This review of Brad Zimmerman's My Son The Waiter: A Jewish Tragedy at Stage 72 at The Triad was written by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens and published in Volume X, Issue 5 (2015) of the online edition of Applause! Applause!
My Son The Waiter: A Jewish Tragedy
Written & Performed by Brad Zimmerman
Stage 72 at The Triad
158 West 72nd Street
New York, New York 10023
Reviewed 8/2/15 at 2:00 p.m.
When I called Brad Zimmerman a comic, he corrected me and told me he was an actor and a writer. Fair enough, because it takes a good actor and writer to pull off a successful, entertaining and hilarious one-man show. In this 90-minute piece, he draws on his life experiences to relay his mind-numbing 29-year struggle to get to the New York stage to try to make a living as a performer instead of as a waiter. Originally from Oradell, New Jersey, Zimmerman attended River Dell High School and was bar mitzvahed at Temple Emmanuel in Westwood, New Jersey. He started waiting tables in the late 1970s and insists he never memorized the menu, making an art form out of underselling the food. With respect to wine, he says all he knew was whether the restaurant had it or not. He says that after the first three years of being a waiter, all he wanted was to work his shift and go home. He reports one customer asked him what he did when not there, and he responded, "I have other tables." In the past decade, the late-blooming Zimmerman finally broke his losing streak and began doing stand-up comedy. But he continued to wait tables, still unable to fully commit himself to acting and comedy. He handed out his last check at Chat 'n Chew in 2012.
Now 61 years old, Brad Zimmerman finally has a hit show. My Son The Waiter: A Jewish Tragedy, which opened October 10, 2014. It was originally scheduled as a 12-week engagement ending on New Year's Eve 2014. However, it was extended to March 2nd, then to April 5th, put over until May 31st, then June 29th, and now it has been extended through the end of 2015 due to strong ticket sales (there were 66 people in the audience of the show I saw). His mother suggested he call the show My Son The Waiter: A Jewish Mother's Tragedy but he rejected her suggestion.
On IMDb, Brad Zimmerman has five acting credits listed ranging from 2001 to 2010 that includes his having played a dragged man, a brother, and a homeless person. His one writing credit dating back to 2001 was for having contributed "additional dialogue" to a short film. He claims to have been working all over the country doing theatres, comedy clubs, casinos, country clubs, and comedy festivals but his main claim to fame, according to his bio, seems to be that he once appeared on the same stage (most probably not at the same time) with better-known comedians and entertainers such as Brad Garrett, Dennis Miller, Susie Essman, and Julio Inglesias. For seven years, he claims he was Joan Rivers' opening act of choice. She allegedly once called him the "best comic in his price range." None of this sketchy background should deter you from going to see his current show. You will definitely enjoy it and will leave with a smile on your face.
I will give you the following few jokes from his show so you can decide whether Brad Zimmerman is your cup of matzah ball soup: a) He claims to have worked as a waiter in the Catskills. Once when he was checking up on four elderly Jewish women, he asked, "Is anything alright?" b) He reported that in Jewish tradition, a fetus is not considered viable until it graduates from medical school. c) For his summer vacation, he put his fan on high. d) A guy gets into bed with his wife naked and whispers in her ear, "I'm going to make you the happiest person on earth." She responds, "I am going to miss you." e) He told his mother she was an endless source of material for him. She said, "what are you going to do when I'm gone" and he responded, "I'm going to sell your house."
My Son The Waiter: A Jewish Tragedy is funny and heartfelt - even moving at times. If you enjoy laughing, this show has been written for you. Tickets cost from $45.00 to $99.00 in addition to a two drink minimum (drink prices start at $6.00). There are currently five shows a week (Mondays at 7:00 p.m.; Fridays at 7:00 p.m.; Saturdays at 2:00 p.m. & 7:00 p.m.; and Sundays at 2:00 p.m.). Call SmartTix at 212-868-4444 or make reservations through Brad Zimmerman's website at http://bradzcomedy.com/tour-dates/