Friday, October 30, 2009

Former Catholic, Now Chassidic Comedian in Off-Broadway Debut

In his New York theatrical debut at the Bleecker Street Theatre starting November 11 (Previews start November 2), comedian Yisrael Campbell will take the audience on a hysterically funny and intensely personal journey through his struggles with drugs and alcohol and his eventual salvation in the Jewish faith. Though he was born Catholic, Yisrael (who changed his name from Christopher) charts an extraordinary spiritual, creative, and hilarious journey that includes three circumcisions along the way.

Campbell grew up Catholic in a Philadelphia surburb. One of his aunts is a Catholic nun. A typical Campbell joke is that his aunt is a nun, "which of course makes Jesus my good for getting parking in Jerusalem." Campbell converted to Judaism with a Reform rabbi, but says that a "spiritual hunger" led him to have a second conversion with a Conservative rabbi. On a four month visit to Israel in 2000 he decided to have a third conversion and live as an Orthodox Jew.

Here's a preview of Campbell's shtick. Enjoy!

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