SCoJeC infused our February programme with the spirit of Purim this year by hosting an all-American comedy show with some of Chicago’s best known Jewish comedians, bringing virtual laughter into Jewish homes not only in Scotland but in Europe, Israel, and back in the United States.
Bringing our community together over laughter and simchah for the Purim holiday, comedians Jeremy Drazner, Katharine Herskovic, Jessica Besser-Rosenberg, and Joe Medoff, none of whom had visited Scotland before, rose to the challenge of utilising our digital technology to convey their live performance to communities they would never previously have been able to reach.
Their show celebrated Judaism and Jewish tradition across borders, with the audience shouting out their locations from Glasgow, to New York, to Belgium, and proved that despite our geographic differences we all like to laugh at the same Jewish oddities! Participants joined in with the comedians as they poked fun at Jewish life in contemporary America and their imagined take on Scotland. Many of their jokes clearly resonated with the audience, poling fun at Jewish dating apps, Jewish origins, the dangerous practice of lifting the bride and groom on chairs at weddings, those famous Jewish heritage trips to Israel, and the custom of giving gelt on Chanukah.
One of the major challenges for a virtual event such as this is what to do about the laughter! This was SCoJeC’s first virtual comedy performance, and we – and the performers – were keen to make it feel like a shared experience and not keep the virtual audience muted. The comedians agreed that it was better to have everyone unmuted – background noise be damned! – and to hear laughter with some interruptions, than to perform a comedy set with no feedback from the audience. The results varied but the performers very much appreciated being able to laugh together and support one another as they completed their set.