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Jerusalem Post: Seriously funny

By BENJAMIN SPIER

Ari Teman joins the growing list of American comedians looking for a laugh in Israel.

Over the past few years, Israel has seen a surge of American comedians performing on its stages. The Comedy for Koby Tour continues to bring comedians recognizable from TV and films; and New York veteran Jim Gaffigan recently performed for a few small crowds while vacationing in Israel. Continuing the trend, Jewish American comedian Ari Teman will appear in Tel Aviv with a few local performers for a one-night show.

In a Jerusalem Post interview, Teman explained that while there is a lot of demand from comedians who want to go on the comedy tour, there are also many comedians who don’t want anything to do with Israel. “There are comedians in front of hundreds of people, or thousands if they are on TV; they will tell jokes (about Israel), never having been here,” said Teman.

The comedian regularly performs in comedy clubs around New York City as well as on the road. He appeared in a VH1 commercial and once performed at the White House for US President Barack Obama. “I know they are calling Obama a Nazi, which I think is fantastic, because if you thought US President is a tough job for a black guy to get, a Nazi? We have overcome.” Teman said the president laughed after hearing the joke and gave him a hug.

This is Teman’s second time performing in Israel. This trip he will be leading a comedy show called ‘American Comedy in Israel’. Last year he did a single show at Jerusalem’s Off The Wall comedy club while on vacation. He expects to do a few topical jokes about current events in Israel and said that he received positive reactions in the past when making jokes about Israeli topics like the disengagement from Gaza. “On the one hand I’m a big supporter of the people from Gush Katif, and on the other hand my family owns a bulldozer company,” Teman said to a crowd at a New York fundraising event.

Teman also discusses his dating life on stage. “I think Ikea is a good place to pick up a girl who’s not looking for something permanent,” he jokes.

Besides his career as a comedian, young Jerusalemites might recognize Teman as the founder of the social volunteering network JCorps. JCorps organizes events where Jewish young adults can volunteer for a local cause while meeting new people.

In addition to Teman, local comedians Benji Lovitt and Yossi Tarablus will also be performing at Teman’s show. Benji Lovitt is a well known comedian among the Anglo communities of Israel, and native Hebrew speaker Yossi Tarablus is doing a unique performance in English.