Odd Couple of Comedy

April 28, 2007

Author: Ron Csillag

Source: Toronto Star


So a Muslim and a Jew walk onto a stage.

Er, that's it.

What sounds like a set-up to a punchline is actually the point of "The Laugh in Peace Tour," featuring Muslim comic Azhar Usman and Rabbi Bob Alper, who will team up this Tuesday night at the Toronto Centre for the Arts in "an evening of non-political laughter."

No rimshots, please. The show will benefit a serious cause, Regesh Family & Child Services, which serves youth and families at risk in the Toronto area. The following night, the duo plays Beth Jacob Synagogue in Hamilton.

Alper, billed as the "world's only practising clergyman doing stand-up comedy – intentionally," is a preppy 62-year-old Reform rabbi who still has a foot in the pulpit. He lives in white-bread Vermont, where he once heard a voice saying, "If you build a deli, they will come."