About Joel

“In all my years working with Jews, I have never gotten such overwhelmingly positive feedback. If you have the chance, book him!”

Jeff Braverman | Majestic Passover Vacations

Well, hello!

I’m Joel Chasnoff, stand-up comic, author, Internet-TV-Show host, and creator/host of the forthcoming Podcast, “Interesting Jews.”

My mission is simple: to bring people together through laughter.

Why?

Because when we laugh together, we are together — even if we’re not able to be in the same room, like right now during the pandemic.

Stand-up Comedy. Over the course of my career, I’ve performed at more than 1,000 Jewish events in 10 countries, and more than 200 clubs and colleges across North America.

Books. I write almost exclusively in the first-person; I like to explore the stories that shape our lives, especially the absurd experiences we all go through but don’t necessarily want to talk about.

My books include the comedic memoir The 188th Crybaby Brigade about my year as a tank gunner in the Israeli army; the cookbook Balaboosta, which I co-wrote with Israeli chef and “Chopped!” Champion Einat Admony; and the forthcoming There Is No Ball with tennis coach Ian Westermann, about tennis technique, strategy, and the mental game.

Lectures. I present on a variety of topics, including the history and future of Jewish humor, my year-long backpacking trip around the world with four kids, and the state of Lone Soldiers in the IDF.

Podcast. In “Interesting Jews,” I interview writers, educators, athletes, rabbis, entrepreneurs, and lots of other fascinating people I’ve met over the course of my 20-year comedy and writing career in the Jewish world. Not all guests are Jewish, but all are somehow connected to the fate of the Jewish people.

TV Host. In February 2021, Friends of the IDF asked me to host their new TV show, “FIDF Live.” We film two episodes a month, in the studio and out in the field with active duty soldiers.

Crybaby Brigade Book Cover

The 188th Crybaby Brigade
Simon and Schuster, 2010. My memoir about my experience as a combat soldier in the IDF. Currently in its sixth printing. Available on Amazon.

book cover

Balaboosta
Artisan, 2012. Mediterranean recipes with award-winning Israeli chef Einat Admony. Lavishly praised by the New York Times and received a starred review from Publishers Weekly. Available on Amazon.

There Is No Ball
St Martin's Press logoSt. Martin’s Press, 2022. A roadmap for tennis success, co-written with coach Ian Westermann of EssentialTennis.com.

My writing has also appeared in the Times of Israel, The Forward, and the Washington Post, as well as the 25th Anniversary Edition of The Big Book of Jewish Humor and The Idiot’s Guide to Jokes.

You can learn more about my writing on the Books page.

“On One Foot”: Digital D’var Torah Series

I’ve alway been fascinated with Jewish texts. I hope to one day study at Pardes in Jerusalem. For now, I created a YouTube series called “On One Foot,” in which a rabbi or educator friend of mine delivers a 3-minute commentary on the Torah portion.

You can view the series on my YouTube channel.

Backstory

I was born in Chicago and raised in Evanston, IL, home of the Northwestern Wildcats and birthplace of Prohibition.

After 9 years at Solomon Schechter Jewish Day School in Skokie, I attended Evanston Township High School. It was at ETHS that I first got into acting and writing, thanks to an incredible Theatre Arts department. I pursued this further at the University of Pennsylvania as the Director and Head Writer of Mask and Wig, America’s oldest all-male comedy troupe.

It was also during college that I landed my first paid acting gig, as an on-field and in-the-stands performer with the Philadelphia Phillies baseball team, in a fruitless attempt to entertain 40,000 of the world’s heaviest drinking sports fans.

Joker
Dressed as the Joker on “Superhero Day” Veterans’ Stadium, Philadelphia

Israel Defense Forces

After college, I moved to Israel and served as a combat soldier in the 188th Armored Brigade of the IDF, with a tour of duty in South Lebanon. My experience would later become the subject of the book The 188th Crybaby Brigade.

After the army, I moved back to Chicago, and then New York, to pursue my comedy and writing. I studied improv at I.O. (formerly Improv Olympic) with legendary director Charna Halpern, and then at Upright Citizens Brigade, the PIT, and Magnet in New York. At the same time, performed stand-up at open mics in New York and at clubs and colleges throughout the country.

Joel Chasnoff army

Trip Around the World

In the summer of 2015, my embarked on a year-long backpacking trip around the world with my wife Dorit and our four kids. We visited 14 countries in all in South America, Southern Africa, Southeast Asia, the Far East, and Australia.

Manu, Amazon River, Peru
Manu, Amazon River, Peru
Fish River Canyon, Namibia
Jaisalmer, India
Jaisalmer, India
Fish River Canyon, Namibia

We now live in Ra’anana, Israel, just outside Tel Aviv. Before the pandemic hit, I flew to the US once a month to perform comedy and lecture. Since April 2020, I’ve been performing on Zoom.

I’ve done more than a hundred online comedy events to date. Zoom magically narrows the distance between my audience and me, and online comedy shows can be intimate, engaging, and bring a community together for much-needed laughter.

Read what people are saying about the comedy of Joel Chasnoff.