Arts and Culture | Local

Local comic has roots on New York’s Lower East Side

Simon Goldstein, aka “Simon the Bald” (Photo courtesy Simon Goldstein)

Growing up on New York’s Lower East Side, Simon Goldstein, 83, aka “Simon the Bald,” loved the humor of comedian Myron Cohen.

As he got older, he became a fan of edgier comics, such as Rodney Dangerfield and George Carlin.

A former actor, he decided to try his luck on the comedy circuit when he moved to Tucson 10 years ago. He’s had a recurring gig at Laffs Comedy Cafe as a “very special guest” – that means he doesn’t get paid, he explains. Simon began acting when he was about 30 years old, and appeared in more than 70 plays, including a 1969 Broadway run of Shakespeare’s “Henry V,” which earned him an Actors’ Equity card.

As a card-carrying union member, “now I can tell people what kind of work I’m out of,” he jokes.

Simon attended Stuyvesant High School and Hunter College, but dropped out to start working. Forty-five years later, he got a bachelor’s degree in theater and language arts from Western Carolina University.

Now, along with guest spots every six weeks as part of Laff’s professional weekend shows, he’s a regular at the club’s Thursday night open mics.

While his material for Laffs uses adult language and themes, Simon still has a soft spot for Myron Cohen jokes.

“A little girl walks into a bakery and tells the owner, ‘My mommy found a fly in the raisin bread,’” he relates.

“The owner says, ‘Bring back the fly, I’ll give you a raisin,” he concludes, with a Yiddish accent.

Simon often uses that joke as an opener for his routine. “I’ll tell the audience I like doing that dialect. It’s a nostalgic reminder of the neighborhood I grew up in as a kid … Puerto Rican.”

Simon will be appearing at Laff’s on Saturday, Oct. 31. He’s also available to perform for local groups. Contact him at