Three and a half Jewish women have the last laugh

A group of Jewish and Jew-ish women are launching a comedy night in north London


(l-r) Marian Pashley, Meryl O'Rourke, (top right) Rachel Creeger and Lara Silverstone are Three and a Half Jewish Women

The stand-up comedy scene may be primarily associated with men, but that’s not deterring a group of Jewish female comedians from putting on a night of laughs at a north London theatre next Wednesday.

Three and a Half Jewish Women stars Jewish stand-ups Lara Silverstone, Rachel Creeger and Meryl O’Rourke, and is compered by actor and comedian Marian Pashley.

The show, which has been put together by Silverstone and Pashley, promises thoughtful, intelligent comedy for adults – with, of course, a strong Jewish theme running throughout.

“We’re all going to be representing different brands of what it means to be Jewish in 2024,” says Silverstone. “I’m Jewish, I went to JFS but I’m not religious – neither is Meryl. Rachel is observant and keeps Shabbat, which is one of the reasons we’re performing on a Wednesday.”

Pashley is the only non-Jewish performer, although she has recently discovered she may have a Jewish ancestor. “There’s been a suggestion that my mother’s grandfather may have been Jewish,” she says. “So, I’m the ‘half’ bit of the title – ‘Three and an Eighth Jewish Women’ didn’t have quite the same ring to it!”

Even nowadays, it’s still fairly unusual to find an all-women comedy night. “Female comedians are still a bit of a rare breed,” says Silverstone. “Women have always faced harassment on the [comedy] circuit; you have to deal with promoters who generally try it on with you, and when you’re young and just want to get on with your career, it can be horrible and intimidating. It’s another pressure on top of being a performer.”

It was this pressure, however, that probably brought Pashley and Silverstone together 20 years ago: they first met when they were both gigging on the comedy circuit and formed a strong bond. “There was a bunch of female comics who used to work together quite a lot. We’d go for a drink afterwards, we’d share stories and back each other up,” Pashley recalls.

Their careers later went in different directions – Pashley now acts in commercials and does medical role plays, and has written for TV and radio, while Silverstone, initially a playwright, taught secondary school drama for 16 years before retraining as a hypnotherapist. As well as running a private practice, she has found a way to combine it with comedy and now performs stage hypnosis.

She and Pashley got talking about doing a night at the Arts Depot in Finchley and decided they wanted to put on a female-led comedy night. “We were thinking about the catchment area of the Arts Depot, Lara being Jewish and having a lot of family in the area,” Pashley says. “I’ve worked with Meryl over the years, and Rachel is another local comedian who does loads of writing, so doing an all-female Jewish comedy night came together organically.”

They’re not too worried about how a Jewish show might be perceived at the moment. “I don’t want to enter into a political debate about Israel,” Silverstone says. “Even though I’m not religious, I’m not ashamed of my Judaism. I don’t want to be silenced or made to feel guilty. I want to be allowed to be Jewish and not be afraid.”

“We just want it to be a really nice addition to the Arts Depot,” says Pashley. “Being in a theatre rather than a pub sets the tone for where we want to be going with it.

“It’s a friendly, comfortable, grown-up night for people who are open, intelligent and who love theatre.”

Three and a Half Jewish Women

Wednesday June 26


Click here for tickets

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