JRelease: The 29th Annual Kung Pao Kosher Comedy™ - On Zoom and YouTube Live

December 08, 2021 9:00 AM | Laura Herring (Administrator)

The 29th Annual Kung Pao Kosher Comedy™ - On Zoom and YouTube Live*
Jewish Comedy on Christmas in a (virtual) Chinese Restaurant

Featuring Ophira Eisenberg, Jessica Kirson, 
Lisa Geduldig, & Arline Geduldig (Lisa’s 90 year old mother)

Friday, December 24 & Saturday, December 25 @ 5pm PST
(6pm MST/7pm CST/8pm EST) 

Sunday, December 26, 2021 @ 2pm PST
(3pm MST/4pm CST/5pm EST)

*San Francisco attendees’ option: Lazy Susan Chinese food delivery on Dec 25 & Dec 26

Info: www.KosherComedy.com

Tickets: $25- $50 (Pay what you want) | www.CityBoxOffice.com/KungPao

Partial Proceeds Benefit

San Francisco-Marin Food Bank
Shalom Bayit: Ending Domestic Violence in Jewish Homes

San Francisco, CA… Kung Pao Kosher Comedy™ — Jewish comedy on Christmas in a (virtual) Chinese Restaurant — is an annual tradition in San Francisco, answering the age-old question, “What are Jews supposed to do on Christmas?” Due to the pandemic, the show, which has been operating in San Francisco’s Chinatown every December since its inception in 1993, was livestreamed on Zoom and YouTube Live last year catering to 2000+ people and reaching audiences throughout the country and some internationally. To keep everyone safe, Kung Pao will take place virtually again this year (vaccination still mandatory), but next year in 2022 for its 30th Anniversary, the show will be live in-person, while keeping the online component (aka a hybrid event) in order to continue to entertain the national audiences built during the pandemic. Last year’s virtual show was a Pick in the New York TimesThe Forward, and Jewish newspapers in cities including Atlanta, Tampa and St. Louis, in addition to the San Francisco Bay Area press.

Kung Pao is the brainchild of San Francisco-based Jewish comedian, Lisa Geduldig, and is one of San Francisco’s longest running comedy shows. Kung Pao has been featured in the NY Times, LA Times, Chicago Tribune…and was the country’s first Jewish comedy on Christmas in a Chinese restaurant show. The idea for Kung Pao came about in October 1993, when Lisa 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 (Tobi Sovak) from Jewish summer camp (Camp Hemshekh) 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™.

Feeding the soul as well as the stomach. – New York Times

A San Francisco institution. – San Francisco Examiner

Now in its 29th year, Kung Pao is a take-off on the tradition (law?) of Jews going to a Chinese restaurant and a movie on Christmas. Study: Safe Treyf: New York Jews and Chinese Food” (Treyf means unkosher in Yiddish.) The event has been consistently catering to over 2000 people each December (including last year in Cyberspace), with some people having attended 20+ years while others have attended every year since its inception in 1993. This legendary event has boasted a Who’s Who of household name Jewish comedians including Henny Youngman, Shelley Berman, David Brenner, and Elayne Boosler.

The New Asia Restaurant, Kung Pao’s home in San Francisco’s Chinatown from 1997 (the fifth year of the show) to 2019 and one of the last 2 Chinese banquet restaurants in San Francisco’s Chinatown, is currently operating as a supermarket due to the pandemic.

This year, attendees have the option to view the livestream on Zoom or YouTube Live; those watching on Zoom will be able to gather with friends and family worldwide in Breakout Rooms one hour before the show. The rooms, with names that include Bubbelah, Kvetch, Meshugganah, Barbra Streisand, and Joan Rivers, mirror the tables traditionally reserved by participants at the in-person event. Last year, Breakout Room participants kvelled about the ability to, during lockdown, nosh and schmooze virtually with loved ones before the show.

Kung Pao’s audience is encouraged to support and order Chinese take out from their local Chinese restaurants or cook recipes of Chinese dishes (i.e the signature dish Kung Pao Chicken or Tofu) posted on the event website. And for its San Francisco-based audience, Kung Pao has launched a new partnership with the new take-out and delivery restaurant Lazy Susan Chinese. On December 25 & 26 only (the chefs are off on December 24), San Francisco viewers will be able to order delivery of a price fixed Chinese menu including a vegetarian option along with a packet of custom-made Yiddish proverb fortune cookies from San Francisco Chinatown’s Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory (that has made fortune cookies since 1962 and Kung Pao’s since 1994). The Yiddish proverbs include the infamous “With one tuchus, you can’t dance at 2 weddings.” (You can’t be in two places at once). Last year, the fortune cookies were merely virtual (motion graphics). Lazy Susan Chinese will make a donation to this year’s beneficiaries (San Francisco-Marin Food Bank and Shalom Bayit: Ending Domestic Violence in Jewish Homes) from each order placed.

Last July 2020, a few months into the pandemic, Kung Pao creator, producer, and MC, Lisa Geduldig, introduced her audiences to online comedy shows with the monthly Lockdown Comedy every third Thursday of the month (and still running) on Zoom hosted from her mother’s retirement community in Florida where Lisa accidentally found herself marooned for 17 months after going to visit for two weeks last March, just before the pandemic hit. Lisa’s 90-year old budding comedian mother, Arline, has been a special guest each month, performing stand up on the show. The duo has received accolades and press: The LA Times ran How A California Comic Launched A Virtual Stand-Up Show and Discovered A New Star: Mom; the San Francisco Examiner ran the article, Kung Pao Kosher Creator Introduces “Lockdown Comedy”: Lisa Geduldig and Her Mom Stream Standup, with Guests, from Florida, and in September, the San Francisco Chronicle did a feature S.F.’s Lisa Geduldig Happily Sharing Comedy Spotlight with A Fresh Talent, Her 90-Year-Old Mother.

The annual Jewish Christmas tradition, Kung Pao Kosher Comedy™, spans three days December 24-26 (with the last day being a matinee so audiences in Europe can join), and this year features NY Jewish comedians Ophira Eisenberg and Jessica Kirson, along with Arline Geduldig (Lisa’s 90 year old mother) and Lisa Geduldig.

COMEDIANS’ BIOS

Ophira Eisenberg is a stand up comedian, and writer. She was the host of NPR’s Ask Me Another for 9 years where she interviewed and played silly games with Sir Patrick Stewart, Rosie Perez, Awkwafina, Roxanne Gay, Bob The Drag Queen, Jessica Walter, Bowen Yang, Debra Messing, Nick Kroll, Chelsea Handler and more. She’s a regular panelist on Hulu’s Up Early Tonight and has appeared on Comedy Central, This Week At The Comedy Cellar, The New Yorker Festival, Kevin Hart’s LOL Network, HBO’s Girls, Gotham Live, The Late Late Show, and The Today Show. Her stories have also been included in two of The Moth’s best-selling collections, including the most recent: Occasional Magic: True Stories About Defying the Impossible. Ophira’s own comedic memoir, Screw Everyone: Sleeping My Way to Monogamy was optioned for a TV series. Her comedy special Inside Joke is available on Amazon, and her new comedy album Plant-Based Jokes will be available soon. www.OphiraEisenberg.com

Jessica Kirson is a powerhouse on stage and a hilariously relatable performer of sheer silliness, vulnerability, and ridiculous characters. Her countless comedic character videos have racked up over 30 million views on social media. In an era where only 10% of all touring comedians are female, Jessica stands out as one of the strongest, regardless of gender. She executive produced FX’s Hysterical, a feature-length documentary, that premiered at SXSW 2021, exploring the changing landscape of women in stand up and features Margaret Cho, Nikki Glazer, Chelsea Handler, Fortune Feimster, and other notable comedians. Her one-hour special, “Talking to Myself,” debuted on Comedy Central. She is a regular on This Week at the Comedy Cellar and has appeared on The Tonight Show with Jimmy FallonThe Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The View, and Kevin Can Wait. Last year, Jessica was featured playing herself on the HBO series Crashing and recently acted in and served as a consultant, producer, and writer on the Robert De Niro film The Comedian. Her prank call album, The Call Girls, also featuring Rachel Feinstein, was released in September. Recorded virtually during the depths of quarantine, the album features characters such as old Jewish grandmothers and a conservative mother and her gay son. Jessica’s characters are coming to life in her new podcast, Disgusting Hawk. Through her Relatively Sane podcast, she has interviewed the likes of Bill Burr, Jim Gaffigan, Margaret Cho, and Rosie O’Donnell. Jessica was recently awarded “Best Female Comic” by the MAC Association in New York City and received the prestigious Nightlife Award for “Best Stand-up Comedian.” She is also a regular contributor to The Howard Stern Show, where she produces and stars in prank calls. www.JessicaKirson.com

Arline Geduldig, mother of comedian and Kung Pao Kosher Comedy producer, Lisa Geduldig, is a Florida-based budding stand up comedian who took to the (virtual) stage for the first time* in July 2020 on her daughter’s monthly Zoom comedy show, Lockdown Comedy; she has been performing and charming audiences on the monthly show ever since. Arline grew up in Brooklyn, raised her kids on Long Island, and retired to Florida, as is Jewish law. She offers her keen observations on aging, hearing aids, and hot young firemen and reminisces about her first kiss. Arline, who is 90 years young, has always been funny, and it was time for her to share her natural humor with her daughter’s audiences.

*She hadn’t been onstage since she was a teenager when she performed in a play while working as the rabbi’s secretary at Temple Israel of Jamaica (Queens).

Lisa Geduldig is a San Francisco-based comedian and the creator, producer, and MC of Kung Pao Kosher Comedy™ — Jewish comedy on Christmas in a Chinese Restaurant, which celebrates its 29th year this December (albeit in Cyberspace). Lisa appeared in a Canadian documentary, Dreaming of a Jewish Christmas, which aired on Canadian and European TV in December 2017. Before the pandemic, Lisa had been running Comedy Returns to El Rio, a monthly decade-long comedy show at El Rio in San Francisco where her comedy career began 30+ years ago. Since July 2020, she has been producing Lockdown Comedy every 3rd Thursday of the month on Zoom from her mother’s retirement community home in Florida, where she accidentally got marooned for 17 months during the pandemic (and became a fan of the Early Bird special). Lisa also has been instrumental in helping thousands of people in Florida and visitors from Latin America get vaccinated against Covid-19 through two South Florida Covid vaccine Facebook pages that she helps moderate, Being bilingual (Spanish/English), she has helped countless travelers in their native tongue through the Spanish language Facebook page she co-founded. SF Comedian’s Side Hustle: Helping People Get Vaccines in Florida Lisa is also a freelance arts publicist in both English and Spanish. www.SFPublicist.com

BENEFICIARIES

Over the past 28 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

San Francisco-Marin Food Bank’s mission is to end hunger in San Francisco and Marin. Before the pandemic, one in five neighbors was at risk of hunger, the pandemic upended thousands of people’s lives and livelihoods forcing more people than ever before to wonder where their next meal would come from. While we see our community slowly recovering, there is no vaccine for hunger. It will take time for those most impacted by the crisis to get back on their feet. The Food Bank continues to serve more than 50,000 households, compared to 32,000 pre-pandemic, and traffic to the find food page on our website is still up four times what it was pre-pandemic. We’ve met this need so far with the help of community partners, volunteers and other supporters. After more than a year responding to the pandemic, we are focused on returning to solutions that work and continuing to implement services developed during the crisis. It will take a collective effort to ensure we can continue to feed our neighbors facing hunger. www.sfmfoodbank.org

Shalom Bayit: Ending Domestic Violence in Jewish Homes is the Bay Area’s Jewish resource for responding to domestic violence and sexual harassment. Throughout the pandemic, Shalom Bayit has been on the front lines providing free, confidential counseling, crisis intervention and safety planning (including bilingual services in Russian) to those abused at home. Promoting healthy relationships and a culture of respect, Shalom Bayit’s innovative prevention/education programs like Love Shouldn't Hurt (consent education for teens and parents), MenschUp men's education, and We Commit workplace harassment trainings are transforming the Jewish community’s response to abuse, empowering women to safety in the places that matter most. www.shalom-bayit.org

Some Random Kung Pao Kosher Comedy Facts

  • Henny Youngman, The King of One-Liners, headlined in 1997, performing at what ended up being his last show; the 91 year old comedian died two months later in February 1998.
  • A chapter in the book, A Kosher Christmas: 'Tis the Season to be Jewish focuses on Kung Pao.
  • One couple, after 25 years, got married at the show by a rabbi they met at their table.
  • One year someone brought a rooster named Vern as an emotional support animal. Really. https://www.sfgate.com/entertainment/article/LEAH-GARCHIK-3299717.php


MEDIA CONTACT
:

Lisa Geduldig 
(415) 205-6515 | lisag@igc.org | www.koshercomedy.com


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