Rabbi/stand-up comic to perform at Rutland Jewish Center
By MARTHA MOLNAR
Special to the Herald | January 18,2013
Rabbi Bob Alper, a stand-up comedian, will perform Sunday at the Rutland Jewish Center. Tickets are $18 in advance, $22 at the door. For more information, call 773-3455.
There’s a reason why Sirius/XM Satellite radio plays East Dorset resident Rabbi Bob Alper’s comedy bits several times daily, often sandwiched between Bob Newhart and Bill Cosby: Alper’s unique background.
He’s an ordained rabbi who served congregations for 14 years and holds a doctorate from Princeton Theological Seminary, which prepared him well for a 26-year comedy career with unique material (including jokes about the Rutland airport), presented in a way that’s intelligent, sophisticated, and 100 percent clean.
Alper, who calls himself “the world’s only practicing clergyman doing stand-up comedy…intentionally,” will bring his wholesome brand of comedy to the Rutland Jewish Center on Sunday, Jan. 20 at 7 p.m. He said his 90-minute routine is meant to entertain the entire community. His brand of comedy has been called “Gentile friendly.”
Alper’s wit is dry, insightful and based on observations of life and everyday experiences.
“It’s really not worth it to make anyone sad. I’m blessed with a tremendous amount of material, so why do it? I won’t poke fun at people’s physicality or infirmities, but I will poke fun at people who do stupid things,” he says.
Alper began his comedy career in 1986 when he entered the “Jewish Comic of the Year Contest” at the Going Bananas club in Philadelphia. Today, he performs nearly 80 shows a year. Last month he performed at the world-famous Comedy Store in Los Angeles, following earlier appearances at Hollywood’s Improv and the Montreal Comedy Festival, on “Good Morning America, “The Today Show,” Showtime, the BBC, and CNN and earlier, on Muslimfest 2009 (this is not a joke).
About performing with a Muslim, he explains that “we do our own thing and then talk together, the message being we model our friendship not just from being on stage but as true friends,” Alper said of comic, Azhar Usman, a Muslim of Indian heritage. “We’re an odd couple; I’m 63, he’s 32. The only thing we have in common is both of us are exceptionally good-looking.”
The author of two books — “Life Doesn’t Get Any Better Than This” and “A Rabbi Confesses” — he has also produced two best-selling comedy CDs, and a 102-minute DVD, “What are you…a comedian?” He lives in East Dorset with his wife Sherri, a psychotherapist.
“I make people laugh, while she helps people cry,” he says.