JLife’s Sarah Nelson chats to LA-based comedian Avi Liberman about his inspiration and stand-up tours ahead of his JFest International performance in Leeds.
Avi Liberman’s quirky style has made him a favourite in comedy clubs from LA to New York. Born in Israel, raised in Texas, having gone to college in New York, and now living in LA, his style is a combination of experiences and topical issues told through a varied blend of characters and voices.
Avi has performed stand-up comedy on CBS’s ‘Late Late Show’ with Craig Ferguson, and Comedy Central’s ‘Premium Blend’ and ‘Make Me Laugh’, as well as NBC’s ‘Friday Night’. He’s also notched up acting credits, including ‘Dave’s World’ on CBS and ‘Boston Common’ on NBC.
Since 2001, Avi has successfully arranged widely-acclaimed stand-up comedy tours in Israel to help boost morale while donating all of the proceeds to a charity. The successful Comedy for Koby tour is now a bi-annual event, benefitting the Koby Mandell Foundation.
What led to you pursuing a career in comedy?
My start in comedy came about after I decided that I didn’t want to go to law or medical school. This career route was the only other option!
What inspires your material?
My material is basically inspired by my life experiences. As well as that, Jewish culture plays a big part in my act and career. I used to run away from doing any Jewish material and when I began to embrace it, things got much better not only for my career, but in life in general. You can’t run from who you are.
What has been your career highlight to date?
I would say a career highlight hasn’t been one specific moment, but the fact that we’ve been able to get the Comedy for Koby tour off the ground and have been consistently able to do the tours in Israel. That’s been one giant highlight.
Whose comedy work do you look up to?
My comedy heroes would probably be Don Rickles, George Carlin, and Mel Brooks.
How did the opportunity to perform at Leeds’ JFest International season come about?
The opportunity arose as a result of me doing other shows for Jewish organisations when I’ve passed through London on the way to Israel. I also did Limmud UK last year.
What else is in the pipeline?
As far as plans go, my main focus is on the tour in Israel which, having started in November, comes to an end on 6thDecember.
Avi Liberman will perform at Weetwood Hall, Otley Road, Leeds at 7.30pm on 10th December as part of the JFest International season. Tickets cost £10 from Makor – call 0113 268 0899, email firstname.lastname@example.org, visit Makorjewishcultureuk.org, or purchase them at the door.
And to find out more about Avi and Comedy for Koby, visit Aviliberman.com and Comedyforkoby.com.