Simon Cadel is among the many standup comics who see themselves as outsiders.
“Comedians tend to be social misfits – a lot of us are really stressed out,” says Simon, who appears this week at the 22nd annual Kung Pao Kosher Comedy in Chinatown. The Jewish-comics-in-a-Chinese-restaurant-on-Christmas show also features headliner Jeremy Hotz, Ophira Eisenberg and host Lisa Geduldig.
Simon, a New Yorker from Westchester who turns 15 in February, adds, “I have the opposite of stage fright.” He has no problem telling jokes in front a large crowd (he has headlined at Carolines on Broadway in New York) but when he gets offstage, he can’t think of what to say.
So far, his age hasn’t been a big impediment in a field that caters to adults. He realizes that, being a kid, people have low expectations of him. But after seeing him, they say, “Oh my God, he’s actually good,” he says: “There’s that wow factor.”
His act ranges from what he calls “tame” material that appeals to an older crowd (for example, commentary on the pulp level of various types of orange juice) to edgier stuff, such as a vacation stop at a Civil War museum where the gift shop was selling confederate flags (“Aren’t those the bad guys?” he asks).
School, he says, takes up a lot of time, and keeps him from writing and practicing his comedy as much as he’d like. However, he admits: “It gives me tons of material.” He writes all of his own jokes and bits, which come from life experience or, he says, simply “screwy things I think about.”
Coached by Scott Blakeman (a mentor to Jon Stewart), Simon points to Steve Martin, Stephen Colbert, Sarah Silverman and Demetri Martin as comics he admires.
He began doing comedy a few years ago at an arts camp and followed up with a class. His big break came after comedian Jackie Mason’s daughter Sheba Mason saw him on YouTube and booked him at a showcase at New York Comedy Club.
Kung Pao shouldn’t be too much of a stretch for him; his resume includes performing at his grandparents’ Jewish Community Center.
With his “momager” Betsy Cadel driving his business activities, and Simon continuing on his current creative road, his continued success seems inevitable – at least when it comes to his career.
Admitting he’s a nerd of sorts, he says, “Are there girls who are into me because I do comedy _ NO! I have nothing else to offer. I really hope it works out!”
IF YOU GO
Kung Pao Kosher Comedy
Where: New Asia Restaurant, 772 Pacific Ave., S.F.
When: 5 (dinner show) and 8:30 p.m. (cocktail show) Dec. 24-Dec. 26
Tickets: $45 to $65
Contact: (925) 855-1986, www.koshercomedy.com