Stand-up comic Beth Lapides considers herself a New Age Jew — “Never forget to be here now” is her mantra. Lapides will perform in her new solo show, “100% Happy 88% of the Time,” on Saturday, May 22 at 7:30 p.m. at a benefit for Temple Emanu-El. The performance is sponsored by Temple’s Women of Reform Judaism.
The show, which combines story, science and metaphysics, multimedia and music, sheds light on topics such as eviction, love, back pain, Hollywood humiliation and clingy Jewish parents, says Lapides, who notes that everyone in the audience can find something to laugh at.
“I used to be a bagel Jew but that’s not realistic in this post-Atkins time,” jokes Lapides, who grew up in New Haven, Conn. She and her husband, Greg Miller, started the Un-Cabaret in Los Angeles 12 years ago, bringing comics onstage to tell the stories of their lives. Four years ago, they moved from L.A. to Palm Springs, Calif.
Coming from a career in theatre and performance art, Lapides stepped into comedy in the mid-’80s, she says, “when there were a lot of us versus them and men versus women jokes. The punch lines were very violent.” Lapides set out to change that.
The LA Times has called her work “smart and funny.” She has appeared on “Sex and the City,” “Will and Grace,” CNN’s Comedy Central and been heard on NPR’s “All Things Considered.” The author of “Did I Wake You? Haiku for Modern Living,” she has written for such publications as the LA Times and the Utne Reader, and also pens “My Other Car is a Yoga Mat,” a monthly column in LA Yoga Magazine.
Lapides’ new show is about living in “these changing times, shifting from duality to connection,” she says. “Everything we think is bad that’s happening now, if we think about it, can help us be more connected.”
In her own life, reconciling her Jewish and New Age selves has been transformative. Growing up, she remembers hearing in synagogue that we should “never forget about the Holocaust,” but Ram Das’s “Be Here Now” also spoke to her.
“Part of Judaism I really love is how important it is to act on our beliefs,” says Lapides, “to act in mindful and courageous ways.”
Tickets are $20, and checks may be mailed to or dropped off at the Temple office. For more information, contact Chayah at 398-9729. Lapides will also perform her show on Saturday, June 19 at 8 p.m. at Hotel Congress and will hold a comedy workshop with Miller on June 20. For information about her other Tucson events in June, contact Miller at [email protected], Penelope Starr at 319-2464 or [email protected], or go online to bethlapides.com.