Comedian Elon Gold is Half Jewish, Half Very Jewish

Published: June 29th 2010
in Culture » Stage

Elon Gold
Pic: courtesy

Elon Gold is explaining to me why Jewish audiences are the toughest to please. “They think they’ve heard of it all and they’ve thought of it all,” says the Los Angeles-based comedian, who is coming to Toronto next week to perform in the Just for Laughs Festival. “It’s like Christians, they say grace before meals and we say grace after meals. Because we’re not thanking G-d unless we’ve eaten already and we’re satisfied and the meal’s good. That’s the way it is with me – when I play secular audiences, they’re happy before I even start. The Jewish audience is the grace after meals. I come out, they’re like ‘all right, let’s see what you’ve got, big shot’ and then at the end they’re thanking me profusely.” 


So does he like the challenge? “No, I don’t like working for the laughs,” he says with a chuckle. “[But] I really truly love doing these shows because I get to do this material that I can’t do anywhere else.”


The show in question is his one-man standup routine “Elon Gold: Half Jewish, Half Very Jewish,” which premiered at Montreal’s Just for Laughs Festival in July 2009 and is making its Toronto premiere next week for this city’s edition of the 27-year-old comedy festival. 


Even though the show is only a year old, “Half Jewish, Half Very Jewish” is about a decade in the making. “This is sort of the culmination of ten years of doing specifically Jewish shows,” says Gold, who embarked on his standup career at age 17. “All these fun, great observations that I have about my Jewish life, which is so much of my life – I had nowhere to go with them. If I have a joke about a seder plate, I can’t exactly go on the The Tonight Show and do that observation. So for me, all those shows I’ve been doing all those years and this show, is finally an outlet for me to take all these observations I’ve had from living a Jewish life.”


How Jewish is he? “I grew up modern Orthodox and I finally figured out what modern means – it means ‘not so.’ So that’s a nicer way of saying I’m not so Orthodox.” But keeping his heritage alive is important. Gold went to Jewish day school and high school and frequented his local Hillel at Boston University. Nowadays, the father of four keeps kosher, is always home for Friday night dinners with his kids (even though that means missing the hottest night of the week at comedy clubs) and refuses to work on Shabbat – so much so that he slept in his trailer Friday night after shooting a guest-star turn on The Mentalist so he wouldn’t have to drive home, and rearranged the shooting schedule when he starred in the short-lived sitcom Stacked with Pamela Anderson. “I’m the guy that had to go up to Pam Anderson and go ‘is there any way we can move this a night up to Thursday?’” he says.


Related articles: (stage, comedy, standup comedy, elon gold, half jewish half very jewish, just for laughs)

Share with friends Print this page Read later Recommend 3 times