In Yiddish it Sounds Better

September 26, 2015 by J-Wire News Service
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Australian comedy legend Austen Tayshus will headline a celebration of Yiddish schtick, comedy and cabaret at Elsternwick’s Kadimah centre next month.

 In Yiddish It Sounds Better! is one of more than ten events in the inaugural Melbourne Jewish Comedy Festival next month.

Austen Tayshus

Austen Tayshus

From the early vaudeville-style schtick of The Three Stooges and the Marx Brothers to Woody Allen and Mel Brooks, the Yiddish language has been a rich source of Anglo-American comedy for more than a century, said the show’s producer Fay Burstin.

“Hundreds of Yiddish words and expressions have morphed into western culture and language, from schmatta, schmendrik and chutzpah to schlepp and oy gevalt,” she said. “And many entered the vernacular as punchlines to jokes.”

The Yiddish folklore tradition of the schlemiel and the schlimazel, the foolish and the unlucky, made famous to English-speaking audiences by the US sitcom Laverne and Shirley, has continued to influence modern comics such as Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David.

But understanding Yiddish is no prerequisite to enjoying this rare evening of Jewish humour, most of which will be performed in English, said Burstin. The Yiddish performances will have translated English surtitles.

Brought up in an orthodox Jewish home with a Yiddish-speaking father, Austen Tayshus (aka Sandy Gutman) is a multi award-winning stand-up comic, actor and the co-creator of Australiana, the highest selling single in Australian recording history. He will perform in English but promises a headlining act peppered with Yiddish-inspired humour.

The show also features star funnyman Josh Glanc, who earned a 4-star review for his 2015 Melbourne International Comedy Festival hit show, 99 Schnitzels (Veal Ain’t One). Glanc, who works as a lawyer when not penning comedy, promises to unveil his first Yiddish-based character.

They will be joined by some of Melbourne’s best-loved Yiddish-speaking entertainers including musician Tomi Kalinski, poet and performerHinde Ena Burstin, actor Joe Tigel, journalist Leon Gettler and Yiddish enthusiast Dr Doodie Ringelblum.

Rising comedic talents, Jewish mothers and Glen Eira residents Sabina Bracka Berman and Yana Gotmaker will MC the show.

“I’m a mother of three, still a wife and working very hard at not working,” said Bracka Berman. “And if one more Jewish person thinks a compliment is saying ‘Ooh you look fantastic, have you lost weight?’ I’ll smack them with my bagel and TV remote.’’

Those who speak no Yiddish will platz with laughter just as much, so don’t be a schmuck, don your best schmattas and schlep to the Kadimah for an unforgettable evening of Yiddish-inspired laughs.

In Yiddish It Sounds Better! 

Sunday October 11, 7-8.30pm at the Kadimah Jewish Cultural Centre, 7 Selwyn St, Elsternwick

Tickets $30/$25 concession

Book online at

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