‘Just For Us’ was Just Plain Funny
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‘Just For Us’ was Just Plain Funny

Atlantans got a spicy taste of unique comedy from Alex Edelman using antisemitism as a launching pad.

After 37 years with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and now with the AJT, , Jaffe’s focus is lifestyle, art, dining, fashion, and community events with emphasis on Jewish movers and shakers.

Alex Edelman took questions from the Atlanta audience whom he said had a “Hebbie tone.”
Alex Edelman took questions from the Atlanta audience whom he said had a “Hebbie tone.”

The weekend of Jan. 6 scheduled sell out shows for one of the hottest comedians with a unique and especially energetic young Bostonian who is topical and mesmerizing concurrently.

Alex  Edelman’s show, “Just For Us,”  at the Alliance Theatre, is loosely based on his undercover attendance at a white nationalist meeting in Queens, N.Y.; but is mainly a one-man show that delves into many aspects of the Jewish experience seen through a 30-plus-year-old still questioning and molding his Jewishness vis a vis his Yeshiva upbringing and the reference to himself as neurodiverse, having some “sexual secrets,” well-meaning parents, and the world around him seen through the lens of a Semitic kaleidoscope.

Local attorney and fan, Ben Levy, said, “Alex Edelman has such a unique stage presence, and his comedy is unabashedly Jewish. He weaves different memories of his life and Jewish identity … ‘Just For Us’ is timely but also timeless since antisemitism is timely and timeless. He was hilarious and his complex Jewish identity was so relatable. I loved the story about how he and his very sheltered brother first learned about Christmas when they were nine years old and ended up celebrating it for a very unexpected and very Jewish value: empathy.”

Just wait until the Yeshiva head of school gets wind of it and calls Alex’s dad, an observant Jew and MIT professor.

Stanley Daniels, Cookie and Fred Aftergut, and Lee Krinsky get ready for some unusual laughs.

The “thing” about Edelman is his kinetic, frantic, yet flowing, energy as he gallops, dips, and pauses about the stage. In the style one of America’s most favorite comedians, Sebastian Maniscalco, who sold out Madison Square Garden in 24 hours, Edelman is a physical comedian. And it works in his favor, even when he’s sitting on a stool at a controversial pro-Nazi meeting, chatting with a potential “lady” and warding off antisemitic inquiries, he’s moving — body, eyes, neck swirls, language, et al.

Some of the comedic highlights are attending synagogue with Jared Kushner (Edelman says he’s “loud”), defining whiteness in Boston’s WASP hierarchy, explaining how he is the “vessel” bringing bad news in describing a friend’s baby as a brisket with two eyes, poking fun at anti-vaxers, and grouping his antisemitic social media followers on X/Twitter into a Jewish Federation Contributors file, much to their chagrin.

On more serious topics, he lamented, “I could say one word about Israel and half of you would be offended. We’re not just in our own silos, we are in our own mirrors.”

Gail Solomon (center, with Atlanta Falcons scarf) organized 68 Ahavath Achim seniors

Is there a crossover for white versus Jewish privilege? Trying to retell an Edelman joke is like describing the first taste of a lox, bagel, and cream cheese … you just have to witness it firsthand. Can one relate to a Jewish living room where everything is covered in plastic and only used for guests and tragedies (shiva)? True or false? Alex’s brother is on the Israeli Skelton Bobsled team and trains in Munich.

After the performance, Edelman changed clothes and took questions from the audience where he eschewed Jewish geography tales of who knows whom and got anyway. He said our questions had a “Hebbie tone” and explained the origins of his success were in Wales and Great Britain (Actually, non-Jews like his show more), and how COVID put a kink in his momentum. He got pointers from Billy Crystal about how to use a microphone and redid his act. Someone asked if his parents knew he was a comedian, and he quipped, “No, they think I’m a law clerk for Oliver Wendell Holmes.” He mused that he would like to think of himself as a kinder Sasha Baron Cohen (of “Borat” fame).

Speaking of Cohens, a sprinkling of Andy Cohen peeked through, too. A Welshman who met his first Jew, Edelman, when queried about his opinion, said “Fidgety. I see him as fidgety.”

Meanwhile, half the fun is Edelman enjoying his own jokes, even though he’s done them hundreds of times. Talent never gets stale.

Gail Solomon, as part of her volunteer role at Ahavath Achim Synagogue leading the mature adults group, sold and corralled 68 attendees in a block for the Sunday matinee which was an impetus for adding an extra Sunday night show on Jan. 7.

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