Something to Laugh About

March 27, 2014

032814_modiIt’s often said that the funniest people are really the saddest. But that’s not the case with Modi Rosenfeld, an Israeli-born stand-up comedian who will perform at the Gordon Center for Performing Arts on Sunday, March 30.

Going by the stage name of Modi, Rosenfeld is actually a very happy guy. It seems he’s also easy to please, since he has found fulfillment in the disparate realms of investment banking, which he left 15 years ago, synagogue performance — he’s a trained cantor — and film production, which is his current project. In between, Rosenfeld, who is in his early 40s, has managed to become one of the country’s top young comedians.

“I had no idea I had comedy in me,” he said. “But I’m good at imitating dialects. I used to imitate all the secretaries at Merrill Lynch, and finally one of the people at work set up an open mic night for me.” Right from the start, stand-up “just felt right.”

Rosenfeld’s family moved from Israel to the United States when he was 7, settling in Woodmere, N.Y. Now, the comedian makes his home on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. He spends much of his time performing at comedy clubs in New York City and Los Angeles, but he also performs at venues across the country and overseas.

“My colleagues at JCCs all across the country have been raving about Modi’s performances for years, and we are thrilled to finally have a chance to bring him to Baltimore for a night of hilarious laughter,” said Randi Benesch, managing director of arts and culture at the Gordon Center.

Rosenfeld says he is influenced by “old-school comedians” such as Alan King, Don Rickles and George Carlin.

“I was there for the tail end of the Catskills [culture] so I got to see some of the best. Performing there turns you from just a comedian to a performer,” said Rosenfeld.

When it comes to today’s comedians, he admires newer talents such as Louis CK, Nick DiPaolo and David Powell. “They’re all friends and great comics, good craftsmen,” he said.

Through his own observation, crowds can tell he’s a Jewish guy from New York as soon as he walks on stage. Although he performs for many Jewish groups and jokes about topics that reflect his Jewish heritage, Rosenfeld makes a point of performing comedy accessible to all.

“I joke about the differences between Jews and non-Jews but also about how we’re all the same,” he said. “Funny is funny!”

“I like to unite the audience,” added the comic, who says he can just look at an audience to know what it will find funny. “I feel the energy in the room.”

Audiences at the Gordon Center can expect a very funny show, said Rosenfeld. “I’ll be doing some new material. I’ve been honing it.”

For more information call 800-518-2819 X2 or to order tickets online, visit gordoncenter.com. The show starts at 7:30 pm.

sellin@jewishtimes.com

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