Christmas in California at our house means comedy, Jewish comedy, in the form of Kung Pao Kosher Comedy. This mix of Jews, comedy, Chinese food and Christmas has been going strong in San Francisco for 22 years. It draws Jews and non-Jews from all over Northern California, from Sacramento to San Jose. It's a relief to escape all the Christmas crap and laugh your ass off. This year featured 14 year old Simon Cadel who calls himself a "Jatheist" (Jewish atheist) and made great jokes about the cult of Apple product afficianados; Ophira Eisenberg from NPR and The Moth storytelling program; and razor-sharp Jeremy Hotz who has a sad sack face and is known as "The Master of Misery". Host Lisa Geduldig eschewed her traditional tux in favor of an outfit to celebrate the thawing of US/Cuban relations.
We had the good fortune to be seated at a table with a Pulitzer Prize winning investigative journalist and his family, which made for interesting dinner conversation.
As I was walking around Chinatown and looking at vegetables and chicken parts I don't usually eat,
I started thinking about comedy in Paris. Despite the presence of comedy clubs, standup doesn't seem to have the same presence in Paris as it does in urban USA. Parisians are as cynical as New Yorkers and complain as much, so you would think standup comedy would be as popular as Brooklyn burgers are right now. Pariscope doesn't have a separate section for comedy; the clubs are listed under théâtres. Or is it just an American perspective, because our French language skills are often inadequate to keep up with the fast pace of comedy?