culture/multiculturalism · funny · Hispanics/Latinos · Jews/Jewish/Judaism/Orthodox Judaism · Los Angeles · women/feminism

Stand-up Comedy Routine #1

As you may have read on previous posts and/or Twitter, I am taking a Stand-up Comedy class at Santa Monica College. (I’m also taking a Figure Drawing class and a Memoir Writing class.) My husband, being ever supportive as always, has already decided I’m the funniest person in my class even though he’s never been to the class to hear anyone else. 

After the last class, 6 classes in all, my classmates and I do our routines at a club and invite all our friends and family. But since most of my jokes are about friends and family, I don’t know if it would be such a good idea to invite them.

Honestly, I think I’m discovering that I’m much better at improv (thinking up funny stuff on my feet), than I am plotting out jokes to tell in advance. While the teacher and my classmates seem to agree that I am funny, it seems my style is to tell stories. I’m a storyteller who just happens to be funny, not a stand-up comedian who tells funny stories.

By the way, despite tummy trouble before class, I did not fart in this second class. 

Here is me playing around with a joke about “pants,” part of which I do in my “Memoirs of a Jewminicana” speech where I talk about my life and journey to converting to Judaism. 

Aliza on Pants

Jews are funny. That’s what people keep telling me. But I wasn’t born Jewish. I was born Dominican. So if we’re going by genes here, I’m probably really good at baseball and shimmying my hips. Not so funny.

Besides, I’m an Orthodox Jew. Nobody thinks Orthodox Jews are funny. Orthodox Jews are serious, seriously old-fashioned and seriously hate women. That’s what people tell me keep telling me. They tell me we hate women so much we won’t even let them wear pants. Think of all the evils women could do if you let them wear pants!



Secretary of State.

So this is what I tell people now: I’m an Orthodox Jew now so I don’t wear pants. Nobody has to know the truth. 

That my mother wore tight pants. That my grandmother wore tight pants. That my great-grandmother’s 97 and she’s still wearing tight pants. Generations after generations of women in my family have been doing that dance and shimmy to get their pants over their hips and then lying back on the bed to squeeze them closed over their guts.

No one has to know it wasn’t just about modesty. It was about never squeezing my big Dominican butt into another pair of tight jeans. 

The benefits of my new Torah lifestyle are endless.

18 thoughts on “Stand-up Comedy Routine #1

  1. I just wanted to leave a comment and let you know I love your blog. I've been Jewish all my life but my family wasn't practicing, and recently I realized I really wanted to rejoin – come back? something. Put some meaningful Jewish practice in my life.

    You know, it's pretty hard to find a synagogue when you don't know any Jewish people in LA (which is weird because there are so many) or much about the different types of congregations, when you're a total stranger to your own religion. I've wondered if people who converted (do you have to reconvert back to Judaism if you've never been a practicing Jew?) feel like this, like looking in from outside and trying to figure out how to get in. I've emailed a couple of synagogues and no one ever emails back. I feel weird just showing up. So, I'm still figuring it out and I haven't actually been to Temple yet. Being ridiculously shy and introverted when not on the internet doesn't help a lot. But I have some books. I've found your blog so helpful and funny while I do try to figure this all out.

    And I love what you said about pants. Oh my gosh. I was so happy when I decided to dress more modest and cover as my first sort of move towards returning – skirts have given me a whole new relationship with myself.

    Anyway, just know that at least one person out there is soaking up your writing and loving it.


  2. Oh my gosh, thank you! I sent the rabbi from my old temple (I have not gone in 30 years, I swear) an email last night asking if she knew anyone in LA or if she would be willing to email with me about where to go from here, but it's 600+ miles away so it's not like I can go back there. I'll email you right now, thank you!


  3. It's amazing how many people reading my blog don't have a sense of humor. They also don't think twice about whether the comments they put on my blog are a “chillul Hashem” so I find it interesting when they call my blog posts as such. Breathe, people.


  4. Steg, definition of a 'wiseass'-a smart aleck.

    If one of my students spoke to me with the kind of attitude Simon put into that one little line, I'd call them the same thing. I might even send them to the principal.

    I'm sure Simon can defend himself. And hopefully, he's found some other blogger to annoy. I kind of wish all my little angry blog readers would do the same.


  5. Aliza,

    I'm not going to comment on those who think Ortho females doing stand up comedy is a Chillul Hashem. They need to chillul out!

    I'm a comedienne. Seriously. And Jewish. So, I do a routine on being a convert, being married…well, my life as I see it. Most of the time I get laughs. Others, well…there's another night.

    Joan Weiner. Google the name and you'll see.

    (No, that isn't me)

    To those who think you can't be funny and be religious:
    The Talmud says that you should start off a lecture with a joke.

    There is also a story in the Talmud about a great sage who pointed to a “comedian” and said that he was assured a place in heaven because he made people laugh.

    This would be an unbearable world without laughter.


  6. I think Chaviva, the Kvetching Editor, wrote a great blog post about commenting on her blog. She does not respond to any Anonymous comments because they don't even have the dignity to attach their names.

    Still another blogger contacted me to let me know that she was constantly getting harassed by people on her blog. If people were doing it in person, she could have had them arrested but people do it behind the veil of the Internet and think that it's okay.

    Well, I'm not going to deal with it anymore. Now, every comment goes to moderation and hopefully, everyone thinks twice before they post something nasty about me, non-Orthodox Jews, Orthodox Jews or just in general.


  7. I am Anonymous from yesterday.

    I never said that making jokes was a Chillul HaShem. There are plenty of people who make jokes.

    I was referring to calling that commentator a “wise-ass,” even after he made a joke himself.

    So what if he thinks you;re not funny? Let it be.

    But, you shouldn't call him a “wise-ass” on a forum like this. You are stooping down to his level and making youself look bad by doing this. You should have just rejected his comment out of hand and deleted it.

    You took what I said completely wrong, even though there is a story of Rav Shach on jokers- A young man came to him to be tested for semicha. He made a joke that was a play on Yiddish words, and Rav Shach replied, “I don't give semicha to jokers!”

    I didn't condemn your newfound hobby, but I did say that insulting somebody on a blog is a Chillul HaShem. People hate us enough; the hate is strong between different Jewish factions, and we don't need fuel added to the fire.

    Ahavat Yisrael is a chiyuv, and part of this is the mitzvah of offering tochachah, rebuke, when it is needed. Instead of viewing things as attacks, consider that a kernel of truth may lay beneath the surface.


  8. What a tzadik you are, Anonymous. So sure of his tzidkus you don't even attach a name to what you're saying. So firm in it that you can continue to taunt someone's response on their own blog when someone else insulted their own person. Then you tell a story about Rav Shach having complete contempt for joking while then saying you condemn nothing. You've confused me there. You confused me when you said tochachah was a chiyuv when most rabbanim nowadays say the chiyuv is to shut your mouth.And after invoking tochachah and the scorn of rav shach you tell her not to view things as an attack, but to take a kernel of truth from it? But it is an attack, and feigning dismay at it being treated like it is a further insult.

    Here's a bit of tochachah–your own ruchnius comes first. Caring that much about someone you've never met seems suspicious to me.



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