Ivor Dembina
Ivor Dembina
Ivordembina2.jpg
Birth name Ivor Joseph Dembina
Born (1951-04-14) 14 April 1951 (age 66)
London, England
Medium Stand up, writer, Comedy Club Curator
Nationality British
Genres Alternative comedy
Subject(s) Jewish culture, Current events, Sex, Human interaction, Racism
Spouse Joan Mary Badcock 1979-1990, Judith Hilda Dimant 1994-1996
Children Anja Mary, Luis George
Website [1]

Ivor Joseph Dembina (born 14 April 1951) is a British stand-up comedian and writer in the alternative tradition from London.[1]

Career

Dembina runs the Hampstead Comedy Club in North London, which he founded in 1994.[2] He is cited as an early influence by Stewart Lee.[3] He wrote for the first season of the Omid Djalili Show on BBC1.[4] He appeared in the first season of Eye Spy as 'Jewish Dad' on Channel 4.[5] He was the first stand-up comedian to perform a solo comedy show at the UK Houses of Parliament.[6][7] Ivor's comedy focuses on his Jewish background and his political outlook.[8] He toured his show about the Israel-Palestine conflict, 'This is Not a Subject For Comedy', in Israel and on the West Bank.[9] In 1998 he wrote and performed a show entitled SadoJudaism in which he talked about the worlds of fetishism and prostitution through Jewish eyes. [10]

Controversies

Ivor has attracted attention for his outspoken anti-Zionist and socialist views.

In 2004, while on his way to perform stand-up comedy in Israel and the West Bank, Ivor was detained for several hours by Israeli police at Ben Gurion Airport after his name reportedly turned up on a list of "known radicals".[11]

In 2008 Ivor organised a comedy event called "60 Years: What A State" on Israel's independence day, Yom Ha'atzmaut. Featuring Jeremy Hardy, Mark Steel, Reginald D Hunter and Shazia Mirza, it was on the same evening a gala event organised by the Zionist Federation at the Wembley Arena celebrated 60 years of the Israeli state. Ivor branded the gala's headliner, American comedian Jackie Mason, a "bad Jewish joke", citing Mason's support for Israel and the fact that comedian Ray Hanania, of Palestinian descent, had been dropped from supporting Mason on tour in 2002. Ivor said: "Never mind Israel not wanting to share Jerusalem with Palestinians--he won't even share a stage with one."[12]

In 2011 Ivor threatened legal action and called for an investigation after a protester interrupted his Edinburgh Fringe preview show at a Jewish community centre in Golders Green, accusing him of performing a "tame version for a Jewish audience" and demanding that he reveal his anti-Israel views.[13] Other activists picketed outside and handed out flyers.[13] Ivor said afterwards: "In 25 years in Jewish comedy, during which I have performed both in Britain and abroad--including in Israel--this is the first time someone has attended a performance of mine with the apparent intention of sabotaging it."[13]

In late 2013 and early 2014 Ivor joined other artists and writers including Nigel Kennedy, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown and Mark Steel at St James's Church, Piccadilly for Bethlehem Unwrapped, a festival during the Christmas season that drew attention to the Israeli West Bank barrier.[14]

In 2014, Ivor caused consternation among sections of the Jewish community for organising a benefit show for the people of the Gaza Strip with Daniel Kitson, Josie Long and fellow Jewish comic Andy Zaltzman.[15]

Also in 2014, he angered some other Jewish comedians by banning them from his from his club because they publicly endorsed and received payment from an organisation that he claimed was racist, the Jewish National Fund.[16][17][18][19][20]

In 2015 Ivor also attracted the interest of the political community for his willingness to use sensitive subjects such as the Holocaust, Israel and Jewish stereotypes in his material.[21]

In February on the same year, he joined 700 other UK artists including Brian Eno, Mike Leigh and Liz Lochhead as a signatory to a cultural boycott of Israel.[22][23]

Notable performances and tours

The Cochrane Theatre

In 1994 Ivor hosted a benefit for Jewish Socialist magazine at the Cochrane Theatre with Jo Brand, Jeremy Hardy, Linda Smith and Arnold Brown [24]

Middle East

Ivor toured Israel and the West Bank with his show This is Not a Subject for Comedy in 2003.[25]

UK Houses of Parliament

Ivor performed the first ever comedy gig at the UK Houses of Parliament in 2010.[26][27]

Edinburgh shows

Ivor has performed at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe since 1991.[28][29]

Show Title Co-performer/Guests Year Venue
Comic Abuse Compere Ivor Dembina with Jack Dee, Jo Brand, Mark Thomas, Phil Cornwall, Felix Dexter, Dave Cohen, James Macabre, Patrick Marber and Jim Tavare 1991-1993 The Pleasance
Stand Up Jewish Comedy solo show 1994 The Pleasance
Arab and the Jew Omid Djalili 1998 The Pleasance
Ivor Dembina: Jewish Comedy - Free at Last solo show 2007 Linsay's Basement
This is Not a Subject for Comedy solo show 2008 Espionage
Laughing Horse Free Comedy Selection Compere Ivor Dembina with a mixed bill 2008 Espionage
Free Jewish Comedy solo show 2011 The Counting House
Ivor's Other Show solo show 2011 The Counting House
Old Jewish Jokes solo show 2012 Bar 50
Old Jewish Jokes solo show 2013 Bar 50
Zapp & Dembina - Comedy After Lunch Andy Zapp and guests 2013 Cowgatehead
Free Gaza! Daniel Kitson, Josie Long and Andy Zaltzman 2014 The Gilded Balloon
Old Jewish Jokes solo show 2014 The Gilded Balloon
Zapp & Dembina Andy Zapp and guests 2014 Cowgatehead
New Jewish Jokes solo show 2015 The Stand Comedy Club

Written Works

Ivor has contributed to many comedy books and been featured in several others.

Contributor

Title Editor Released Publisher Notes
Because I Tell a Joke or Two: Comedy, Politics and Social Difference Stephen Wagg 2004 Routledge ISBN 978-1134794331
Getting the Joke: The Art of Stand-up Comedy Oliver Double 2005 A&C Black ISBN 978-0413774767
Funny You Should Say That: A Compendium of Jokes, Quips and Quotations from Cicero to the Simpsons Andrew Martin 2006 Penguin ISBN 978-0140515091
Dim Wit: The Funniest, Stupidest Things Ever Said Rosemarie Jarski 2008 Random House ISBN 978-1407024684
How to Be Averagely Successful at Comedy Dave Cohen 2013 Acorn Independent Press ISBN 978-1909121614
Performing Live Comedy Chris Ritchie 2013 A&C Black ISBN 978-1408146439
Words from the Wise: Over 6,000 of the Smartest Things Ever Said Rosemarie Jarski 2013 Skyhorse Publishing, Inc ISBN 978-1628732733

Comedy Clubs

Since 1985 Ivor has founded and run several comedy clubs. The Hampstead Comedy Club is the only one still operating.[when?]

  • Founded the Red Rose Comedy Club in Finsbury Park, London in 1985.[30]
  • Founded the Comedy Boom with club promoter, Addison Cresswell in Edinburgh in 1987. The Edinburgh Festival Fringe's first venue for Stand-Up Comedy.[31]
  • Founded the Hampstead Comedy Club in 1994. It was originally held at the Washington Arms in Belsize Park, London. It currently resides at the Camden Head in Camden Town, London.[32]
  • Founded the Brixton Comedy Club in the Hobgoblin, Brixton, London in 1999.[33]

References

  1. ^ "Ivor Dembina review". The Guardian Newspaper. 
  2. ^ "Comedian Ivor Dembina on how money and TV altered British alternative comedy.". John Fleming's Blog. 
  3. ^ Lee, Stewart (2010). How I escaped my certain fate : the life and deaths of a stand-up comedian. London: Faber and Faber. ISBN 978-0-571-25480-4. 
  4. ^ "The Omid Djalili Show Cast and Crew". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 2014. 
  5. ^ "Eye Spy Cast and Crew". Internet Movie Database (IMDb). 
  6. ^ "Ivor Dembina Parliament Stand-Up". The Guardian Newspaper. 
  7. ^ "Observations: A comic Strip in Westminster". The Independent Newspaper. Retrieved 2014. 
  8. ^ "Old Jewish Jokes 2014 review". The Scotsman Newspaper. 
  9. ^ "A perfect Subject for Comedy". Hanitzotz Publishing House. 
  10. ^ "Beats me what they see in sado- masochism". The Scotsman Newspaper. 
  11. ^ "Comic detained in Israel". Chortle. 
  12. ^ "Mason rapped for Zionist gigl". Chortle. 
  13. ^ a b c "Demonstrators picket comic's Ivy House performance". Jewish Chronicle Newspaper. 
  14. ^ "Bethlehem Unwrapped". PSC. 
  15. ^ "FREE GAZA!". Gilded Balloon Edinburgh Fringe Website. 
  16. ^ "JNF Boycott". Jewish Chronicle Newspaper. 
  17. ^ "Racist Charity blacklisted". The Independent Newspaper. 
  18. ^ "Is the JNF Racist?". The Jewish News. 
  19. ^ "Jewish Community Divided". Beyond the Joke blog. 
  20. ^ "The JNF Hit Back". Jewish Chronicle Newspaper. 
  21. ^ "Jewish Jokes Not Antisemetic". The Independent Newspaper. 
  22. ^ "Cultural Boycott of Israel". The Guardian Newspaper. 
  23. ^ "Artists For Palestine". 
  24. ^ "Jewish Socialist Group". Jewish Socialist Group. 
  25. ^ "A perfect Subject for Comedy". Hanitzotz Publishing House. 
  26. ^ "Ivor Dembina Parliament Stand-Up". The Guardian Newspaper. 
  27. ^ "Observations: A comic Strip in Westminster". The Independent Newspaper. Retrieved 2014. 
  28. ^ "Comedian Ivor Dembina". Chortle Comedy Website. Retrieved 2014. 
  29. ^ "Ivor Dembina shows". University of Glasgow Scottish Theatre Archive. 
  30. ^ "Red Rose Club". Seven Sisters Stories. Retrieved . 
  31. ^ "How To Promote a Fringe Show". How To Promote a Fringe Show. 
  32. ^ "Hampstead Comedy Club". Hamptead Comedy Club. 
  33. ^ "Brixton Comedy Club". Brixton Comedy Club. 

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.


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