‘My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish & I’m in Therapy!’ coming to Greensburg May 19
Big LaughsSteve Solomon

‘My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish & I’m in Therapy!’ coming to Greensburg May 19

Comedian Steve Solomon's long running show will be at the Palace Theatre

Comedian Steve Solomon is coming to Greensburg on May 19. (Photo courtesy of Steve Solomon)
Comedian Steve Solomon is coming to Greensburg on May 19. (Photo courtesy of Steve Solomon)

Comedian Steve Solomon has heard 10,000 nights of laughs, but he’s hoping for at least one more.

On May 19, Solomon will perform “My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish & I’m in Therapy!” at the Palace Theatre in Greensburg.

The long-running show features its writer and creator, Solomon, humorously recalling and reenacting episodes from his life.

“I use 20 or 30 characters. I do their voices. I change positions,” he said by phone from Georgia. “People just relate. They know somebody like that, and that’s what makes the show work.”

The 90-minute performance delivers fast laughs and pearls of wisdom.

“It’s a lot of fun, a great deal of fun,” he said. “I remember when my grandmother died, I said, ‘Pop, what can you tell me now?’ And he said, ‘Son, I’ll tell you what my father told me: Never ever take a sleeping pill and a laxative at the same time.’”

For nearly two decades, Solomon’s anecdotes have entertained theater-goers.

Off-Broadway performances began at Little Shubert Theatre in November 2006. After transferring to the Westside Theatre, the production ran until August 2008 and included more than 700 performances, Playbill reported.

Comedian Steve Solomon is bringing the laughs. (Photo courtesy of Steve Solomon)

Since 2008, Solomon has taken the show global.

“Now we are at 10,600 performances,” he said. The sum is less a “pat on the back” than an acknowledgment of how much fun he’s had over the years.

Every audience presents a new opportunity, and Greensburg is no different, Solomon said: “These are the sharpest people. These are the kinds of people — the Pennsylvanians, the New York, New Jersey people — they get it. They get it fast, and they get it.”

“The timing of the show is much faster in that region,” he continued. “They’re street-smart people. If I do the same show in Arkansas, the show runs very slowly because I got to give them time to process.”

Solomon grew up in Brooklyn’s Sheepshead Bay. Largely populated in the late 20th century by Russian and Jewish immigrants, the area afforded the comedian countless opportunities to hear and impersonate different dialects and cadences.

Mimicry remains a big part of Solomon’s show.

He said he does so admiringly and without relying on “shock.”

“I’m lovable on stage,” he continued. “I don’t argue. I don’t scream.”

The most important thing, he said, is being relatable.

He told the Chronicle he went to The Home Depot to buy a fan.

“Right on the box there’s a big letter that says lifetime warranty,” he said.

Solomon brought the box to the front of the store. While checking out, he was asked by a cashier if he wanted to pay more for extended coverage.

“I said, ‘I’m sorry, it’s got a lifetime warranty.’”

The employee replied, “Yeah, but you can get an extra two years for only $14.”

Bits like that fuel the show’s success, Solomon said, “because everybody can relate.”

Developing and performing accessible humor means understanding an audience’s dynamic, he explained.

“One of the biggest problems that I see with a lot of young comics is they don’t know how to work an audience. They get up there and they spit material out, and they step on their own punchline,” he said. “They shout or they keep saying the F-word 360 times and that becomes stale after a while.”

Solomon said that years of touring have enabled him to hone his delivery while also knowing when to pivot.

“Do I break the fourth wall? Occasionally. If somebody’s in the front sleeping, they’re gonna get it. I’ll finish a really good joke, and I’ll walk to the edge of the stage and say something like, ‘Listen, I’m sorry to bother you, but you should wake him up. There’s some good stuff happening.’ And then I take those steps back and I go back into character,” he said. “I’m not tap dancing.”

After decades of telling stories, Solomon is eager to continue the run in Greensburg.

He wants western Pennsylvanians to “be happy,” he said. “Don’t think about politics. Be healthy and laugh. It’s good for you.”

As for whether Solomon can bring those chuckles, the comedian maintains that 10,600 performances have afforded a glimpse of what attendees can expect.

“They’re going to walk out of the theater wiping tears from their eyes, holding their sides from belly laughing,” he said. “That’s how proud I am of that piece.” PJC

Adam Reinherz can be reached at areinherz@pittsburghjewishchronicle.org.

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