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Saturday, February 29, 2020

Funny man Ashley Blaker is at it again, humoring audiences with his latest stand-up show, “Goy Friendly.” The UK’s internationally acclaimed comedian returns to the United States this month with what critics are calling a hilarious and thought-provoking performance.

“Goy Friendly” tells the story of Blaker, an Orthodox Jew, who develops a life-changing friendship with Muslim comedian Imran Yusuf, who wants Blaker to explain Judaism and its practices. In response, Blaker develops a new set of 10 commandments for the 21st century, which needless to say has audiences in stitches.

According to Blaker, the show is quite fitting in today’s climate, where anti-Semitism is on the rise, especially in our local area. Offering clarity, even in comedy, certainly serves to break down barriers that seem to be causing groundless hate and intolerance, he believes.

“This show is about Jewish life, its beauty, its intricacies and absurdities, what divides us and most importantly what unites us—to each other and the wider world,” said Blaker. “The show aims to make the audience laugh but also for the audience to understand a little bit about why we do what we do.”

In August 2018, Blaker made his debut at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe with a sold-out run of his show “Observant Jew.” He is the first Orthodox Jewish comedian to be given his own BBC show—“Ashley Blaker’s Goyish Guide to Judaism”—which returned in October 2019 to rave reviews.

Blaker has been featured on PBS News Hour, CBS and Fox News; in the New York Times, New York Post, Financial Times, Jerusalem Post and Süddeutsche Zeitung; and in Jewish newspapers all across the world. In October 2019, Blaker also produced the triumphant return of the comedy phenomenon “Little Britain” after a 12-year hiatus.

Prior to becoming a stand-up comedian, Blaker was a producer and writer of TV and radio comedy, working with notable British comedians including James Corden, John Oliver and Russell Brand to name a few.

With “Goy Friendly,” Blaker is speaking to both Jews and non-Jews, making it more complex than what he has delivered in the past. This is a show for all types of people, said Blaker, who believes everybody likes to laugh and at the same time walk away with a newfound perspective on life and how we understand one another.

Performances of “Ashley Blaker: Goy Friendly” are on Mondays-Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 7:30 p.m., with matinees on Wednesdays at 3 p.m. and Sundays at 5 p.m. There is also an additional Saturday night performance on February 8 at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are $50 and can be purchased online at https://www.sohoplayhouse.com/ashley-blaker-goy-friendly.

By Andrea Nissel