A Traditional Jewish Christmas

Evening of Kung Pao Kosher Comedy

To add insult to injury, those who've endured the weeks of commercial bombardment without even getting the benefit of opening unwanted presents around a dead tree have to deal with the fact that there's nothing to do on Christmas. Most restaurants are closed; those that aren't are charging an arm and a leg for special yule nutloafs and festive libations. There's not much music going on out there, either. A lot of bars and clubs are closed, or rented out for company holiday parties. On TV, it's a nightmare of schmaltzy redundancy: A Christmas Storysegues into Miracle on 34th Street, which leads right into It's a Wonderful Life, over and over. The world's a skipping record, stuck on a Christmas carol for a day. There's no getting away from it.

Growing up in New York, comic Lisa Geduldig finally came up with a solution. Gathering together a number of fellow Jewish friends, she started the annual Jewish "Christmas tradition" of heading to a Chinese restaurant for dinner. Platters of food, conversation, and jokes circled around the table. This was the inspiration for "An Evening of Kung Pao Kosher Comedy," a night of Jewish comedians performing in a Chinese restaurant.

Geduldig returns as host of the event, which this year draws L.A.-based comedian Carol Leifer. A writer for Seinfeld for several years, Leifer went on to co-produce many episodes of the hit show. Rumor has it she's the real life "Elaine" -- and she doesn't deny it. In addition to continuing work in Hollywood -- no doubt a source of considerable material in and of itself -- Leifer remains one of the most successful Jewish comedians on the stand-up circuit. Also performing are writer, actor, and comic Betsy Salkind and local queer comic Dan Rothenberg. A portion of the proceeds benefits Breast Cancer Action and the Holocaust Center of Northern California's Tolerance Education Program.

Carol Leifer headlines "An Evening of Kung Pao Kosher Comedy."
Carol Leifer headlines "An Evening of Kung Pao Kosher Comedy."

"Kung Pao Kosher Comedy" happens Friday and Saturday with 6 p.m. dinner shows (sold out) and 9:30 p.m. cocktail shows at the New Asia Restaurant, 772 Pacific (between Grant & Stockton), S.F. Tickets to the cocktail show are $30, and include Chinese hors d'oeuvres and a drink. The show continues at 7 p.m. Sunday, preceded by a 5:30 p.m. dim sum buffet, at the Herbst Theater, 401 Van Ness (at McAllister), S.F. Tickets are $25 for the show, $40 for buffet and show; call 522-3737.

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