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Joel  Chasnoff

Joel Chasnoff

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 ^

Speaker Videos

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

Speech Topics

Purity of Arms: An American in the Israeli Army

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 ArmsIsrael’s code of ethics for moral behavior in battle.

Comedy Tonight: Stand-Up Comedy with Joel Chasnoff

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.

Laughing Through History: 30 Jokes in 60 Minutes

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!