Jackie Hoffman Headlines The 27th Annual KUNG PAO KOSHER COMEDY
San Francisco's annual Jewish Christmas tradition, Kung Pao Kosher Comedy is now in its 27th year! This year's shows take place on December 24-26. The legendary Jewish-comedy-on-Christmas-in-a-Chinese-restaurant extravaganza has been featuring famous Jewish comedians (including the late Henny Youngman and Shelley Berman), Chinese food, and Yiddish proverbs in its fortune cookies ("With one tuchus, you can't dance at 2 weddings") since 1993. Kung Pao is one of San Francisco's longest-running comedy shows, catering to over 2000 people annually: some have attended every year.
Kung Pao takes place over the course of 3 nights during Christmas (December 24-26) with 2 shows a day: a 5pm Dinner Show (6-course banquet) and an 8:30pm Cocktail Show (vegetarian dim sum) -for a total of six shows. In the spirit of the retirement communities in Florida, all shows are now Early Birds, starting an hour earlier than they used to, because the producer is getting old: she started producing the show at age 31 and is now over 55 (and can move into a retire community).
Kung Pao, which was created in 1993, is the brainchild of San Francisco-based Jewish comedian, Lisa Geduldig, and solves the age-old question, "What are Jews supposed to do on Christmas?" That October, Geduldig was booked to perform at The Peking Garden Club in South Hadley, Massachusetts at what she imagined would be a comedy club, but upon her arrival she discovered it was a Chinese restaurant. A phone conversation the following day with an old friend from Jewish summer camp about the irony of telling Jewish jokes at a Chinese restaurant led to the idea of Jewish comedy on Christmas in a Chinese restaurant, and a brainstorming session of Jewish, comedy, and Chinese food-related words led to the name, "Kung Pao Kosher Comedy." The creation of "Kung Pao" is a twist on the unwritten law that Jews must go to a Chinese restaurant and a movie on Christmas. Study: "Safe Treyf: New York Jews and Chinese Food" (Treyf means unkosher in Yiddish.) Geduldig appeared in a Canadian documentary, I'm Dreaming of a Jewish Christmas, which aired on Canadian and European TV last December.
Jackie Hoffman, most known for her Emmy-nominated and much-acclaimed role of "Mamacita" in FX's Feud: Betty and Joan (acting alongside Jessica Lange and Susan Sarandon), can currently be seen as "Yenta the Matchmaker" in the critically acclaimed Yiddish production of Fiddler on the Roof Off Broadway. She can also be seen in Ryan Murphy's upcoming Netflix series The Politician, TruTV's At Home with Amy Sedaris, and in Laura Kosann's upcoming film The Social Ones. A staple on television, Jackie's numerous credits include The Other Two, Difficult People, Gilmore Girls, I Shudder, Girls, Six by Sondheim, The New Normal, The Good Wife, Inside Amy Schumer, Raising Hope, Melissa and Joey, On We Go, 30 Rock, Starved, Hope and Faith, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Strangers with Candy, TV Funhouse, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Soulman, and Cosby. A distinguished voice actress, she has also appeared in the cartoons High School USA, Family Guy, Dilbert, PB & J Otter, and the film Robots. In film, Jackie has appeared in memorable roles in Birdman, Kissing Jessica Stein, Decay, The Sitter, The Extra Man, How to Seduce Difficult Women, A Dirty Shame, Garden State, Legally Blonde II and Mo' Money. On Broadway, Jackie has co-starred as the comical Mrs. Teavee in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, On The Town, The Addams Family, Xanadu, and Hairspray (for which she won a Theatre World Award). Off-Broadway, Jackie starred as "Princess Winifred" in the Transport Group's Once Upon A Mattress and received a Drama League Award Nomination for her performance. Her additional theater credits include A Chanukah Charol, The Gingerbread House, Straightjacket, Incident at Cobbler's Knob, and One Woman Shoe. Jackie has performed in regional theater, as well in Chicago at The MUNY and The Sisters Rosensweig at The Globe Theatre. She starred in six revues at The Second City in Chicago where she won the Jeff Award for Best Actress. Her solo shows at Joe's Pub in NYC including The Kvetching Continues, Jackie Five-Oh!, Chanukah at Joe's Pub (Bistro Award), Scraping the Bottom, and Jackie with a Z have received critical acclaim. In 2009, Jackie received the Mac Award for Best Female Stand Up. Her show Jackie Hoffman: Live from Joe's Pub is available on CD. www.JackieHoffman.comi??
MARK MAIER, a British award-winning writer and stand up comedian, is an established and highly sought-after performer on both the national (English) and international comedy circuit. The London-based comedian has performed at comedy clubs in Germany, Holland, Ireland, Hong Kong, the Bahamas, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. He has also appeared at The Comedy Store in Los Angeles and at Caroline's in New York City. Amongst his many credits, Mark has taught and performed improv with Catherine Tate in London and has both written and performed a string of successful radio series for BBC Radios 2, 4 and 5. His television credits include shows for the BBC, ITV, Channels 4 and 5 and Sky. (His TV debut was actually in the US when he was chosen on The Dating Game and won a trip to Hawaii.) Before pursuing a career in stand up comedy, Mark was an award-winning radio copywriter both in the UK and in Hollywood. With an exceptional talent for accents and dialects, Mark is also a successful voice over artist and is prolific on both TV and radio. He has received a host of radio and television writing and performing awards and continues to be sought-after for both corporate and charity events throughout the world. Mark has also appeared in the film Harry Hill; The Movie. This summer, Mark won Petfringe Comedian of The Year 2019 and many years ago won the title of Jewish Performer of The Year in England. www.MarkMaier.co.uki??
NATHAN HABIB started doing stand up at age 14 (after making his 8th grade math class laugh so hard, the teacher had to end class early), went with his mother to Kung Pao Kosher Comedy soon after, and age 21 in 2010 he performed at Kung Pao! Nathan, who returns to Kung Pao this year, brings a friendly personality to stage. The Palo Alto native is currently based in New York City where he quickly gained the respect of his peers resulting in regularly performing at the New York Comedy Club, Caroline's on Broadway, and other established venues. His achievements marked him as a rising comic in the Bay Area performing in top venues including the iconic San Francisco theater, The Fillmore and became a favorite at the SF Punchline, opening for respectable comics such as Josh Blue, Eddie Pepitone, Robert Kelly, and many more. He has performed in noteworthy festivals like San Francisco Sketchfest. Nathan's unique perspective on the most ordinary situations elicits laughter and is appreciated by a diverse audience. www.NathanHabib.com
LISA GEDULDIG, the creator, producer, and MC of Kung Pao Kosher Comedy, has been running, for the past 10 years, a monthly show Comedy Returns to El Rio in SF's Mission District where she began her comedy career 25+ years ago and two years ago began a monthly comedy show at Ashkenaz in Berkeley. She recently produced Charo at The Herbst Theatre for the third time. Lisa is also a freelance arts publicist.
Over the past 26 years, Kung Pao has raised 10's of 1000's of dollars and awareness for numerous organizations. www.koshercomedy.com/beneficiaries In keeping with the Jewish tradition of tzedakah (charity, in Hebrew - tied in with a sense of duty and social responsibility), each year Kung Pao donates partial proceeds to organizations and causes in which we believe.
THIS YEAR'S BENEFICIARIES:
•Kehilla Community Synagogue Immigration Committee coordinates and supports member volunteers to offer sponsorship, housing, and accompaniment to newly-arrived immigrants. They have worked with refugees through Jewish Family and Community Services East Bay, with asylum seeking families through the Nueva Esperanza program of the Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity, and a number of families and individuals that have found the group or have been referred to them by word of mouth, lawyers, etc. The immigrants have been from Africa, the Middle East, Mexico, and Central and South American countries. Many are LGBT. Over the past 4 years, Kehilla members have secured the release of 8 individuals from ICE detention through sponsorship, which entails providing housing and basic support during the time that the person is fighting their asylum case. Numerous Kehilla families have offered housing to immigrants who need a stable place to live, while navigating the many challenges of coming to a new community. Kehilla members have formed teams of volunteers to accompany an individual or a family in their transition to a new life in the Bay Area. The accompaniment teams help connect families with legal services, housing, food banks, health, mental health, and dental services. They also assist family members to learn to use public transportation, take families on expeditions to explore the Bay Area, and generally provide friendship and welcome. Funds donated to the accompaniment program go directly to meet the many emergency needs of the individuals and families. While the committee helps connect people with resources, many resources are not available to asylum seekers or are not available at the moment when they're most needed. Most funds go toward emergency needs including housing, legal help, health, dental and mental health emergencies, food, and clothing. Some funds help with basic maintenance for people they're sponsoring or hosting (food, clothing, phone, Clipper Card) when the sponsor or host is not able to cover those costs. www.kehillasynagogue.org/immigration-committee
•Groceries for Seniors is a community based non-profit organization that provides free food to poor, elderly people in San Francisco. The city has approximately 40,000 seniors whose income level falls below the federal poverty line and live with the daily threat of hunger. Being food-insecure can worsen chronic health problems and lead to hospitalization. Food is a basic human need and without an adequate diet, people cannot fight off disease and infection. Low-income seniors must often choose between purchasing food, or buying medicine to keep from getting sick. Groceries for Seniors distributes nutritious fresh food to approximately 1,000 senior citizens in San Francisco every week. Without their help, many of our elderly neighbors would go hungry. www.groceriesforseniors.org