Solomon’s Comic Wisdom, Part 3


Jewish-Christian intermarriage is a fertile area for demographic research, as the recent Pew Research Center survey amply shows. But as comedian Steve Solomon knows, it is also a durable subject of humor. Solomon will appear in his latest one-man play, “My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish, and I’m Home for the Holidays” this Sunday, Nov. 24 at 3 p.m. at the Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts at Brooklyn College ($30; 718-951-4500).

The show is the third in a trilogy that began with “My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish, and I’m in Therapy,” which was followed by “…and I’m STILL in Therapy.” Solomon’s shows have been so popular that other actors regularly perform them in Australia and South Africa. Solomon was featured on “Good Morning America” in 2007.

Solomon plays 20 characters in the new show, including his parents, grandparents and his hoarse, chain-smoking twin sister. His brand of comedy mines broad humor; there are communication mix-ups, sexual and scatological references, and always, heavy ethnic accents.

The play begins with Solomon stuck at the Atlanta airport because of a raging snowstorm; he is on the phone with his parents, whose heaaring aids are turned up too high. “It’s intense, it’s bad; nothing’s coming out,” he tells them, which makes them think that he has intestinal troubles and needs Mylanta.

When the comedian finally makes it home for a holiday dinner, he is obliged to sit at the children’s table; meanwhile, the 35 over-eating adults in attendance have to share a single bathroom with no plunger in sight.

The comedian told The Jewish Week that he grew up in Sheepshead Bay with his extended family all living in close proximity to one another; one of his favorite routines in the first installment is of his Yiddish-speaking grandmother trying to teach his mother how to keep kosher. His father filled his head with words of wisdom, such as “Never take a sleeping pill and a laxative at the same time,” or “Marriage is like a bank account: you put it in, you take it out, you lose interest.”

Although he specializes in Jewish humor, Solomon does not shy away from poking fun at people of all different ethnicities; he insists, for examples, that all old Italian women go around “dressed in black, stirring tomato sauce.” He is especially gratified to see the diversity of the audience members who flock to his shows. “I can’t see beyond the third or fourth row,” he said, “but I glimpse Asians, Indians, African-Americans. I like to poke fun at everybody and to hear belly laughs. It’s really a tickle.”