me she enjoyed it and that made me happy.

Then one 65-year-old Israeli leaned over to me as I sat back down. He was with a woman about 30 years his junior in a tight black dress.

“Are we done with the talking.” He said. He wasn’t really asking a question. “I come to see music not to listen to this talking.”

I did not know what to say so I went with “Uhhhh, it’s a nice bar.”

As I was about to leave he stepped out of his booth, grabbed the woman by the wrist, pulled her out of the booth, slid in behind her and sat, and directed her on his lap. She did not fight it but was not enthusiastic about it by any means. Her face remained impassive.

If my jokes don’t hit with a human piece of garbage like that, I guess I am okay with it.


*For more delightful circumcision jokes you’ll have to come see me perform in Cincinnati or Columbus. Don’t worry. I have lot’s more. Circumcision jokes related to my junior prom? I got em. Circumcision jokes related to modern bars? I got ’em. You name the situation you want to see a circumcision joke and I will tell it or I guarantee your money back.


Former Loveland Magazine Sports Editor, Ricky Mulvey is in Tel Aviv for two months working for the newswire, NewsHound, and has allowed us to post his blog reports. He will also be sharing with Loveland Magazine his work at NewsHound. This is Mulvey’s second trip to Israel, his first was two years ago while still in high school.

You can subscribe, and receive Mulvey’s personal dispatches when he publishes, them at Middle of East.

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