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  Play Details

Old Jews Telling Jokes

Royal George Theatre
1641 N. Halsted Chicago

OLD JEWS TELLING JOKES showcases five actors in a revue that pays tribute to and reinvents classic jokes of the past and present. Think you've heard them all before? Not this way. If you've ever had a mother, visited a doctor, or walked into a bar with a priest, a rabbi and a frog - OLD JEWS TELLING JOKES will sit in the dark, give you a second opinion, and ask you where you got that.

Thru - Mar 2, 2014

Tuesdays: 7:30pm
Wednesdays: 2:00pm & 7:30pm
Thursdays: 7:30pm
Fridays: 7:30pm
Saturdays: 5:00pm & 8:00pm
Sundays: 2:00pm & 5:00pm



Price: $49-$59

Show Type: Comedy

Running Time: 1hr, 20mins

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  Old Jews Telling Jokes Reviews

Chicago Tribune - Highly Recommended

"...Those "Old Jews Telling Jokes" have excellent timing. I mean, opening in Chicago in a week when the democratically elected government took a walk, just because it could? Was not Wednesday enough to ready anyone for some quality time with a schlemiel tempted by the multifarious possibilities of a pickle slicer?"
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Chris Jones


Chicago Sun Times - Recommended

"...This is definitely "Jewish humor light," decidedly middle-brow, and a little bit raunchy (it's not for the kids). It clearly is aimed at both "the goyim" who grew up with mainstream Jewish humor, and all those assimilated Jews, urban and suburban, who came of age in the second half of the 20th century - long removed from the shtetls of Eastern Europe or slums of New York's Lower East Side (home of their grandparents or great-grandparents), from the Holocaust (Europe's insanity), from most religious observance (aside from High Holy Days synagogue visits), and from the more obvious discrimination of university quotas and condo rejections. And frankly, you will find more sophisticated Jewish humor in "A Fiddler on the Roof," by way of Sholom Aleichem."
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Hedy Weiss


Chicago Reader - Somewhat Recommended

"...David Gethers and Daniel Okrent's stage version is funny, too, filled as it is with classic old bits, most of which come down to Leibowitz, Moskowitz, Gottleib, Kaminsky, Cohen, Kaplan, and/or Saperstein getting fucked by the world if not by their wives. I laughed. I also admired the crack five-member cast. Yet something crucial is missing. Between sappy monologues about the role of humor in Jewish lives and Marc Bruni's strenuously charming direction, OJTJ never gets at the sublimated rage that gives Jewish wit its worldview and its bite. Bruni's biggest mistake is showing clips of Alan King performing a routine whose hilarious savagery demonstrates all too clearly what the rest of the show lacks."
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Tony Adler


NewCity Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...Talk about high-concept. If you can't gather what this show is about based on the title... what kind of a dumb schmuck are you? Based on the popular website OldJewsTellingJokes.com (guess what's on the website), the original production of "Old Jews Telling Jokes" just closed in the middle of last month after running for almost a year and a half Off-Broadway before opening in Chicago at the Royal George Theatre with plans to run through mid-February of next year. And this goyim loves it."
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Zach Freeman


Windy City Times - Highly Recommended

"...The show's extension to March 30 will feature occasional guest appearances by such Chicago celebs as authors Sara Paretsky and Roy Blount, Jr., as well as ABC-Seven's Janet Davies and radio personality Steve Downes, all telling their favorite jokes. On the night that I attended, the spotlight was on columnist Candace Jordan, regaling us with testimonials to her home town that was so small that "driver's education and sex education were taught in the same car." During this bleak start to 2014, what could be healthier, for body and for soul, than a hearty guffaw?"
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Mary Shen Barnidge


Time Out Chicago - Recommended

"...Luckily, the Chicago cast is top-notch and apparently-and infectiously-delighted to be sharing the Royal George stage. Gene Weygandt, Tim Kazurinsky, Renee Matthews, Dara Cameron and Alex Goodrich demonstrate impeccable timing and contagious good will. Each of the five actors also gets a brief character monologue about the function of humor that spills over just a bit into mawkishness, but what these Old Jews are hawking is mostly an affectionate, inoffensive evening of hearty laughs."
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Kris Vire


ShowBizChicago - Highly Recommended

"...As funny as Old Jews Telling Jokes is (and boy, it is the funniest thing Chicago has seen in years), more than any punchline, the show also emphasizes how important humor is as a tradition. It can bind generations together; make the most horrid of circumstances a bit more tolerable; and best of all, at a time when there is so much division in our collective humanity, know that we can all still share a unifying laugh. For that reason alone, go see Old (and not so old) Jews Telling Jokes."
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Michael J. Roberts


ChicagoCritic - Recommended

"...This well paced show has several vaudevillian songs that in themselves were witty and humorous. The jokes reminded me of grooming up watching the Ed Sullivan Show on Sunday evenings where the likes of Alan King grabbed our laugh bones. Many of the jokes depend on razor-sharp timing and this cast delivered them with deft aplomb. For those of us who admire and are familiar with this unique style of humor, there is much to admire and laugh at here."
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Tom Williams


Chicago Stage Standard - Highly Recommended

"...There are some monologues that give a deeper meaning to the role of comedy in the lives of our generations, and explain why jokes are part of a cultural heritage, and I am certain there are a number of doctoral theses written on the place of humor in Jewish culture, but don't go looking for soul searching, transformational experimental theatre here. This show is just what it says it is: Old (and not so Old) Jews, telling jokes. And the laughs range from titters to guffaws to belly laughs. This is as close to a borscht belt night of entertainment as you will get in the Midwest, outside of your local shul on Purim. The live production improves on the website by judiciously editing out the weak jokes, adding sketch elements and the songs-and utilizing an ensemble that seems to be enjoying being together. It sends you out in the night with that buzz from laughing with a big crowd and allows you to escape your life and laugh at human foibles! The government may be shut down, the economy may be limping along, but you can laugh and smile, and keep on keeping on."
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Angela Allyn


Around The Town Chicago - Recommended

"...While many in the opening night audience were familiar with a lot of the jokes, many very old, and some even older, luckily due to age, they have forgotten the punch lines. The cast of this production which has already been extended through the holidays is sparkling, although only the female performers are of the Jewsih faith, the three men being gentile, but very gentle to their playing the old Jews as they tell stories and jokes. Yes, some of the skits are a bit long in the tooth, but with the great delivery of the lines by Chicago favorites, Gene Weygandt, Alex Goodrich and the incredible Tim Kazurinski ( who sure seems Jewish), young Dara Cameron and the ever young Renee Matthews, it appears Chicago has a winner!"
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Alan Bresloff


Chicago Theatre Review - Highly Recommended

"...More often than not the joy found in this show isn't just the punchline. It's the journey each actor takes to reach it. And sharing that trip with each of these terrific actors is a voyage well worth taking. Audiences may have heard a few of them before, but this collection of jokes, ranging from good-natured to bawdy is hysterically presented, creating an evening that both Jews and Gentiles will heartily enjoy."

Colin Douglas


Chicagoland Theater Reviews - Highly Recommended

"...The ultimate question is, "Do you have to be Jewish to enjoy "Old Jews Telling Jokes"? It won't hurt, but the comedy touches on universal themes and it isn't a stretch to envision a companion show called "Old Italians Telling "Jokes," or maybe Hispanics or Southerners, or African Americans. There is a common bond that both unites and distinguishes ethnic humor. Most of all, funny is funny, even "in" jokes that may be lost on a gentile listener. At the Royal George, the laughter was virtually continuous, meaning that the show connects, irrespective of gender, race, religion, or place of national origin. So go and enjoy already."
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Dan Zeff


   This show has been Jeff Recommended*

*The designation of "Jeff Recommended" is given to a production when at least ONE ELEMENT of the show was deemed outstanding by the opening night judges of The Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee. The entire production is then eligible for nomination for awards at the end of the season.
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