Comedy for Koby Mea Culpa

by Brian on December 7, 2012

in In the News,Just For Fun

My post earlier this week about the Comedy for Koby show that recently toured Israel set off a storm of criticism. I was pilloried by readers who were shocked by my denunciation of two of the original comics on the program who backed out when Operation Pillar of Defense began.

“I don’t expect people to risk their life,” wrote Nir. “Put yourself in their shoes.”

“When you’re stateside being fed only the ugliness and atrocity by the dysfunctional media machine and that’s all you know… how can one NOT feel trepidation about willfully placing oneself in harm’s way?” asked David. The comics that bailed “have never been to Israel. Why should we expect them to understand what we here have already known for decades?”

“How dare you judge another for fears they may have…for placing themselves in harm’s way. Shame on you for your pettiness and holier than thou attitude,” wrote Lisa.


Worst of all, I got show organizer and stalwart friend of Israel Avi Liberman in hot water with some of his comedy colleagues back home.

To all this, I offer a humbled, belated mea culpa: I goofed. I was judgmental and that wasn’t cool. Did it matter to me who was on stage as long as they were funny? Nope. The truth is, I was looking for an angle – I’ve written about Comedy for Koby several times in the past, so I wanted something different. And, as we all know, controversy sells papers.

I should have known better. After we bought our Better Place electric car (which I’ve written about here, here and here), the company hit hard times, shedding management, staff and millions of dollars more than what had been reported when we signed the papers, freaking us out to no end. But rather than showing even an iota of compassion, the Israeli press has been vitriolic, with screaming headlines proclaiming “Things getting worse at Better Place,” “Better Place’s model does not make sense,” and the most inflammatory, “Better Place is a lousy investment for you.”

The result of the media’s ganging up on the company has been to exacerbate Better Place’s already anemic sales and to make my wife and I feel like real freiers (suckers) for having taken the risk on buying the car in the first place.

Were these the most objective headlines that could have been published? Or were they meant to generate more page views and Google clicks by picking on a company when it’s down?

Now, did I do the same thing to the two comedians who didn’t come to Israel following a war in Gaza that I will readily admit was pretty scary for me too? (And I am fully committed to making my life here.)

So let me take a step back and show appreciation for the positives – the three comics who did come and put on what was one of the best Comedy for Koby shows ever. There are plenty of targets for venting frustration and anger. Skittish comedians shouldn’t be on that list and for that I’m sorry.

I apologized earlier today on Israelity.


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Fiona Kanter December 7, 2012 at 6:20 pm

Kol Hakavod, Brian. It takes courage to say sorry so publicly and with such humility and I admire you for that.

Shabbat Shalom and Chanukah Sameach to you and yours,

Fiona xoxox

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