Part of a typical Jewish-American family in the Boston area, Ray Ellin grew up eating Chinese on Christmas. As a rising stand-up comic in New York, he has performed at comedy clubs on Christmas Eve.
This year Ellin will combine both traditions.
The host of cable-TV shows and an actor in commercials, he will be the emcee at of a Jewish-themed comedy show he has put together Saturday night — Christmas Eve and the fifth night of Chanukah — at the B.B. King Blues Club and Grill around the corner from Times Square. The name of the 90-minute show is “A Delightfully Jewish Christmas” (Dec. 24, 8 p.m., 237 W. 42nd St. www.ticketmaster.com,  997-4144).
Part of the proceeds will be donated to American Friends of Magen David Adom.
The show will feature four other comics (Modi, Lenny Marcus and Dan Naturman — all MOTs), a menorah-lighting at the beginning and distribution of Chanukah gelt at the end, the availability of kosher, “some spinning of dreidels” and “some other Chanukah surprises,” Ellin says. He expects the audience to be “90 percent Jewish,” but “non-Jews” — including tourists with an open Saturday night — “are certainly welcome.
“Not every Jew in the city wants to spend another Christmas Eve eating Chinese food and watching a movie,” says Ellin (his family’s original name in Russia was Yelinovich), who attended the Maimonides School in Brookline, Mass., for six years.
Some want to laugh, he says.
The comic’s routines will be heavy, of course, with Jewish references. “PG with a dash of R,” Ellin says. “It won’t be filthy; it won’t be squeaky clean. It is still a nightclub.”
Ellin is finding a niche in such specialized humor; in the wake of Hurricane Irene, which left many entertainment venues dark in late August, he produced and hosted, on less than 12 hours notice, a show at the King club titled “Laugh at the Weather: An Evening of Hurricane Comedy,” with a line-up of top comics.
Ellin says he hopes his Christmas Eve of Jewish comedy will became an annual tradition here. And he’s not forsaking an older tradition, he says. After Saturday night’s show, he’ll head to Chinatown.
Get The Jewish Week Newsletter
The Jewish Week feels comments create a valuable conversation and wants to feature your thoughts on our website. To make everyone feel welcome, we won't publish comments that are profane, irrelevant, promotional or make personal attacks.