Southern California comedian Carol Leifer couldn’t more thrilled about returning to San Francisco’s Kung Pao Kosher Comedy, for the third time, after nearly two decades.
“I’m happy and grateful to still be doing comedy, I couldn’t love it more,” says the writer-performer, mentioning that she’s got 41 years and two gold watches’ worth of retirement under her belt.
Leifer, a writer for “Seinfeld,” “Saturday Night Live” and eight Academy Award telecasts (including the 2018 Oscars, for which she’s received a Writers Guild Award nomination), headlines next week at New Asia in Chinatown, marking the 26th annual gathering of Jews enjoying standup comedy in a Chinese restaurant on Christmas. (Also on the bill: Joseph Nguyen, Jordon Ferber and host-founder Lisa Geduldig.)
“I have a lot of new Jewish material; it’ll be fun because I haven’t been there in so long,” says Leifer, whose last Kung Pao gigs were in 1994, the second year, and 1999.
She adds, “Since the horrible wave of anti-Semitism, I’m even more devoted and committed to celebrating our Jewishness.”
Leifer, who wrote the “Seinfeld” episode in which Jerry steals a marble rye from an old lady, takes being Jewish seriously.
But she didn’t become a bat mitzvah until she was 48, in 2004, at the same time as her partner Lori Wolf (whom she married in 2015 after 19 years together) in “kind of a family affair that turned out to be wonderful.”
“We both felt like we missed out, so better late than never,” says Leifer, “I had started to feel out of the loop, kind of like when people have security signs in front of their houses, but no alarm system.”
Their son Bruno is also on board. Leifer and Wolf were wowed when his first choice for middle school was a Jewish school: “I guess we’re doing something right,” she says, adding, “My dad was not alive when we adopted him; if he could see us, getting ready for shul, my son wearing the tallit he wore at his bar mitzvah in 1930….“
Discipline seems to be big factor in Leifer’s life. Like her friends and cohorts Jerry Seinfeld and Howard Stern, she meditates routinely — I’m ‘supercharged’ because of it” — and is a proponent of Weight Watchers.
She began the program in 2012 because she found it hard to keep her weight down as she was getting older, and she wanted to be on better terms with her “great” clothes: “I didn’t like the dialogue that went on with them, like, ‘Does my tush look too big in these pants?’”
Now a lifetime member who finds it easy to eat healthy, she sincerely enjoys going to get weighed at monthly meetings, where the leaders are supportive — and entertaining.
“It’s like a show every time!” Leifer says.
IF YOU GO
Kung Pao Kosher Comedy
With Carol Leifer, Joseph Nguyen, Jordon Ferber and Lisa Geduldig
Where: New Asia Restaurant, 772 Pacific Ave., S.F.
When: 5 (dinner show, sold out) and 8:30 p.m. (cocktail show) Dec. 23-25
Tickets: $52 to $72