Fans of Ashley Blaker will have lots of opportunities to sample his newest jokes this year.
The ultra-Orthodox comedian has a busy few months coming up, incuding four shows in Israel, a set in London's Soho Theatre and new BBC radio show and a residency in New York's Gramercy Theater.
“It wasn’t easy, it had to be squeezed in among other stuff, but I really wanted to make sure I did come to Israel,” Blaker told the Jerusalem Post. “People are always saying: ‘When are you coming to Israel, when are you coming to Israel?’”
The shows will be part of his Meshuga Frum tour, where he makes jokes about people who are - like him - very observant Jews.
“Meshuga frum [crazy observant] is the kind of phrase you hear all the time – this idea that basically anyone – doesn’t matter how frum you are – anyone who does more than you is meshuga frum and anyone who does less, they’re like complete goyim,” Blaker said. “All Jews think that what they are is the actual ideal perfection of what you should be doing.”
Blaker has promised that the act is completely new: “There is not one joke I’m telling, there is not one minute of this new show in Eretz Yisrael that I did last time,” he said.
He is also preparing a slightly different act for the American audeince of his 35 shows at the Gramercy over the summer, including a bit about how much Jews love sushi, helpfully illustrated by a kosher sushi restaurant opening next door to the theatre.
“It couldn’t be more perfect – you can have a little bit of sushi before my show, you can have a little after. It was bashert.”
Finally, a little bit closer to home Ashley Blaker’s Goyish Guide to Judaism will launch on the BBC in May. “It’s for a non-Jewish audience, it’s a very kind of personal show,” he said. “It’s more about me and my journey, how I became religious and why I’m still religious.”