Kung Pao Kosher Comedy combining our two favorite Christmas pastimes

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Dan Buffa, Special For The Jewish Light

Every Christmas one thing is for certain: everything is closed except for Chinese food and entertainment. Folks who celebrate the holiday come together for festive dinners, but the Jewish community is left out in the cold. That’s when San Francisco comedian Lisa Geduldig had an idea: Enter the Kung Pao Kosher Comedy event.

Kung Pao Kosher Comedy

Every Christmas, Jewish comedy served up with a heaping portion of Chinese food has become a Bay Area tradition, thanks to Geduldig. Even the pandemic can’t slow it down. This year, the 29th Annual Kung Pao Kosher Comedy will be broadcast on Zoom and other virtual outlets so Jews can view and laugh along from anywhere in the world. The show has been operating in San Francisco’s Chinatown since 1993, but has adjusted its exposure after the last couple years.

Kung Pao

Last December, the show was live streamed on Zoom and YouTube to over 2,000 people, from all over the country and even internationally. The final day of the show on Dec. 26 is in the afternoon so European audiences can participate.

For folks in the Bay Area, Lazy Susan Chinese offers special menu items and prices for participants as well as cookies with Yiddish proverbs.

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Last year’s virtual show drew high regards from The New York Times, The Forward and Jewish newspapers in St. Louis, Tampa Bay and other cities. One of the longest-running comedy shows, the Times described the 2020 shows as “feeding the soul as well as the stomach.”

Comedians participating in this year’s event are Ophira Eisenberg, Jessica Kirson, Geduldig and her 90-year-old mother, Arline. The tickets are $25-50, but you can pay what you want. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Shalom Bayit: Ending Domestic Violence in Jewish homes. Zoom breakout rooms are available for guests to chat with friends and family before the comedians take the virtual stage.

Geduldig started this thing 28 years ago after booking a gig at the Peking Garden Club in Massachusetts. When she arrived at the place, she realized it wasn’t a comedy venue but a Chinese restaurant. Shortly after, she came up with the Kung Pao Kosher Comedy show, noting the irony of a Jewish comic telling jokes in a Chinese establishment.  Something for Jewish people to do on Christmas that includes tasty food, laughter, and most importantly, a chance to watch something together.

So this weekend, if the options are remote, click a few links, donate to a good cause and enjoy something with a few thousand people. If the pandemic isn’t going to quit anytime soon, comedy can’t afford to slow down either.

More info on the show can be found here, and tickets can be purchased here.