Review: Jackie Hoffman’s A Chanukah Charol

ChanukahCharol049.jpg.644x3600_q100Jackie Hoffman’s schtick is telling hilarious self-deprecating jokes about the sad state of her career. So has she changed her tune with A Chanukah Charol, turning the satire outward to spoof Charles Dickens? Nope, not really – she’s actually done something more creative, using Dickens’s hoary holiday chestnut as a frame to…well, continue telling hilarious self-deprecating jokes about the sad state of her career. She was already at “bah, humbug,” anyway, right?

Jackie starts having problems with a too-responsive synagogue audience in Queens, and storms backstage, where she has visions after combining Ambien with the rabbi’s Manischewitz. Replacing Jacob Marley with Yiddish theatre and film star Molly Picon – and that’s only the beginning of the celebrity substitutions – Jackie combines some of her strongest material with a frame that actually has some serious things to say about family, and what she (or anyone) is willing to do to be famous.

I’ve long known that she is one of the country’s best comic actresses, and this vehicle shows it even better than her legendary cabaret acts at places like Joe’s Pub and 54 Below. Jackie is continuously gaining confidence, shading her bitter comedy with moments of humble seriousness. Her cabaret shows have long been one of my very favorite things in the whole world, and this narrative variation really takes it to another level. Acid humor that never gets all the way to self pity, a great character actress who just gets more depth while never losing her razor edge – long may Jackie roar!

For tickets, click here.

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