“Too Jewish” to celebrate with live broadcast

Rabbi Samuel M. Cohon records the "Too Jewish" radio show. (Karen Wright/AJP)
Rabbi Samuel M. Cohon records the “Too Jewish” radio show. (Karen Wright/AJP)
Robert Klein will headline a live radio broadcast celebrating the 10th anniversary of "Too Jewish" (Courtesy Temple Emanu-El)
Robert Klein will headline a live radio broadcast celebrating the 10th anniversary of “Too Jewish” (Courtesy Temple Emanu-El)

The “Too Jewish” radio show with Rabbi Sam Cohon and Friends will celebrate its 10th anniversary with a live radio variety show broadcast from the Fox Theatre on March 2 at 7:45 p.m., featuring comedian Robert Klein along with Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, U.S. Rep. Ron Barber, Amy Hirshberg Lederman, Rabbi Billy Lewkowicz, the Avanim Rock Band and the Sons of Orpheus choir, among others.

Klein, says Cohon, is “not only one of the funniest Jewish comics alive, but one of the funniest comics alive.”

Klein’s career encompasses more than 40 years in comedy, film, TV and Broadway. He was a member of the “Second City” theatrical troupe in Chicago and was nominated twice for Grammy Awards for “Best Comedy Album of the Year.” He received a Tony Award nomination for Best Actor and won a Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for his performance in the Neil Simon musical, “They’re Playing Our Song.” His 1993 performance in Wendy Wasserstein’s “The Sisters Rosensweig” earned him an Obie and the Outer Critics Circle Award. In 1975, Klein was the first comedian to appear in a live concert on HBO and he has gone on to do nine one-man shows for HBO, as well as hundreds of appearances on late night talk shows. He’s appeared on numerous TV series, including a recurring guest-star role on “Law and Order.” His film credits include “Hooper,” “The Owl and the Pussycat,” “Primary Colors,” “Two Weeks Notice,” and “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.” Born in the Bronx, he is also the author of “The Amorous Busboy of Decatur Avenue,” a memoir of his early years.

“He kind of reminds me of a modern-day Alan King, acerbic, funny, heimish,” says Cohon.

Since its Tucson debut Aug. 4, 2002, “Too Jewish” has aired on Sunday mornings. It is currently broadcast at KVOI 1030 AM at 9 a.m.

Some of Cohon’s favorite guests over the years include actor Ed Asner, whose parents said he’d never make it; singer/songwriter Neil Sedaka, who talked about the importance of Yiddish; author and poet Marge Piercy, “pungent and to the point”; and author and musician Kinky Friedman of “Kinky Friedman and the Texas Jewboys” fame, “off-the wall … one of the funniest guys we’ve had on.” Perhaps the most powerful guest, says Cohon, was Holocaust survivor, author and activist Elie Wiesel, who responded to a question about whether he believes in God, “I don’t know, but I pray to him three times a day.”

The format for the show at the Fox will include stand-up by Klein as well as interviews with various guests, skits and music. Some

serious topics will be discussed and “we’ll have some shtick, because it’s Jewish. It’s ‘Deli Home Companion,’” says Cohon.

Proceeds from the event will benefit Jewish Family & Children’s Services of Southern Arizona, Temple Emanu-El and Tucson Hebrew Academy.

Tickets are available at www.foxtuc sontheatre.org or at the Fox Theatre box office, 17 W. Congress St. For sponsorship opportunities, contact Nanci Levy at nan cilevy@comcast.net.