No, that’s not Groucho Marx with the ersatz mustache.
Sometimes Naomi Chiel likes to pretend she is. “I have to be in the mood,” she says. Last Saturday night she was. At the “Comedy Night @ Kittay,” an evening of humor hosted by Kittay House, an independent living facility for senior citizens in the Bronx where Chiel works as Jewish Program Coordinator.
Kittay House, a beneficiary agency of UJA-Federation where 300 people live, is part of the campus formerly known as the Jewish Home & Hospital. Comedy Night was part of a month-long series of programs Chiel decided to organize throughout Adar 2, the current Jewish month in which Purim occurs. “We’re supposed to dedicate a month to simcha [joy],” she says. “And I’m doing it.
“We need more lightness, fun and joy in our lives — certainly the elderly, more than anyone,” Chiel says. “This is serious medicine.”
With Chiel are tenants Zelda Fassler, above left, and Adele Gold, inset.
With the theme “Let’s Get Serious About Laughter!” Kittay House is also sponsoring a pair of sessions Monday about Jewish humor, a sing-a-long Tuesday, a Purim shpiel and celebration on Friday, and a masked Purim ball next Saturday night.
Kittay House tenants performed ten acts at the Comedy Night, jokes and stories and sketches. Clean stuff. “Classic humor.” About marriage and parenting. And a joke about “a dog named Sex,” Chiel says.
The auditorium was set up like a comedy club. “We had champagne, and no minimum,” she says. “Everyone got out without stumbling.”
The tenants are “delighted” by the Adar nonsense. “It’s creating a buzz,” Chiel says.
Tenants and staffers will take part in Friday’s Purim shpiel, Chiel has written some songs for the play. “We’re going to have a great time.”