Fringe Review: Old Jewish Jokes

When Ivor Dembina was a young man, he was given some advice. “Never forget to tell ‘em the old Jewish jokes.”


Presented by Ivor Dembina
Reviewed on 23 February 2017

When Ivor Dembina was a young man, his father gave him a few pieces of advice. “Be careful what you say, that mouth will always get you into trouble” and “never forget to tell ‘em the old Jewish jokes.” Three decades into his career and he’s still heeding the second part that advice, at least.

Dembina made his name in the alternative comedy scene, but this show has at its heart a seemingly never-ending array of classic Jewish jokes, delivered in an amiable North London accent. There are some absolute crackers and though the material may have been around for a while, these are some of the sharpest one-liners you’ll hear all Fringe. As a result, there are plenty of laughs as he weaves them into the tale of a disastrous benefit gig that itself turns out to be a long shaggy dog story.

His re-enactment of the conversations that form part of this story can be a little long-winded, but before long he’s launching into another raft of jokes about The Holocaust, Israel or old Jewish stereotypes. Despite the subject matter, the show never strays into uncomfortable territory due to Dembina’s tact and preference for gently self-deprecating humour rather than mean jokes that punch down.

Dembina’s many years of experience are a great asset and he is completely at ease onstage whether delivering prepared material or chatting to audience members. The nature of Old Jewish Jokes means that it’s easy to enjoy and if you don’t like a joke, no problem – you’ll only have to wait a few seconds for the next one.

Reviewed by Alexis Buxton-Collins

Rating out of 5: 4

VenueThe Sky Room at The Griffins Hotel
Season:  Until 25/2
Duration: 60 minutes
Tickets:  $20, Concession $15

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