Adir Miller on "Miller Junction" (Photo: Avi Cohen, Editor: Noa Levy)
Black cars arrive at a cemetery. Dignified people in black suits walk out of them. It's a funeral with an open casket. Inside the padded closet there is no body, but a lot of jokes, written on colored paper. Jerry Seinfeld stands by the coffin and seriously endures the jokes he voluntarily chooses to bury. Sitting next to the coffin are some of the greatest comedians in American history—George Carlin, Gary Shandling, Jay Leno, Robert Klein, Paul Reiser, Ed McMahon—all weeping over the great loss. Thus began the famous HBO comedy special Seinfeld, aptly titled "I'm Telling You One Last Time," in which he performed all his familiar material in a show that entered the pantheon as one of the most memorable and successful in history.
Jerry Seinfeld's eulogy for his jokes is as perfect as any joke he's ever written. The image between "saying goodbye to a beloved friend" and saying goodbye to comedic material captures exactly what stand-up comedians feel like when they decide to abandon their previous material and start working on new jokes. There aren't many performing arts where there's that pressure, that commitment. Robbie Williams will perform in Israel this Thursday and perform Angeles, Strong and Phil. 25-year-old hits. The audience will receive them with love because that's exactly what they expect to hear. On the other hand, if Jim Jeffries shows up at his scheduled stand-up comedy show at Yad Eliyahu in October and tells jokes from one of his Netflix specials, he'll be expelled from the sports arena faster than Erez Edelstein was thrown out.
Closest to Seinfeld. Adir Miller (Screenshot, Keshet 12)
Stand-up comedians have to innovate, and it's not easy, especially when your material works so well, and you've been running with it successfully for years. Imagine if Guns N' Roses had to change all their material, and instead of "November Rain" they only had to perform new songs at a show that no one knew? Seinfeld didn't replace his jokes because they weren't bad, but because he realized everyone had already heard them. He knew that to compete for the GOAT title, he would have to reinvent himself, over and over again. He knew that being an active stand-up comedian meant going on small shows over and over again, trying new material, failing, changing, and rebuilding a show that could run for several years. Then, against all human logic, erase everything you've accomplished – and do it all over again.
Adir Miller is the Israeli Jerry Seinfeld. This may sound like an exaggeration, and perhaps even blasphemy, but within the already limited Israeli comedy world, Miller is closest to the image of the cornflakes-loving Jew from New York. There were funnier Israelis, there were better imitators, and there are now active stand-up comedians with better performances than Miller – but none of them ran for so many years with the same show, with the same jokes and with demand that somehow only grew over the years.
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Adir Miller (Screenshot, Keshet 12)
Last night Rainbow 12 aired the first part of "Adir Miller The Official Show", tonight the second part will be broadcast. The jokes during the day on social media started early, and quite rightly so given the bombastic name given to the event. Keshet has broadcast quite a few of Miller's shows in recent years, with the nickname "The Official Show" supposed to differentiate from the improvisation shows and coronavirus special that have aired on the channel in recent years. The problem is that there's really no difference, and that's to Miller's credit. Miller's improvisations are such an inherent part of his show that you can't really take them out of the show, and vice versa.
If it seems to you, for example, that you have already seen the "Men don't know how to shop alone in the supermarket" segments, then it's because they have already been broadcast in several different specials, simply through its interactions with the audience. Even in the Corona special, he did this thing, one by one like yesterday, simply with a masked audience. True, each time it's a little different, with a different audience - but the punches are the same, including the successful one on the sweet cream called whipping cream. His ability to reach the punch in a different way each time proves how master he is in his profession – and it's a pleasure to see for the hundredth time as well.
Adir Miller (Screenshot, Keshet 12)
So the message in Miller's current special is not in jokes or improvisations, but in the short slide that appeared at the beginning of the show - that the segments broadcast in the special will no longer be included in Miller's shows. This is a cultural atomic bomb that has gone under the radar. The most successful stand-up comedy show in Israel's history simply ceases to exist as we know it. Every joke that aired on yesterday's special has come a long way, and is now part of the history of Israeli humor, for better or for worse.
Love him or hate him (what a thing it is to hate someone because he doesn't make you laugh) - but Adir Miller managed to distill Israeliness into a tight stand-up comedy show, which after decades has become an asset in Israeli culture. How lucky that he stops doing it. It sounds contradictory to you, but it's not.
I wish that this slide, which appeared briefly at the beginning of yesterday's show, means that Miller is starting to try new material, and soon we'll see him put on a whole new show, where alongside the improvisations that have become his trademark, there will also be brand new jokes. And even if we don't, and again commercial television didn't tell us the truth in prime time, I will, for once, understand. It's really hard to say goodbye. Ask Seinfeld. And whatever the case, a stand-up comedy show at the peak hour of the most popular channel in Israel is a blessing, in a country where there are so few reasons to laugh.
- TV review
- Adir Miller