The past two years have been non-stop travel for Ashley Blaker, who has performed across five continents with his popular tours of the UK, USA, Canada, Israel, South Africa and Australia.
There was also a sold-out run at the Edinburgh Festival. Jewish News asked him to keep a diary and after carefully removing all the incriminating passages about people he doesn’t like and long romantic odes to Jürgen Klopp, here are the remaining highlights from 5779
Friday, 26 October 2018
I was so upset that Chief Rabbi Mirvis moved Shabbat UK from this weekend to March, I decided to head off to the US to spend The Shabbos Project – what the rest of the world calls Shabbat UK – with Project Inspire in New Jersey.
Unfortunately I took an Uber to the wrong hotel in Parsippany, New Jersey, and walked in to discover they had a wrestling convention going on. I looked around at all these well-built guys and thought Project Inspire may be an outreach group but all the rabbis in the world aren’t turning these guys around. Sadly, I had to leave before meeting Bushwhacker Luke.
Sunday, 28 October 2018
Moved into my new apartment in New York. When people find out about my life, some people ask where they can see me perform, but all any men seem to want to know is how on earth I’ve got away with this and can they buy my secret! Maybe I’ll write a book if this comedy thing doesn’t work out.
Wednesday, 31 October 2018
Interesting to be in New York for Halloween where they take it really seriously. Brits don’t need to bother as we have the prospect of Jeremy Corbyn becoming Prime Minister, which is scary enough. With the political chaos going on in the UK at the moment, I’m so thankful that I currently live in the US where at least they have a sensible and well-qualified leader in charge. Oh, hang on…
Wednesday, 21st November 2018
Another fun show tonight in Brooklyn. My American audiences don’t know this, but every time I say the words ‘organise’ or ‘apologise’ in a show, I’m spelling them in my head with an ’s’ instead of a ‘z’.
Wednesday, 25th December 2018
It’s Christmas Day and I’m at JFK Airport. No gifts from Santa exactly but I have taken receipt of my two eldest sons, who have come to New York for the week. Oh dear, I must have been a really bad boy this year to have ended up with these two!
Saturday, 5 January 2019
It was great fun to make my West Coast debut in San Diego tonight and enjoy the Californian sun. At one point I even took off my jacket – I hope my rabbi doesn’t ever hear about this!
Wednesday, 7 February 2019
If ever you wanted an example of the strange life of a touring comedian, this is it. Yesterday I was suffering in -34°C cold in Edmonton, Alberta. Today I am sitting by the pool enjoying 25°C heat in Miami. I just hope my wife doesn’t find out. She thinks I’m in Bournemouth. I told her I’m doing a long residency at the Normandie Hotel so she actually feels sorry for me.
Thursday, 8 February 2019
Tonight I performed a show in Boca Raton attended by someone who was a big part of my teens and twenties: Marcus, the eponymous owner of the finest kosher restaurant to ever open on the Hallswelle Parade in Temple Fortune (possibly). I can’t see Marcus without imagining him sitting in a deckchair on the Finchley Road and I now have a Pavlovian desire for a number 73. Devotees of Marcus’ will know which dish this was.
Monday, 11 February 2019
It was great fun to do a live interview on CBS morning show Great Day Washington. I was on to talk about my upcoming shows in New York and Australia, but they seemed most interested in my Paul Smith shoes. Here’s hoping the plug might to lead to some free swag.
Monday, 9 March 2019
Very exciting to be flying from Seattle to Sydney, Australia, to go to perform on my fifth continent! Here’s hoping some Jews in Antarctica are interested in organising a show at some point. If nothing else, the penguins might enjoy me. We both only wear black and white.
Thursday, 12 March 2019
It’s Purim, the upside down holiday, so what better way to celebrate than down under in Australia. I have loved performing for the Aussies so far. Even the frummers are like Crocodile Dundee. They don’t have cork hanging from their wide-brimmed hats but go to a circumcision in Australia and the baby is looking up going ‘Call that a knife?!’
Sun, 15 March 2019
Worth the long flight to Australia for this moment. I am standing on Ramsay Street, right where Jim and Paul Robinson played cricket in the street before smashing the ball through a window. Sadly, I couldn’t find Toadfish, Mrs Mangel or Bouncer. Here’s hoping they have a kosher option at Harold’s Cafe.
Thursday, 19 March 2019
Well this is odd. I have just left Sydney at 9am and arrive back in the US at 7am the same morning. I’ve realised this is probably the closest I will ever get to time travel. I am wondering, if I do this flight enough times, maybe my hair will have grown back, Brexit won’t have happened and no one will heard of
Tues, 23 April 2019
After two seder nights in London, I am back in the US performing at five extravagant Pesach vacations.
The downside is performing to hundreds of Americans who are only killing time until they get more food. The plus side is today I enjoyed one of the real perks of the job. Disney without children – the only way to do it! My own children are, of course, not happy and are demanding I bring back expensive gifts. That’s sorted already: I got everyone a box of hand-baked shmura matzos. You can’t get much more expensive than that!
Funnily enough, the last time I was in Disney World at Pesach was 2005 and the following month Liverpool won the Champions League. I hope that’s a good omen for the rest of this season! (Spoiler alert: it was)
Wednesday, 22 May 2019
Such a fun night performing alongside my Muslim double act partner, Imran Yusuf. And the best thing ever, I just heard that the local synagogue had to cancel a talk from the most senior rabbi in London because everyone was here. Basically people in Radlett wanted to see a Muslim comedian more than a rabbi. Hilarious.
Wed, 12 June 2019
You don’t see many Orthodox Jews in Gaza. Well, it’s not that Gaza, but a butcher in Bradford, where Imran and I had a show tonight.
And it was a great night, performing for a very different crowd to normal. These weren’t the wealthy overfed American Jews from the Pesach tea rooms, but they laughed non-stop and made me feel as welcome as much as my Jewish fans have welcomed Imran. Nobel Peace Prize here we come!
Tuesday, 13 August 2019
Well that was one of the strangest gigs I will ever do. For a start, it was on a boat going around Manhattan – which sounds nice, but it meant every single person had to be given seasick pills when coming into the venue! Not only that, the audience was entirely men. The only woman I saw all evening was the Statue of Liberty. Oh, and they were all Lubavitchers. If Lady Liberty had been a man, I can guarantee you the audience would have stopped listening to me and started climbing the statue to get it to put on tefillin.
- Ashley Blaker’s Goyish Guide To Judaism returns to BBC Radio 4 on Sunday, 6 October.
- He is also on tour with his Muslim double act partner, Imran Yusuf, in Prophet Sharing. visit: www.ashleyblaker.com