New Asia Restaurant, 772 Pacific Ave., San Francisco’s Chinatown Featuring:
•JEREMY HOTZ: Best Male Stand Up: Canada
•Ophira Eisenberg: Host of NPR’s Ask Me Another
•Simon Cadel: 14 years old, Caroline’s
•Lisa Geduldig: Producer, MC
Partial Proceeds Benefit:
•San Francisco Suicide Prevention
•Jewish Family & Children’s Services’ Food Programs
San Francisco, CA… Kung Pao Kosher Comedy™ San Francisco’s annual Jewish Christmas tradition celebrates its 22nd year this December with a very funny line up of Jewish comedians never before seen on the Kung Pao stage. This year Kung Pao inadvertently celebrates our neighbor to the north, Canada, with two Canadian-born comedians on the bill: Jeremy Hotz (Best Male Stand Up: Canada, Best International Performer: Sydney Comedy Festival) and Ophira Eisenberg (Host of NPR’s trivia comedy show, Ask Me Another), and for the first time the show features an underage comedian: 14 year old Simon Cadel from New York, the youngest to ever grace the Kung Pao stage.
The show takes place for 3 days over Christmas (December 24-26) with 2 shows a day: a 5pm Dinner Show and an 8:30pm Cocktail Show (for a total of six shows). In the spirit of the retirement communities in Florida, all shows are Early Birdsthis year, starting an hour earlier than usual, because the producers are getting old and need their beauty rest.
Created in 1993 by San Francisco-based Jewish comedian and New York transplant, Lisa Geduldig, Kung Pao is the epiphany that would answer the age-old question, “What are Jews supposed to do on Christmas?” Geduldig found herself telling Jewish jokes at The Peking Garden Club in South Hadley, Massachusetts at what she thought was going to be a comedy club but ended up being a Chinese restaurant, which she discovered upon her arrival. A subsequent phone conversation with an old friend 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 brainstorming Jewish, comedy, and Chinese food-related words (one from column A, one from column B…) led to the coining of 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.)
Kung Pao was launched on December 24, 1993 at The Four Seas Restaurant in San Francisco’s Chinatown with one show that sold out and turned away hundreds of people. The show grew exponentially each year and found its permanent home, New Asia Restaurant, in Chinatown in 1997, the year that Henny Youngman, The King of One-Liners, headlined, performing at what ended up being his last show; the 91 year old comedian died two months later. What started out as a joke has become an institution in San Francisco, annually giving over 2000 comedy aficionados and those escaping “Christmas-mania” (locals as well as people visiting from all over the world) an annual reprieve from Jingle Bells. It’s the Bar Mitzvah you never had, and you don’t have to be Jewish to enjoy it.
Kung Pao has been written up in the New York Times, LA Times, Chicago Tribune, covered by NPR…, and a chapter in the 2012 book, “A Kosher Christmas: 'Tis the Season to be Jewish” focuses entirely on the long-running event.
The show’s audience was originally 99% Jewish but expanded to include a wide audience: Chinese-Jewish couples, interfaith ones, singles, families, gay, straight, those far from home or traveling abroad, locals seeking an alternative to Christmas. Since its inception, Kung Pao has catered to over 40,000 attendees and even had one couple who had been together for 25 years get married after the show by a rabbi they met at their table.
Seating is at tables of 10, Chinese banquet-style, with table names including: Barbra Streisand, Borscht Belt, Chopped Liver, Joan Rivers, Kvetch, Lenny Bruce, Mah Jongg, Marx Brothers, Meshugganah, and Totie Fields. The Dinner Show features a 7-course dinner, with one “kosher” shrimp dish blessed by a very reform rabbi. Vegetarian dim sum is served at the Cocktail Show. All ages are welcome, except for screaming babies. No roosters. (True story: One year someone brought a rooster named Vern as an emotional support animal.) Kung Pao serves fortune cookies with Yiddish proverbs in them; attendees enjoy one of a variety of ten different fortunes each year including the mainstay “With one tuchus, you can’t dance at two weddings” (You can’t be in 2 places at once) and “A goat may have a beard, but that doesn’t make it a rabbi.” Several thousand are custom ordered each year from Chinatown’s Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory, which usually specializes in X-rated fortunes. Geduldig hopes every year that her fortunes don’t accidentally get switched. San Francisco is reportedly the birthplace of fortune cookies.
Kung Pao features four Jewish comedians each year and has boasted a Who’s Who of headliners including Henny Youngman, Shelley Berman, David Brenner, Elayne Boosler, Jeffrey Ross, Carol Leifer, Cathy Ladman, Wendy Liebman, and Judy Gold.
This year’s comedians:
JEREMY HOTZ (Headliner) is one of the most unique stand up comics working today. The Canadian-born comedian has quickly become a proven international success with stellar performances at the Montreal Comedy Festival: Just For Laughs and his sold out Canadian theater tour What A Miserable Tour This Is…. as well as performances all over the US, Europe, and Australia, Jeremy continues to grab audiences with his completely original and confused, yet very astute, observational comedy. Originally from Ottawa, Jeremy began his career performing at local comedy clubs across the country.
In 1997, Jeremy performed at the Just For Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal and received a standing ovation after his debut performance at the festival’s prestigious television gala. He returned to the Just For LaughsComedy Festival in 1999, 2002, 2003, 2005 (voted Best Performer by the Globe and Mail), 2007, 2008 (Chosen as Best in Fest by the Montreal Gazette) 2011 and 2012 where he was one of the hosts for the Just for Laughs TV series for The Comedy Network. Recognition came quick, as American studios and networks showed interest and Jeremy was offered his first of many major development deals.
Another highlight for Jeremy was his debut appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman, followed by five appearances on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Jeremy has also appeared on Comedy Central with his own half hour special, and was on MTV’s Half Hour Comedy Hour. Jeremy filmed a one hour TV special What A Miserable Show This Is… for CTV, and his DVD What a Miserable DVD This Is… is a hit.
Hotz is a favorite in theaters and stand-up comedy clubs across Canada and the US, including the Laugh Factory and Improv in both Las Vegas and LA. Jeremy has also headlined at HBO’s prestigious comedy festival in Aspen.
Jeremy is also a talented actor who will be appearing in the fourth season of HBO Canada’s Call Me Fitz, and has appeared in the feature films My Favorite Martian (with Elizabeth Hurley) and Speed 2 (with Sandra Bullock and Jason Patric). He starred in the mini-series Married Life on Comedy Central and was nominated for a Gemini Award for the CBC’s OH CANA-DUH. He was the recipient of a Gemini Award for Best Performance in a Comedy Show or Series for his work in the celebrated TV series The Newsroom.
Jeremy was also a staff writer and performer on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Show and received a Gemini nomination for Best Writing in Comedy or Variety Show or Series for his half hour comedy special, Whatever Happened to Jeremy Hotz? In 2008, he was honored with Canada’s most prestigious comedy award, Dave Broadfoot Comic Genius Award, at the Canadian Comedy Awards. In 2009, he was awarded Best Male Stand Up. Most recently, after headlining the Melbourne, Sydney, and Auckland Comedy Festivals, Jeremy was awarded the Jury Prize for Best International Performer at the Sydney Comedy Festival. Jeremy’s Magical Misery tour across Canada in 2013 was a success. www.JeremyHotz.com
Canadian Jewish web site article: “Jeremy Hotz on the (Jewish) Art of Being Miserable”
OPHIRA EISENBERG is a comedian, writer, and host of NPR’s hit trivia comedy show, Ask Me Another, in which she has interviewed and played silly games with the likes of John Turturro, Dr. Ruth, Lewis Black, Elizabeth Gilbert, Justin Long, Cristin Milioti, Doug Limon, Hannibal Buress and more. She has appeared on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, The Today Show, Comedy Central, and VH-1. Originally from Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Ophira now resides in New York. She was selected as one of New York Magazine’s Top 10 Comics that Funny People Find Funny and featured in the New York Times as a skilled comedian and storyteller with a “bleakly stylish” sense of humor. Ophira’s debut memoir, Screw Everyone: Sleeping My Way to Monogamy was recently optioned for a feature film with Zucker Productions. She has appeared as a panelist on Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me and is also a regular host and storyteller with The Moth and has appeared on their award-winning podcast, radio show, and Audience Favorites compilation. She recently recorded her second comedy album BANGS! www.ophiraeisenberg.com SIMON CADEL is the youngest comedian to ever grace the Kung Pao Kosher Comedy™ stage. He started performing stand up at 11 years old, and at the ripe old age of 14 he is making a name for himself in comedy in New York City. Described as a comedian who happens to be a kid, not a kid comedian, Simon is an audience favorite at comedy clubs all over New York including The Comic Strip Live, New York Comedy Club, Broadway Comedy Club, and Levity Live. He was Carolines on Broadway’s Breakout Artist of the Month in February where he performed his own 45-minute show. Simon’s material is smart, observational, and high-energy. He explores topics ranging from being an awkward 9th grader, to technology, to his Jewish upbringing, which has made him a self-declared “Jatheist.” And when words just won’t do, Simon puts his comedy to music with songs like The Cult of Apple and his irreverent Disney parody, Everybody Dies. www.simoncadel.com LISA GEDULDIG is a San Francisco-based comic and comedy producer who’s originally from New Yawk where her entire suburban block was Jewish except the Mazzolas next door who had on their lawn the largest Nativity scene in the history of the world. Lisa is the creator, producer, and MC of a variety of comedy shows: Kung Pao Kosher Comedy; The George Bush Going Away Party: An Evening of Political Comedy; Funny Girlz: A Smorgasbord of Women Comedians; The Color of Funny: A Multi-Cultural Comedy Show; A Muslim, A Mormon, and A Jew Walk into A Bar: The Comedy of Religion. Lisa has produced Charo twice at The Herbst Theatre. For the past 4 years, she has been running a monthly show Comedy Returns to El Rio at El Rio in San Francisco’s Mission District where she began her comedy career 24 years ago. Lisa has also recently become a filmmaker; her first film, "Esther & Me," a profile of octogenarian, Esther Weintraub, a former comedian (Funny Girlz 2003), and resident at The Jewish Home San Francisco made the rounds on the film festival circuit and screened at 12 festivals far in the US, Canada, and Europe. www.EstherandMe.com
THIS YEAR’S BENEFICIARIES:
Over the past 20 years, Kung Pao has raised 10’s of 1000’s of dollars and awareness for different organizations. 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 we believe in. Past Kung Pao beneficiaries: www.koshercomedy.com/beneficiaries
This year we have chosen two local direct services organizations to support: San Francisco Suicide Prevention (SFSP) has been saving lives for over 50 years. The agency serves over 30,000 individual clients annually and handles over 60,000 client contacts nationally. SFSP is about reducing the pain that comes with emotional distress, physical illness, mental illness, and social isolation. The organization helps people manage their pain so they can improve health, strengthen relationships, and choose life. The organization operates with only twelve staff members and over 100 volunteers. With only twelve staff members and over 100 volunteers, SFSP is the most efficient form of crisis care known. Their 24-hour crisis number is 415-781-0500. Kung Pao chose SFSP this year in memory of Robin Williams and all the other people affected by suicide. www.sfsuicide.org Jewish Family & Children’s Services’ (JFCS) Food Programs
For more than 160 years, JFCS has been committed to making sure that those in our community who are hungry, or are at risk of hunger, have enough to eat. In addition to the Food Pantry, which provides sustenance throughout the year to many clients in need in San Francisco, Marin, Sonoma, San Mateo, and Santa Clara counties, JFCS helps to nourish hundreds of individuals annually through a range of programs:
•The Kosher Meals on Wheels program in San Francisco delivers hot, nutritious meals to frail, homebound seniors with a kosher tradition. JFCS is proud of its partnership on this program with Rhoda Goldman Plaza, which caters these meals.
•The JFCS Food Program in San Francisco is a wonderful source of nourishment for very low-income people (age 18 – 60) with disabilities and serious medical conditions. Clients receive a weekly delivery of healthful meals and a generous bag of groceries.
•JFCS’ Chicken Soupers volunteers prepare mouthwatering, hearty meals, which they deliver every other week to people with AIDS, chronic illnesses, and disabilities.
•One Friday each month, JFCS holds its Senior Shabbat Outreach Program lunch in San Francisco. www.jfcs.org/services/jfcs-food-programs
Calendar Listing: WHAT:
The 22nd Annual Kung Pao Kosher Comedy™ - Jewish comedy on Christmas in a Chinese Restaurant
Featuring: Jeremy Hotz, Ophira Eisenberg, Simon Cadel, and Lisa Geduldig
Wednesday, December 24, Thursday, December 25, and Friday, December 26, 2014
•5:00pm Dinner Show: 7-course Chinese banquet Cost: $65
•8:30 pm Cocktail Show: Vegetarian dim sum Cost: $45
*ALL SHOWS ARE EARLY BIRD THIS YEAR: ONE HOUR EARLIER THAN USUAL.
New Asia Restaurant
772 Pacific Ave. (between Grant & Stockton)
San Francisco, CA
Dinner Show: $65 / Cocktail Show: $45
Buy on-line: www.koshercomedy.com OR by phone: (925) 855-1986
Visit our Vorld Vide Veb Site: www.koshercomedy.com OR call 415-522-3737
PARTIAL PROCEEDS BENEFIT:
•SF Suicide Prevention
•Jewish Family & Children’s Services Food Programs
For additional press materials and interviews, contact Lisa Geduldig at (415) 431-7363 or cell: (415) 205-6515 or firstname.lastname@example.org - Hi res photos of comics are available upon request or can be downloaded at www.koshercomedy.com/press