English as a Second Language is No Barrier to Success for Comedian Ronen Tverya

Ronen Tverya
Comedian Ronen Tverya shot by Morgan Preston

More than ever comedians serve a valuable purpose in society, drawing attention to important cross-cultural and political issues in ways that can be challenging, entertaining and more often than not, funny. With such a heavy responsibility, it’s therefore understandable that only the cream of the crop amongst comedians become regulars on the stand-up circuit. Ronen Tverya, whose first name translates to ‘song of joy’ in Hebrew, is certainly aware of the pressure that comes with spreading joy and making people laugh on the world stage. He however, as a nationally acclaimed and successful performer in Israel, knows all too well how to poke fun at his own plight as well as that of his country.

His jokes often come at the expense of “[t]he differences between his country (Israel) and all aspects of life.” Explaining though that his “life [in the US] as an Israeli” is very funny, Ronen subscribes to the style of the best comedians working today like Louis C.K., Jerry Seinfeld and Chris Rock: he proudly admits that he “laughs a lot a lot about [his own] life situations.”

That being said, Ronen has encountered challenges when literally translating his shows for American audiences. He explains, “When I do comedy in English I need to think in Hebrew and then translate it into English in my head and find the right way to say it…sometimes I have to improv[ise] on stage in English – and it’s difficult to find the right word at the perfect time for the punchline.” Nevertheless, his past and future performances would suggest that such language barriers don’t serve as a barrier to his undeniable success.

Indeed, it’s not just Ronen’s unique style as a comedian which sets him apart from the rest of those performers struggling to achieve success. Ronen’s experiences on stage, as part of the Cookies and Comedy show in San Francisco with renowned comedian Tony Sparks, signify how he has reached the heights of success in the comedy world. Sparks is known as “The Godfather of San Francisco Comedy,” as noted by leading Californian publications like”‘Hoodline,” so for Ronen to be hand-picked by Sparks to perform alongside him is a huge honour. Ronen adds “[I] think if someone like Tony Sparks sees [me] and immediately wants [me] to be in his show [it] is a great step for me in America.”

Back in his home country, Ronen has graced audiences in such esteemed venues like the Camel Comedy Club (also host to renowned comedienne Kandi Abelson) and The Stand Up Factory, touted as the hottest new comedy club in Tel Aviv by the country’s leading newspaper publications.

His upcoming shows also demonstrate that things are not slowing down anytime soon, and that Ronen is a sought after figure in the world of comedy, and a forbearer for the cultural conversation. When discussing the upcoming ‘Dirty Martini’ shows in Seattle, which is scheduled to be broadcast live on Facebook on August 27, he adds “it’s a variety” show with “stand-up comedy, comedic musical acts, sketch groups,” no doubt featuring fellow high-profile and successful artists. Noting that the show will be recorded with the “best sound system” and live cameras, it’s also exciting to know that the show will be exclusively broadcast live in collaboration with Facebook for a huge number of viewers around the world.

It’s clear though that Ronen doesn’t just perform for himself. He does it for the audiences who need a laugh. “This world is stressful enough with all sorts of issues. I think comedy is a great opportunity for people to forget their problems.”

 

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