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Hanukkah comedy show returns to Union Hall
COURIER LIFE, DECEMBER 20-26, 2019 49
By Kevin Duggan This show is a gelt-y pleasure!
An annual comedy show
featuring all Jewish performers will
return this weekend to put Hanukkah
in the spotlight. The fourth annual
“Chanukahstravaganza,” at Park Slope’s
Union Hall on Dec. 21, celebrates the
festival of lights during a time of year
when Santa Claus and a baby in a manger
tend to hog all the attention, according to
one of the show’s founders.
“People mostly think of Christmas,
and other holidays like Hanukkah and
Kwanzaa become kind of sidebars. With
this, Hanukkah becomes the main event
for one night,” said Lana Schwartz.
During the show, subtitled “Brighter
than Ever,” a half-dozen comedians will
perform standup focused on the eight-day
holiday, which lends itself to laughs more
than other, more somber events in the
Jewish calendar, according to Schwartz.
“This is one of the more uplifting
holidays — you don’t have to fast,” she
said. “A lot of Jewish holidays are kind of
Schwartz and the event’s co-founder,
fellow comedian Ilana Michelle Rubin,
will emcee the show and perform short
sketches between the acts, including a
recurring segment about “Forgotten
Heroes of Hanukkah” — lesser-known
characters involved in the miraculous eight
nights of oil .
The founders will also act out a few
Hanukkah rom-coms — a Jewish spin
on the many romantic Christmas specials
that air at this time of year. Previous years
have also featured “Hanukkah Carols,”
according to Schwartz.
For the audience, there will be plenty
of chocolate gelt to snack on, along with a
dreidel-spinning competition and a raffle,
with prizes that include two VIP tickets to
a taping of “The Daily Show,” and a signed
copy of performer Josh Gondelman’s book
All proceeds from the raffle and ticket
sales will go to the Center for Advancing
Holocaust Survivor Care, said Schwartz.
The annual event has become a great
place for participants to share their
different experiences of Hanukkah, said
Rubin, who added that people of all faiths
are welcome at the show.
“What’s most important to us is making
people laugh and share this holiday with
people who are or aren’t Jewish,” she said.
“Chanukahstravaganza: Brighter Than
Ever” at Union Hall 702 Union St. between
Fifth and Sixth avenues in Park Slope, (718)
638–4400, www.unionhallny.com. Dec 21
at 7:30 pm. $12 ($10 in advance).
Founders of the fest: Ilana Rubin and
Lana Schwartz will host a night of
Hanukkah-themed comedy on Dec 21.
Photo by Mindy Tucker