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What a 'World'!

December 10, 2009 By:
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Got a light? Bryan Fogel and Sam Wolfson do -- and offer some horns of plenty, too.
Does "The World of Jewtopia" tilt from right to left?

Well, it does have its own weird, wobbly spin -- thanks to First Citizens of the "World," Sam Wolfson and Bryan Fogel.

Now the two stand-out stand-up comics/playwrights/actors are egg-nogging on fans to attend the Philadelphia premiere and pre-Broadway run of "World" at the Kimmel Center downtown.

Latkes roasting on an open fire ... "What better way for a Jew to celebrate on Christmas Eve than to see our show; just go out for some Chinese first and then come to see us," ho-ho-ho-s Fogel of the show's Dec. 24 to Dec. 27 run (www.kimmelcenter.org).

Just Jew it -- as they are want to say -- and the national success of their prior play, "Jewtopia," topped all expectations as these two comedians went for broke -- after being broke -- and did some fun-raising to go with the fundraising during their long-running off-Broadway hit back in 2004.

Off and running now for Broadway, where silver belles are Wednesday-matinee mainstays, they are attempting to prove that "The World of Jewtopia" is an op for audiences to see the real G8 in action -- as in the Jewish phrase, "Gee, ate already? But I put out such a spread, working all night to feed you ... "

It's their "World" and welcome to it!

But both merry men warn that this is not "Jewtopia" Jew-jitsued -- a twist here, a turn there on the original: This is a world that even Suzie Wong could wander into and think that she got it right.

It's not just for Jews, both men insist, but it helps if you've ever quoted the saying, "If I am not for myself, who will be for me? And when I am for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?" at a Hillel mixer and still wondered why you didn't get any action.

"Completely new" is how the two Jews call their Broadway-bound, howl-of-a-holiday show with them as greeting cards.

"Just the two of us" -- without Bill Withers -- "whole new stand-up, visual aids," and invitations to the audience to participate and voice their opinion.

Are they nuts?

"When you give a Jewish audience license to say what they want," explains Fogel, you might as well be giving them a license to kvell -- or complain.

"It's like we're performing at the Jewish Apollo."

Come give a listen, and then give a holler on how to pick the best seats in a restaurant, which is a Jewish specialty. Or, better yet, learn how best to disinfect your hotel room when you check in and check out the germs left behind.

"First, you bring the Lysol," explains Fogel. "You disinfect the bedspread, the remote control -- but not the minibar."

And why not? Because, he reasons, what Jew would pay six bucks for a mini-bottle of water?

This unorthodox commercial was brought to you by a Modern Orthodox Jew with an oy for details: "At 13," says Fogel, "I started a car-detailing business. It paid for my first bicycle."

There's no recycling at the Kimmel, he says of the wacky "World," where audiences should check their "egads" at the door. "No matter how you're brought up," notes the Reform-raised Wolfson, "we're all nuts in some way."

Laugh, look at the two of us: "Just look at our Bar Mitzvahs," reasons Wolfson. "Mine was like Mardi Gras, and Brian's was 10 people and no pictures allowed to be taken."

With such differences, how do they tolerate each other now?

"We don't," they both claim. "We hate each other."

Oh, these Jewish jokers. But the one-time struggling stand-ups struggle these days keeping their activities straight: Their book, Jewtopia: The Chosen Book for the Chosen People, was a choice coffee-table book -- decaf, of course -- for readers who liked a little sweet 'n' lowdown on inside out-there Jewish humor.

Equal-opportunity offenders? They're not taking the opportunity to do it with their new show, both agree.

"It's family-friendly," insists Fogel of their "World."

A play, a book, a new play ... a movie version ("We've got Carrie Fisher and Elliot Gould" interested, says Fogel), what's left ... an opera?

Or, maybe, muses Fogel, a musical. "Maybe we can get Mandy Patinkin."

First, they have to get to the Kimmel, where both hope to sleigh audiences -- and that includes a special someone named Rudolph.

"He's the one with the red nose ... well, allergies, pollen ... ." Of course, he's Jewish, adds Wolfson.

He'll be joined by other Jewish elves in the audience.

"What better way," reasons Fogel, "to come out of the depression of Chanukah than to spend a few hours laughing at yourself."

Oh, one more thing, Brian. Since you mentioned that Jews should load up on their Chinese food before attending the Dec. 24 performance, well, what kind of Chinese goes well with "World"?

What else, he retorts, than "shrimp dumplings with matzah balls?" 

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