Over the next week and a half, the Bethesda Theatre is presenting World of Jewtopia, a 90-minute standup-comedy-meets-PowerPoint-presentation written and performed by two former struggling LA actors, Bryan Fogel and Sam Wolfson. Incorporating scenes from their popular play, Jewtopia—the longest-running off-Broadway comedy in history—their shtick aims to prove that stereotypes are based on truth.
They first chronicle important Jews throughout history to promote the religion’s noteworthy contributions to society. Hollywood, they contend, was founded by Jews; entertainment powerhouses such as Fox Studios and Universal Pictures came from their people. “Why else,” Wolfson asks, “would Hollywood’s most popular extraterrestrial spend the entire movie trying to phone home?”
With a projection screen behind them, Fogel and Wolfson use photographs and other images to mock fellow Jews for their germ phobias while traveling and their typically vile-looking food. Audience members get a chance to chime in when the guys encourage them to throw out suggestions as to why, for example, a particular table in a restaurant diagram is unfavorable.
The archetypal Jewish mother is portrayed via childhood photos and transcripts of recorded phone conservations with the actors’ own moms. Using a picture from his own family, Fogel demonstrates that the Jewish mother freezes food from years ago; Wolfson recounts his mom’s constant nagging to go on a date with her friend’s daughter.
A question-and-answer period after the show allows the audience a chance to probe the comedians. Naturally, the first question was “Are you single? I have a sister!” A bit more surprising was a visitor from Palm Beach who asked, “Do you think you could perform on So You Think You Can Dance?”
World of Jewtopia runs through June 22 at the Bethesda Theatre, 7719 Wisconsin Ave., Bethesda. For tickets, call 800-551-SEAT or visit bethesdatheatre.com.
Washingtonian Theater Reviews