Catskills humorremains classic

Comedians in Saturday night’s performance of “Catskills on Broadway” in San Francisco were faced with the half-filled Kanbar Hall at the Jewish Community Center on opening weekend.

They didn’t seem too concerned. Host/co-headliner Freddie Roman told the “crowd”: “If I don’t do good, who’s gonna know?”

But when he said the show has been a hit in New York and on tour — “everywhere until here” — it wasn’t too hard to believe him. The amiable 90-minute show pretty much delivers the promise of its title, serving up the familiar Jewish humor reminiscent of the Borscht Belt, although with some updated themes. For example, each comic on the bill had his share of Viagra jokes.

The 70-year-old Roman, who created the show, is joined by Dick Capri (Italian, not Jewish) and deep-voiced Mal Z. Lawrence, who has appeared in movies and in musical theater. Pianist Billy Philadelphia provides nice, if minimal, musical accompaniment.

The fellas’ material is not unlike that of Steve Solomon, who also opened in San Francisco last week with his one-man show “My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish & I’m in Therapy!” At least one of the old-people jokes (“I’m the only one here with original hips”) appeared in both shows.

None of the material will win any awards for innovation, but it’s often funny.

Roman spends time riffing on seniors in Florida (“The state bird is the early bird”), while Capri jabs at both Jews and his own Italian heritage: “Waiter to the Jewish woman: Is anything all right?” and, “Italian Alzheimer’s is where you forget everything except the grudge.”

Lawrence’s best stuff centers on visits to the actual Catskills resorts and their counterparts, particularly the focus on eating there. He talks about women stealing the mini Danish pastries “for later,” but having a little trouble because their purses already are filled with rolls. Hesays he’s not worried about robbers stealing anything from his house while he’s on vacation, because his wife packed everything and brought it with them on the trip.

Closing out the gig, Roman asked the audience to tell their friends about the show, and left them with this appropriately Jewish farewell: “May all your pain come from laughter.”

lkatz@examiner.com

Catskills on Broadway

Where: Jewish Community Center, 3200 California St., San Francisco

When: 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday; 3 and 8 p.m. Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday

Tickets: $40-$55

Contact: (415) 292-1233 or www.jccsf.org

artsentertainmentOther Arts

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

School board members Gabriela Lopez (left) and Alison Collins (right) say they have been the subject of frequent hateful, racist and sexist attacks during their time on the school board. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F Examiner)
Angered by Lowell decision, SFUSD grad targets school board members with violent imagery

Facebook page depicts two women of color on board with swastikas and x-marks on their faces

Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer, a former school board member, said it was ‘ridiculous’ that the school district did not yet have a plan to reopen. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Supervisors demand SFUSD set a timeline for reopening

Pressure grows on district to resume in-person learning as The City’s COVID-19 case count goes down

“Tenet,” the new Christopher Nolan film starring John David Washington, is showing at the drive-in in Concord. (Courtesy Warner Bros.)
Drive-ins are popping up all over the Bay Area

There are pandemic-era options for movie lovers who want to watch outdoors

The San Francisco International Arts Festival will present performances this weekend outdoors at Fort Mason, including on the Parade Ground, Eucalyptus Grove and Black Point Battery. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SF International Arts Festival wins health department approval for weekend performances

Rules allow no more than 50 people at outdoor Fort Mason performances

In this handout image provided by the California Department of Corrections, convicted murderer Scott Peterson poses for a mug shot March 17, 2005 in San Quentin, California. Judge Alfred A. Delucchi sentenced Peterson to death March 16 for murdering his wife, Laci Peterson, and their unborn child. (California Department of Corrections via Getty Images/TNS)
Prosecutors to retry penalty phase of Scott Peterson trial

2003 discovery of Laci Peterson’s body led to sensational high-profile murder trial of husband

Most Read