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.
"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.