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Old Jews Telling Jokes


Conceived by Daniel Okrent & Peter Gethersroyal george theater

Directed by Marc Bruni

At the Royal George Theater, Chicago

“Why don’t Jewish mothers drink? They don’t want to dull the pain.”

“So if a Jewish husband states his opinion while alone in the woods, is he still wrong?”

“Doctor, Doctor, I can’t pee.”

“How old are you, Mr. Shapiro?”


“You’ve peed enough.”

“My wife likes to talk to me during sex. She calls up and says, ‘Nathan, I am having sex.'”

A  Jew walks into a room with a parrot on his shoulder.

“Where did you get him?” says a man.

“Brooklyn,” says the parrot. “They’ve got thousands of ’em.”

Old-time Borscht Belt jokes are funny and speak to the wit of the Jews

The 80 minute comedy fest, Old Jews telling Jokes, now at the Royal George Theater in Chicago feature some of the major theatre talents in Chicago who strut their impeccable comedic timing. Yes, Gene Weygandt, Renee Matthews, Tim Kazurinsky, Dara Cameron and Alex Goodrich each had their moments to shine in telling Borscht Belt gags. Rene Matthews and Gene Weygandt were particularly stinging in presenting the vintage humor. The opening night audience laugh vigorously throughout.

Alex Goodrich, Dara Cameron, Renee Matthews, Tim Kazurinsky, Gene Weygandt -credit Dan Rest

This well paced show has several vaudevillian songs that in themselves were witty and humorous. The jokes reminded me of growing up watching the Ed Sullivan Show on Sunday evenings where the likes of Alan King grabbed our laugh bones. Many of the jokes depend on razor-sharp timing and this cast delivered them with deft aplomb. For those of us who admire and are familiar with this unique style of humor, there is much to admire and laugh at here.

Alex Goodrich, Dara Cameron, Renee Matthews, Tim Kazurinsky-credit Dan Rest

And for those unfamiliar with Borscht Belt humor, there is a treasure chest of laughs to be had. Unfortunately, some of the punchlines were lost either through sound issues or actors dropping a line. For some reason I had trouble understanding the diction from Tim Kazurinsky. But there is enough smart humor presented expertly to make Old Jews Telling Jokes a funny affair.


Tom Williams

Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast

Date Reviewed: October 2, 2013

Jeff Recommended

What makes Old Jews Telling Jokes such very good show lies not merely in
the jokes themselves — although there are some very good ones — but in
the variety of presentation. There is never a static moment, never a
talking mouth spouting forth punch lines. Instead, there is consent
movement — a mobile interactive video screen glides across the stage,
enhancing  the stories, three chairs strategically placed singly, or
joined as a couch, provide seated groupings, an occasional song varies the
pace, and, of course, the skills of the cast: three mature, two quite

There is also the wonderful, unifying, theme of the passage of life
announced by signage — birth, childhood,  sex before marriage, sex after
marriage, sex way after marriage, and the like– announcing  appropriate
humor for each.

The production exceeded all my expectations. Where Tom Williams
recommends, I’ll  go one-step further: Highly Recommended.

Beverly Friend

For more info checkout the Old Jews Telling Jokes page at

At the Royal George Theater, 1641 N. Halsted, chicago, IL,call 312-988-9000,‎, tickets $49-$59, Wednesdays at 2 & 7;30pm, Thursdays at 7:30 pm, Fridays at 8 pm, Saturdays at 5 & 8 pm, Sundays at 2 & 5 pm, running time is 80 minutes without intermission, through February, 2014


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