Laff Riot at Chutzpah’s “My Son the Waiter, a Jewish Tragedy”
Brad Zimmerman presents his one-man show as part of the Chutzpah Festival at the Norman and Annette Rothstein Theatre and it’s a blast! Zimmerman turns a combination of standup routines and hilarious anecdotes into a seamless revue of his life.
Brad Zimmerman presents his one-man show as part of the Chutzpah Festival at the Norman and Annette Rothstein Theatre and it’s a blast. Zimmerman turns a combination of standup routines and hilarious anecdotes into a seamless revue of his life. To borrow a comment from comedian/actor Brad Garrett: "I laughed, I cried, I forgot where I parked."
Zimmerman is both a gifted actor (he had a recurring role on “The Sopranos”), and a bitingly satirical comic. He moved to New York City in 1978 to follow his acting dream. Like many aspiring actors, he became a waiter and spent the next 29 years waiting on tables. “That’s a lot longer than is considered understandable.” Most of us would never last that long, but Zimmerman stuck with it, eventually breaking into stand-up comedy, opening for the likes of George Carlin, Brad Garrett and Joan Rivers.
“I don’t really live life,” says Zimmerman at the start of the show, “I tolerate it.” He goes on to say that it’s very humbling being a waiter for 29 years. "I told people I made more money at my Bar Mitzvah then I did last year."
It’s this kind of cutting, self-deprecating humour that keeps the audience laughing. He could write the book about life as a waiter in New York and it would be a best seller. “I tell customers I know two things about wine. We either have it or we don’t.”
Naturally, as with all Jewish comedy, he has great punch lines about his mother. . "My friend's mother bragged about her son selling his business for 97 million dollars. My mother bragged that if all goes well, Brad will be buying a bookcase." She wanted to change the name of his show to “My Son the Waiter, a Jewish Mother’s Tragedy!”
He overheard a woman talking on her cell phone about her French Riviera vacation, “So I took out my cell phone and talked about how I turned the fan on high in my apartment for my summer vacation.”
A talented and creative actor, He can change his voice in a heartbeat to portray his parents, customers he's waited on, and former girlfriends. At one point he switches to a Scottish accent recalling a role he played in college.
Since the premiere of his one-man play, Zimmerman has never had to wait on tables again. His show is a funny, self-mocking primer on how to succeed by never giving up. He says he won’t be able to retire even after he’s dead.
Zimmerman has learned important life lessons along the way. The one that meant the most is that “Money does not buy happiness. The pursuit of excellence does. I am a lucky man. Even though I got started late, I got a second chance.” It’s this kind of ironic life-lesson experience that permeates his comedy and makes it different and special.
He says he continues to work on the show as he travels around with it. I know it will only get better, but it’s well worth seeing right now.
Chutzpah presents “My Son the Waiter, a Jewish Tragedy” at the Norman & Annette Rothstein Theatre 8pm, March 4th and 5th.