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It's time for Assi Cohen to take off Shaoli's wig, and start fighting for his art - voila! culture


In the shadow of the unfortunate affair that caused Lassie Cohen to get off the stage in front of a hostile audience, it is hard not to feel that Cohen should lead the war against the forces that try to harm the freedom of comedy, and not behind a character

In the video: the shout from the audience and the storm: Assi Cohen was taken off the stage after 20 minutes (Walla system!)

In a TV review that I published here on the website in February 2021 about "Wonderful Land", I wanted to thank any higher power responsible for the fact that we live in a time when Assi Cohen agrees to harness his talent for the sake of the mental health of the people of Israel.

For those who have forgotten, the time was stressful and desperate at the time, with the political floundering and the restrictions of the Corona virus, and I wanted to lift up with all my heart who I called "the most talented stand-up comedian who has risen up for the Jewish people since the passing of Sheika Ophir, and maybe in general."

Among other things, I boasted that "Cohen's genius permeates his every line. The nuances in his face will one day become scientific research subjects... One day streets will be named after him, maybe he will be immortalized on a bill, and we get to enjoy him in real time."

I still stand by every word.

This is one of the great talents that have grown here.

We definitely won.

I saw him for the first time, more than 20 years ago, when he was almost completely anonymous, as part of the duo "Asi and Gori".

At the beginning they were considered as a replacement from "Domino" for Greinik and Alterman (a duo I admired before) but I recognized in them something completely different with huge potential.

I remember a performance I went to in an IDF uniform, before which a heated debate began in the audience with the question "Who is funnier, Assi Cohen or Guri Alfie?" , who sometimes bursts into flashy twists on stage, is gifted with dramatic talent with once-in-a-generation comedic timing.

Esi Cohen's breakthrough into the mainstream of "Wonderland" was inevitable.

Suddenly he became my grandmother's favorite too.

The commercialization did not harm his professional progress, even the opposite.

Moli Segev and the talented screenwriters made Assi Cohen the biggest star in Israel.

When he quit the successful entertainment show, and probably gave up a lot of money as well, I appreciated him even more.

I recognized the person behind the amusing characters.

The one who is looking to break the boundaries and not confine his talent into a box.

Few would do that.

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the audience shouted "shame" - the performance of "Shauli" (Essi Cohen) was stopped after 20 minutes

, maybe of Essi Cohen - the character of the decade of Walla!


Assi Cohen as Shaoli (photo: screenshot, Keshet 12)

The first time I saw Esi Cohen in the play "Michael", stealing the show without text, I realized what a unique talent he is.

Essi needed this, the direct contact with the audience, to flourish.

The more the audience laughed, the funnier Essie was.

This week Essi felt the other side of the audience's touch.

A touch he didn't want.

It's easy to do an imitation of Avigdor Lieberman's tears (and tears) on TV, but it's hard to believe that Esi would do this imitation in front of Lieberman's own face.

I don't know him personally, but he doesn't seem to be the abusive type.

His comedy pretty much indicates that.

It is very difficult to get tickets to the "Shaoli" show, which naturally indicates the nature of the show.

Without advertisements and public relations - this has become one of the most requested performances in Israel by word of mouth.

You won't hear Esi interview her, because he doesn't.

If you haven't read reviews about her and haven't seen articles about her - it's because the media is not invited.

A direct connection between the audience and the artist is rare - but when it happens it's fun to see.

I saw the show of "Shaoli" last October.

Precisely because of my enormous appreciation for Essi's talent and Shaoli's character in particular, who was even chosen on this website as the "character of the decade" - I was disappointed with the performance.

For the benefit of those who were not at the concert, I will explain that Cohen appears throughout it in the character of Shaoli, without leaving the character.

This allows him, so to speak, to "not do the math" and laugh at everything, without being moved by the PC rules.

But this is a somewhat cowardly decision.

If Lassie Cohen, the best comedian in Israel, has complaints against the PC culture, why won't he just say it?

This is perhaps the most talked about topic in the world of comedy.

The biggest stand-up artists in the world have been dealing with the claim "it's allowed to laugh at everything as long as it's funny" on stages for years.

Dave Chappelle and Ricky Jarvis have been devoting their entire recent shows to deep, almost academic-level engagement with the censorship of humor—and they're laughing their heads off while doing it.

Esi Cohen is not in this game.

In fact, it is not really a classic stand-up, but a one-man show.

One hour monologue from a character.

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Esi Cohen at the television awards ceremony (photo: Reuven Castro)

If humorless bastards are trying to harm the livelihood of Esi Cohen and his friends, then his choice to hide behind the character of maybe effective for Esi Cohen - but not for the purpose.

It's too easy, and comedy - certainly a good one - shouldn't be easy.

The point is that the character of Molly does not really deal with anything at a high level, but on the contrary, flattens the discourse at a very low level.

This is satire of course.

When he tells climate denier jokes on stage, or makes fun of vegans, women, etc. - he reminds that in the end all the people who really believe these things are nothing more than "maybes".

Like him, even people who think like this really are ridiculous and beastly stereotypical characters.

When Shauli makes fun of vegans, he's actually making fun of meat eaters.

When he laughs at the cruelty in the animal food industry, he is actually laughing at the cruel ones.

It's upside down.

The satire is clear, and therefore shouldn't offend anyone.

There's only one problem with it, it's just not funny enough.

Some people have been to the show and claim that it is the funniest thing that has ever happened to them.

Can be.

Arguing about taste and smell, and certainly about humor, is forbidden and especially unnecessary.

I will note that at the show I was at I felt that most of the audience was not laughing, most of the time.

Those who did laugh were the few teenagers who came to the show, not much younger than I was the first time I saw "Essie and Gori".

It's easier to make them laugh, certainly when they drink a little before the show.

It is not certain that they understood the satire, and perhaps even identified with Shaoli's twisted morality.

But the more mature audience sat quietly.

Every once in a while he might say something so outrageous that there was no choice but to applaud.

It was the kind of performance that is applauded more than laughed at.

Of course, you can't argue with the rate of ticket sales.

People enjoy Shaoli's performance, even if they don't burst out laughing.

It's part of human nature.

Cultural syndrome of the "naked king".

No one wants to be the first to say that they didn't laugh at the performance of Assi Cohen, the best comedian in Israel,

I would like to emphasize that I really did not suffer during the performance, certainly I was not offended by anything.

I have no problem laughing about difficult material.

Give me holocaust, rape, murder and mutilation jokes.

The more dark humor the better.

Provided of course that the irony is understood and the joke is exaggerated enough.

In case it just didn't work for me.

Satire in itself is not enough, the jokes also need to be funny.

The opening and closing segments were entertaining, and Eli Habib's warm-up performance made me laugh.

And that's about it.

I did not leave the show with deep and special thoughts about the show following the "satire", even on the contrary, it felt completely casual to me.

Now, two months later, I can't remember even one good joke.

It could be that the problem is with me, I accept it, but for the avoidance of doubt, I remember dozens of jokes from the shows of "Assy and Gori" and "Revolution Broadcasts", even twenty years later.

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It's important to note that I don't know exactly what happened at the show at the opera house this week that caused Essie Cohen to leave the stage, so I don't want to judge either side.

From the testimonies in the field it is said that there were some people who did not enjoy the performance and asked to leave.

their right

One of them, according to the evidence, shouted "shame" before leaving.

It is no longer polite or decent, to say the least.

Even if you don't enjoy a show, you have no right to hurt other people's enjoyment.

It is said that someone approached the stage and said something to Essie, who in response decided to end the show and get off the stage, even though the audience begged him to come back with chants of "maybe, maybe".

Essie didn't come back.

Maybe he was offended, maybe he broke under the pressure - but in any case, it was his choice.

According to the evidence from the scene, the audience who interrupted had already left the hall, no one prevented him from continuing the show, but he chose to stop and prevent the audience who was enjoying the show from continuing.

Assi Cohen is a known interview refuser.

It is likely that there is no entertainment and culture journalist in Israel who did not contact him after the show to get more details, and received a polite refusal.

That's why we don't know what exactly that Lassie man whispered, so we have no way of knowing what exactly caused him to get off the stage.

Those close to the comedian told Ran Booker on Ynet that he decided to get off the stage after he realized that "the show was not suitable for the people who were there and to save heartache - from the audience first of all, and then from himself."

Essie's noble response did not prevent legions of Internet commenters from turning the whole unfortunate affair into a war between comedy-seekers and progressives trying to conform the world to their views.

The public sentiment is quite clear.

Ace is a genius and anyone who doesn't understand this is an idiot.

Nelly Tager, an actress and stand-up artist herself, beautifully expressed the prevailing position on her Facebook page: "If you don't have a sense of humor, don't come to a stand-up show."

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Esi Cohen in the character of Shawli (Photo: Ronan Akerman)

Tager is 100% right, but misses, like many others, a critical matter - those present in the audience really did not come for a stand-up performance.

These are invitees who came to the "Dearest of the City" award ceremony in the capacity of the Mayor of Tel Aviv, Ron Huldai.

The audience was also made up of older people and small children, people who really shouldn't come to Shaoli's concert.

In fact, most of them had no idea they were about to watch a stand-up show.

This, by the way, is a big failure of the municipality that organized the evening, which did not adjust the artistic part to the guests.

Some of those less invited connected to Shaoli's content, and asked to leave.

Not pleasant, but not that bad either.

There isn't an artist in the scene who hasn't had a few people perform during performances.

It happens.

An artist on stage is allowed to say anything, it's part of freedom of expression - and the audience is also allowed to leave, it's their freedom of expression.

This is certainly not a reason to stop a show, and I find it hard to believe that this is really the reason Essie left the stage.

There was something deeper, more personal.

It is hard to believe that in all his years on the stage Assi Cohen has never encountered the "hacklers".

People who disturb, sometimes on purpose, the stand-up comedians.

It is hard to believe that precisely in a closed show, to an audience that was not among his usual fans, he was moved by the fact that people asked to leave in the middle.

The truth is, in a huge hall like the opera house, with the projectors on the face, it's hard to believe that he even noticed the people leaving.

However, Assi is known as a sensitive artist, it is possible that one inappropriate word that reached his ears caused him to cancel the show during it.

It's a shame, but it also doesn't justify the crusade that's going on now against "people who are trying to destroy the world of comedy", precisely because it's too important a battle, and Lassie Cohen has an important role in it.

It's true, it's a difficult time to do comedy.

There are far too many triggers that can hurt an audience than there used to be.

Awareness is higher, and that's okay.

Really good comedians know how to rise above all this, and adapt their humor to the times.

You can, still, laugh at everything - as long as it's funny.

Those who miss childish jokes about stingy Persians, stupid blondes and nervous Moroccans can still find them in the YouTube archives.

They are not going anywhere.

There will always be naysayers on social media complaining about "things that shouldn't be laughed at," but in the meantime no successful comedian or successful stand-up artist has been eliminated, including Louis CK who did a lot more than tell unfunny jokes about vegans.

That doesn't mean it can't change.

This is a war not only on freedom of speech, but on culture itself.

Stand-up is an art, and like any art, you have to keep away from it those who try to harm it, limit it and censor it.

Today it is forbidden to laugh at vegans, tomorrow it is forbidden at Haredim and the day after tomorrow it is forbidden to laugh at the Prime Minister.

In order to fight, in this specific arena, you first have to be funny.

Precisely in this period it is worthwhile to recruit Esi Cohen to the campaign for freedom of expression.

We need the funniest man in Israel without running behind characters with funny wigs, and certainly not behind the scenes.

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Source: walla

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