During the first 15 minutes of “My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish & I’m in Therapy,” currently on tour and playing at Theatre Three in Port Jefferson, I became a little concerned. I expected to be laughing my tuches off, but that wasn’t the case. Until, that is, Peter Fogel, portraying the show’s author, Steve Solomon, really started describing his Italian mother and Jewish father.
Despite the slow start — and some predictable jokes — the one-man show is enjoyable, especially if you can relate to it.
The show ran on Off-Broadway from 2006 until 2008 and spawned sequels “My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish & I’m STILL in Therapy” and “My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish & I’m Home for the Holidays.” Inspired by Solomon’s family and his upbringing in Sheepshead Bay, the show received favorable reviews and has toured internationally and in more than 100 cities.
Fogel, a Stony Brook-born, Baldwin-raised comedian, does a wonderful job of portraying all of the Solomon family and has great comedic timing when interacting with audience members who couldn’t stop laughing.
Fogel is especially hilarious as Grandma Angelina, who states “grandpa was a mail order groom damaged in shipping” and in one conversation confuses “condo” for “condom.”
One of the show’s strength’s is how even the punch lines have a little poignancy to them, like when Solomon asks his parents about the birds and the bees, but they always answered in riddles.
At the end of the show, Fogel made a comment about performing the show in other states and how not as many people get the jokes, which are definitely New York-centric.
There aren’t many other places that will truly understand the bit about driving through a gated Florida retirement community and being stopped by an elderly security guard with a walker or having a Jewish father whose cure-all to life’s problems is Chinese food.
These bits make the show and are so incredibly true for anyone whose parents, or grandparents, have shipped off to Florida or kept Kosher — unless it involved Chinese food.
Some of the jokes may be a little cliché, but man are they funny!
Theatre Three, 412 Main St., Port Jefferson will present ‘My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish & I’m in Therapy’ through May 10. Tickets are $44 on Wednesdays and Thursdays and $49 on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Special group rates are available. For more information, call 631-928-9100 or visit www.theatrethree.com.