Joan Jaffe, veteran Broadway and road theatrical performer, who has won a MAC for Best Musical Comedy Performer and ranked on everyone’s top 10 or 12 list for her previous shows, is celebrating with a new musical comedy act entitled “Food.” She calls her show “A smorgasbord of comedy and music. The emphasis is on comedy. Each song is introduced by an autobiographical back stage story from her past on stage or off, or a recitation of some hoary old joke, punctuated by those Harpo horns that vaudevillians and burlesque performers used in their acts! She has one and so has her superb musical director, pianist internationally acclaimed jazz musician Matt Baker. The third member of the act is Adam Kabak on the double bass
An early Halloween show was packed, Halloween candy was on each table, and the house laughed loudly and often cheered!Her opening number is “Food, Glorious Food” from “Oliver” but with extra lyrics by Rob Lester. She states right away the two most important things in her life are food—and shopping! She has a big shopping bag full of food articles she has purchased at the market! Her clever second number is Christine Lavin’s “Cold Pizza for Breakfast” detailing how much she wants junk food in the morning after sex! Other great food songs are “Flim Flam Sauce,” with Kabak only on bass stage center, “Delicatessan,” Dave Frishburg’s “Sweet Kentucky Ham,” Murray Grand’s “Hungry,” and “The Dieter’s Prayer” by Amanda MacBroom and Gerald Sternbach.Great backstage stories are told about touring with Chita Rivera and partnered with a gay man whose parents didn’t know he was gay and being invited to their home in the suburbs for the weekend (separate bedrooms because they weren’t married) and fed home cooked meals day and night! Also, a humorous tale about meeting her future in-laws in redneck country in North Carolina (she was a “damned Yankee” even though she was born in Delaware). Even her two ballads are introduced by a funny story, “Happiness Is Just A Thing Called Joe” (about having a cup of “joe”) and “Et Maintenant (What Now My Love)” introduced by a French menu. There’s a great story about Rodney Dangerfield (she bought his cook book) and how impressed he was when they did the movie “Money Money” that she had bought his book. Years later when she did a commercial with him and wasn’t supposed to talk to him he remembered her!
After much laughter and many old, old jokes and riddles, her penultimate number is “When Banana Skins Are Falling” (Abraham Frazzini-Paul DeFrank-Irving Mills) and she gets us all to sing the title phrase each time it shows up!
Oh, yes, she takes that great advice that Charles Chaplin gave Martha Raye: if you’re going to be funny, always dress to the nines! Her outfit is a glittering gold sparkling number!
And her encore: “Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries,” sung slowly and movingly and with a terrific punch line, is one you’ll have to see and enjoy!
I once wrote that watching Jaffe with her late husband Hal Blankenship was a master class in show business! Jaffe is flying high and is the perfect remedy for stormy weather and the blues!
Joan Jaffe’s “Food” repeats at Don’t Tell Mama Saturday, November 2, Saturday November 30, Sunday December 1, all shows at 7PM. Reserve now at 212 757-0788 (discounts for MAC, Cabaret Hotline, AEA-SAG/AFTRA, Seniors!)