Black Jew Dialogues - Skinny Fest 1

Article by Miles Johnson | 14 Aug 2006
The Black Jew Dialogues sounds funny on paper. Woody Allen is a funny man, as is Chris Rock. However in this instance, the combination of two of the great comedic racial stereotypes often comes across more Streisand and Ritchie than the previous pair. Ron and Larry, Black and Jewish respectively, have rented a room and have to write a play about racism, resulting in a dialogue between the two about the similarities in their people's histories and cultures. Ron is given a taste of crippling Jewish guilt and Larry is forced to wear a pair of big black testicles to understand how Middle America sees minorities.

This racial love-in atmosphere combined with blistering American liberal rhetoric on the perils of prejudice leave parts seeming like a Michael Moore giving a speech while on a tearful ecstasy come down. Analytical terminology such as "fear-o-types" is utilised earnestly to explain why white folk are just so damn suspicious of brothers and the comedy remains too safe, with some sections seemingly lifted from a government-sponsored educational video. Parts however do tickle the right places. The game "Jew or non-Jew", where Larry (the Jew) tests his "Jewdar" by asking members of the audience to stand up and proceeds to effortlessly separate Chosens from Gentiles is both impressive and entertaining. The pair's improvisional skills are also stylish but their particularly North American brand of humour ultimately fails to translate on the British stage.