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If you’re searching for an unorthodox way to spend your time off this holiday weekend, look no further than your computer screen for the 29th annual “Kung Pao Kosher Comedy” show.
A San Francisco holiday tradition, “Kung Pao Kosher Comedy: Jewish Comedy on Christmas in a Chinese Restaurant” was created by Jewish comedian Lisa Geduldig in 1993 and took place every year at The New Asia Restaurant in Chinatown from 1997 to 2019 until the COVID-19 pandemic moved the show into its digital format.
“I created the show to give Jews a sense of belonging on Christmas, when we often felt like an ‘other’ and didn’t fit in,” Geduldig says, describing the show as “the kid [she] never had.”
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This year’s series of shows are slated to be livestreamed on Zoom and YouTube on Friday through Sunday. Viewers in San Francisco also have the option to sign up by Wednesday for local Chinese food delivery for the shows on Saturday and Sunday.
The show will feature sets from New York Jewish comedians Ophira Eisenberg and Jessica Kirson, along with the creator Lisa Geduldig and her 90-year-old mother Arline Geduldig.
Geduldig discovered her mother’s comedic talent after she “accidentally lived with [her] for 17 months during the beginning of the pandemic” when she meant to visit for two weeks in March 2020. Once a special one-time guest on Geduldig’s “Lockdown Comedy” show, her mother’s comedy career “really soared and [she] developed a little fan club” for which she has been performing monthly and loving it, according to Geduldig.
Over the past 29 years, “Kung Pao Kosher Comedy” has been able to support various charitable causes and raise awareness. A portion of the proceeds from this year’s events will benefit San Francisco-Marin Food Bank and Shalom Bayit: Ending Domestic Violence in Jewish Homes.
“This year, due to the pandemic, I wanted to name a food bank, as many people have been in need. And I also wanted to support Shalom Bayit, as domestic violence has been on the rise during the pandemic,” Geduldig explains.
The show hopes to reunite with its local San Francisco viewers in-person next year for the 30th anniversary celebration of “Kung Pao Kosher Comedy,” while keeping the online component to continue entertaining the new national audience it has built during the pandemic.
“Kung Pao Kosher Comedy” livestreams at 5 p.m. Friday (Christmas Eve) and Saturday (Christmas) and 2 p.m. Sunday on YouTube and Zoom. For tickets, $25-$50, and more information, visit koshercomedy.com.