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Jewish Comedian & Best-Selling Author
Joel Chasnoff redefines the meaning of Jewish comedy. A stand-up comic and best-selling author, Chasnoff is the only comedian who’s also a veteran of the Israeli Army. His hilarious take on Jewish life is clean, hip, and wonderfully original; no wonder The Forward calls him the comedic voice of his generation. Read More >
A Chicago native, Chasnoff has performed at more than 1,000 fundraisers, universities, and festivals in nine countries. On the road, he was the warm-up act for Jon Stewart and Lewis Black of The Daily Show. He is also a frequent guest on NPR and has appeared on ABC, NBC, and Israeli late-night television.
In 2001, Simon and Schuster published The 188th Crybaby Brigade, Chasnoff’s comedic memoir about his tour of duty in the Israel Defense Forces, which the Los Angeles Jewish Journal called “laugh-out-loud funny” and Kirkus Reviews dubbed “horrifyingly hilarious.” Chasnoff has also contributed to The Big Book of Jewish Humor: 25th Anniversary Edition and The Idiot’s Guide to Jokes and is currently co-authoring The Balaboosta Way: A Mediterranean Cookbook with two-time Chopped! champion Chef Einat Admony.
In his hysterical keynote and stand-up presentations, Joel Chasnoff engages audiences with a personal yet universal tale about the quirks and challenges of being Jewish in America. His story begins in Jewish day school, where he was the starting center on the Solomon Schechter basketball team; continues with his stint as an IDF tank gunner in Lebanon; and concludes with the trials and joys of raising his four Jewish children. His uplifting take on Jewish life and commitment to Jewish continuity make him a natural and often-requested choice for Jewish organizations and groups with ties to Israel. Audiences come away with a once-in-a-lifetime appreciation for the unique relationship between Israelis and North American Jews, and what it means to be Jewish in today’s world. Read Less ^
A Taste of Joel's Stand-Up on Traveling
Life in the Israeli Army
Joel Chasnoff Performs Stand-Up on Jewish Day School Basketball
The Israeli Army and Jewish Identity
The Importance of Fundraising
Making Judaism Relevant
When he was 24, Joel Chasnoff volunteered for a combat unit of the Israel Defense Forces. He was voted Outstanding Soldier of the Company and co-led operations in Lebanon against Hezbollah. In this riveting—and often hilarious—presentation based on his best-selling memoir The 188th Crybaby Brigade, Chasnoff brings you face to face with daily life in a combat platoon of the IDF, from basic training to Tank School to covert operations in Lebanon; the induction process, including Israel’s legendary method for evaluating draftees and assigning them to military units; and Tohar Ha-neshek, or Purity of Arms—Israel’s code of ethics for moral behavior in battle.
Joel Chasnoff is often referred to as the Chris Rock of the Jews—and with good reason. His hip, sophisticated humor is a welcome change from the Borscht Belt comics of old. When Chasnoff takes the stage, audiences are guaranteed an hour of nonstop laughter based on real Jewish experiences, not stereotypes—everything from Chasnoff’s stint on his day school basketball team to the challenges of being a 24-year-old American in a platoon of Israeli teenagers.
We all know that Jews are funny. But why? Is it simply laughter through tears or is there more to these people’s renowned sense of humor? In this eye-opening and hysterical presentation, Joel Chasnoff explores the history and future of Jewish comedy, from the Garden of Eden to Curb Your Enthusiasm and everything in between. Topics include humor in the Bible (hint: God is funnier than you think); the link between the Talmud and Annie Hall; and the role of humor in the Holocaust, including examples of Jewish poetry, comedy, and song in concentration camps. Along the way, Chasnoff shares his favorite jokes and encourages his audiences to share theirs!
"I am impressed not only with the humor of Joel’s act, but also the source of his humor. One cannot help but recognize the value he places on the rich traditions of Judaism. It is very intelligent humor that brings audiences a deeper appreciation of what it means to be Jewish in a modern world."
"Joel has the amazing ability to make us laugh while inspiring us at the same time. His keen understanding of what university-age students find humorous together with the humor of those of us who are ‘seniors’ is extraordinary."
"It is so tiresome and sad to hear Jewish comedians who are disconnected from the Jewish soul; their humor reflects their own discomfort about being Jewish. Joel’s humor, meanwhile, is wonderfully informed by his knowledge of Jewish life and Judaism. When we laugh, we laugh at ourselves but we feel GOOD about it because we know that Joel feels good about it, too."
"I looked around the room and saw 200 people laughing out loud at themselves, their families, and the joys that come with being Jewish."
"You hit the mark in every respect and showed our teens that Judaism is hip and cool. You infused them with pride in their Jewish education and traditions."
"It’s wonderful to find a comedian who knows how to be funny without being inappropriate. Your strong background in and passion for Judaism really make you a great role model for students."
"As I sat in the audience with young children, teens, and a few alte-cockers around me, everyone was laughing! Joel is a fresh young face for the growing insurgence of today’s practicing Jews. Move over Borscht Belt comedians and welcome Joel Chasnoff."
"Joel’s great humor, easy-going nature, and love of Judaism and Israel all came shining through. And the tremendous amount of laughter and joy that filled our sanctuary helped create a special night that the community will not soon forget."
'As a people, we have always been able to laugh; you showed our teens that we could laugh at ourselves with pride and appreciation for who we are."
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