American Comics Hold Benefit Tour in Israel
Four veterans of the American comedy scene took part in a benefit tour for the Crossroads organization. The 2007 tour included appearances in Jerusalem, Beit Shemesh, Raanana and Tel Aviv.
The founder of the tour is Avi Liberman, a Jewish comedian from Texas who serves as the opening act. Liberman just returned from a tour in Afghanistan, where he performed for the US and allied troops. He opened the Jerusalem show by recalling some of the "hairier" experiences of his time in the Muslim country, but said one main benefit of having spent time in the line of fire is it makes Israel look like one of the safest places on earth.
Next up was comic Mark Schiff, a regular opener for Jerry Seinfeld who recently published a book chronicling his years on the comedy circuit called “I Killed.” Schiff is an observant Jew from Los Angeles and was clearly pleased to be performing for Israeli audiences.
Also joining the Tour were comedy veterans Reggie McFadden and John Mulrooney, both appearing in Israel for the first time. Both agreed that they were overwhelmed by the positive responses they have been receiving from Israeli audiences. McFadden, a tall African-American said he's had to tell several disappointed young Israelis that he was not in Israel playing for any of the local basketball teams.
Mulrooney, who has appeared on The Tonight Show and hosted the hit show Comic Strip Live, reveled in interacting with his audiences, making those seated in the front rows healthy fodder for some good-intentioned ranking. Describing himself as a "goyim kopf" Mulrooney enjoyed mixing his Irish brogue with some side-splitting attempts at Hebrew and Yiddish.
The Crossroads Comedy Tour, now it its third year, benefits the Crossroads Center, located in downtown Jerusalem. The Center provides a wide network of educational, cultural, social and where relevant therapeutic services to hundreds of English-speaking teens facing a variety of problems, ranging from substance abuse to criminal involvement. Founded in 2001, it is the only such facility in Israel dedicated to offering social services exclusively for English-speakers and is funded almost exclusively by private donations.