The Chutzpah Festival
My Son, the Waiter, a Jewish Tragedy

Dates and Venue 4 & 5 March 2014, Tues - Fri at 8pm | Norman & Annette Rothstein Theatre

Written and performed by Brad Zimmerman

Reviewer John Jane

Brad Zimmerman is, according to both Joan Rivers and the late George Carlin, one of the best opening acts around. As part of this year’s Chutzpah Festival, Zimmerman brought his one-man-show to the Norman & Annette Rothstein Theatre, and since there was no opening act for him, he warmed up the audience with a few throw-away gags.

The rest of the performance shuffles between picaresque biography and conventional stand-up comedy. The show’s sub-title: a Jewish Tragedy tends to imply that having a son working as a waiter is some kind of failure. But then, the point of Zimmerman’s self-deprecating satire is that his well meaning, though meddlesome Jewish Mum is the primary source of his comic schtick.

Zimmerman has a concise and deliberate style of delivery. Almost as if he was lecturing a bunch of students on complex linear algebra. He is at his best when talking about personal relationships with his mother, his father and past girlfriends. However, the comedian/actor has an opinion on just about everything, including, but not limited to: airline food, reality television, television in general, golf and blind dating.

When Zimmerman earned a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in theatre, he headed to New York City to find work. Between acting gigs, he did what many other actors do and waited on tables. Unfortunately, his waiting job took over from his acting job, until 29 years later he came to the realization that he no longer had any desire to be the best, wisecracking that he "made more money at my bar mitzvah than I did the whole of last year." Despite pleas from his mother to quit and work for his father selling furniture, he decided to enrol in a stand-up class when in his mid-forties.

He’s not quite there yet, but Brad Zimmerman could follow in a long line of brilliant Jewish comedians like: Billy Crystal, Sarah Silverman, Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David. He has natural comic timing and the ability to laugh at himself and induce audiences to laugh along with him.

© 2014 John Jane