Latkes And Laughs Leave Audience Light-Hearted

What can be better than having that craved deli meal at Ben’s Kosher Deli followed by a performance by three comics (and guest comic as well)? David Dczegledi, manager of the location at the Bay Terrace Shopping Center, decided to incorporate the comedians with a short choice menu that began with three latkes per person (accompanied by apple sauce). It was a sell-out crowd for this second event of dinner and a show that even had former Manager, Hal Simon attending. Dinner began at 7 pm with the usual rye bread, sour and half sour pickles and cole slaw. Entrée choices were: brisket of beef, turkey or half of a roasted chicken. Perfect for the crowd attending. Brisket was quite moist and did not need the gravy. You then had a choice of a “side” of: kasha varnishkes, mushroom and barley, vegetables, mashed or French fried potatoes. Having attended with another person, we ordered the kasha and mushroom sharing he two. Unlimited soda or coffee, I just had to have the cream soda, not drinking it since I lived in the Bronx back in the 50’s. Dessert was rugalach. We each got one chocolate and one raspberry.

Czegedi did not have to audition the comedians as he employed a company called The Wilshire Comedy Group, run by comic Alan Streisfeld, who hosts comedy shows such as this at restaurants in Long Island.

Upon reading this review, it is important that I share that I have a background of being a comedian, singer, and actress many years ago with theatre, films, and night clubs. I have also taught comedy workshops.

First up was Alan Kimbarow, who was also introducing the acts. With his large physique, he began talking about his nickname of “Big Al.” He apparently was not getting the laughs that he expected and kept mentioning his nickname. When that didn’t work, he went straight for the sex humor after pausing long enough to figure out what to say. What is it about male comics not having enough material to not degrade their wives (whether they have them or not) or mother-in-law? I was personally bored with him and did not find anything he said as being humorous.

Nextcame Les Bayer who plays the banjo and delivers one-liners. It was like hearing a less professional version of Henny Youngman without the perfectly timed delivery. Bayer was only a bit more humorous and still needed to poke fun of his ex-wife and dating with emphasis on the female looking badly. Get with the times, guys. Women are fighting back this year! I hope the two of you change your underwear more than you change your material!

Did the trend end? At this point I thought I was attending a “showcase” rather than a show. Thank goodness for Peter Bales, who is an Associate Professor of History and Political Science at Queensborough Community College as his “day job.” In addition Bales teaches comedy with Stand-Up University at the Brokerage Comedy Club in Bellmore.

Bales was given the longest amount of time and the audience loved him so much that they were not shy in throwing out their own funny lines. He not only had a great rapport but a pretty funny (but not hilarious) act without having to degrade anyone, taking every opportunity to engage the audience. It all boils down to the response from the attendees and whether their time proved to be more than just “light-hearted.”

Dinner goers left happy and with doggy bags. No one cried, “Where’s the beef!” Dczegledi said that he will be scheduling another dinner/show in a few months. I certainly encourage him to do so. We need this type of local evening activity. Hey, and parking is free.

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