Originally broadcast at 1:00 p.m. ET Wednesday, July 28, 2021.
The Department of Religion is pleased to announce that Benji Lovitt will present the Interfaith Lecture on Wednesday, July 28, during Week Five focusing on the theme The Authentic Comedic Voice: Truth Born of Struggle:
What we expect from the Art of Comedy is something silly, foolish, witty, or an unexpected twist or deviation from expected reality. It has been posited, however, that authentic comedic articulation, while producing laughter and hilarity, frequently arises out of struggle, out of pathos and the need to speak truth. “We laugh because it’s funny; we laugh – or cry – because it’s true.” In this week we invite the voices of the healers who make us laugh.
Since immigrating to Israel in 2006, comedian Benji Lovitt has delivered standup performances and cultural presentations for audiences in countries including the United States, Israel, South Africa, Australia, England, and more. His perspectives on Israeli society and cultural differences have been featured on Israeli television and radio and in media outlets such as USA Today, BBC Radio, Time Magazine, the Atlantic, and the Times of Israel.
Benji opened for well-known comedian Jim Gaffigan on his trip to Tel Aviv and was called "playful, clever, and full of joy" by TV star Mayim Bialik. He has worked as a cross-cultural trainer with Israel’s Foreign Ministry to help diplomats overcome cultural differences and communication gaps, and during 2014's Operation Protective Edge his humorous observations on the war led to his being called in Israel "the only reason to go on Facebook.”
Benji has taught courses on Jewish humor and comedy's ability to break down barriers and help people cope with adversity. His unique viewpoints on the humorous side of life in the Holy Land has helped create and promote positive Israel associations for audiences of all religions.
This program is made possible by the Waasdorp Fund for Religious Initiatives.
About Chautauqua Institution: Chautauqua Institution is a community on the shores of Chautauqua Lake in southwestern New York state that comes alive each summer with a unique mix of fine and performing arts, lectures, interfaith worship and programs, and recreational activities. As a community, we celebrate, encourage and study the arts and treat them as integral to all of learning, and we convene the critical conversations of the day to advance understanding through civil dialogue. CHQ Assembly is the online expression of Chautauqua Institution's mission.