I hadn’t been done 10 minutes with my performance at the Rabbi’s retirement party in Tampa, Florida, when one of the older Jewish congregation members came up to me and asked in her thick New York accent,
“Are you really a Mormon from Utah?”
“Yes, ma’am I am,” I smiled in reply.
“Well I’ve never seen a Mormon perform at a Jewish Temple, this was quite the unforgettable experience! Thank you for the laughs, you’re like a throwback to Sammy Davis Jr and you’re a doll.”
As Dr. Seuss said, “Oh The Places You’ll Go!”
Nearly 2 years ago, my friend and fellow comedy performer, David Glickman, and I were inducted along with three other incredible people in the CPAE Speakers Hall of Fame together, forever linking us as brothers in speaking.
Last year he approached me with an idea.
“Jason, I know you’re mostly doing The Promise as a corporate message these days, and I love it by the way, it’s so well integrated with the comedy, music and message. I’m thinking about having you come and perform for our congregation’s beloved Rabbi Birnholz who has served us for over 30 years. Is this something you would consider?”
I reminded him I’m a Mormon from Utah and if that would have any ramifications.
He laughed and said, “It’s not issue to us unless it is to you. In fact, I think it’s funny that we would have a Mormon from Utah perform at a Jewish Rabbi’s retirement party, that is just as funny to say as it will be to have you there!”
I asked why he would invite me of all his many friends who could do it. He then paid me the ultimate compliment,
“We are opening this evening to the public, we will have children there as well as the older generation, and we are in need of someone who can deliver a show that is not only going to make them laugh a lot, but reaches all the demographics, and especially upholds the values you espouse in keeping the performance family clean. You’d be perfect for it and we’d be honored to have you.”
There are few compliments so gratifying.
Asking if they wanted The Promise speech or just the show (as I have still done a few here and there), he said they were after just the laughs, the show material, anything you deliver will be what we want.
And so, this past Saturday, David Glickman opened the show with an over-the-top best parody writing for one event I’ve seen, in an Alexander Hamilton re-write for the Rabbi, and delivered some of the funniest lines I’ve heard in honor of this great man.
And then he introduced me to the stage.
You must remember, I have performed in the world’s finest hotel ballrooms, airport hangars, military kitchens in Afghanistan, Disney World, Bill Gates’ front lawn, Charles Schwab’s backyard, in basements doing comedy, on balconies with fireworks overhead, in a castle in the south of France, on the beach in Grand Cayman, at an Italian restaurant in Kauai, and in arenas where The Beatles and JFK once graced the stage…
But ladies and gentlemen, I’ve never been invited to perform in a Jewish Temple.
A sacred space, turned into a cultural event for laughs, joy, and coming together as a community.
I couldn’t even pronounce the name – Schaarai Zedek – and went back to that mispronunciation over and over throughout the night to uproarious laughs.
The Rabbi even practiced for weeks to join me on stage and do The Blues Brothers routine I have done with a special few through the years, and he even dared attempt the cartwheel despite having multiple stents in his heart.
He had said to me, “I guess this makes us The Jews Brothers!” I repeated the line and the crowd screamed with laughter.
All I’m saying is this was a special night, one I’ll never forget, one I’ll always be proud to have been a part of.
What does it have to do with The Promise? Well, it has everything to do with it.
We all have a promise we’ve made in our business and lives, we are known for it, we are hired because of it, it’s what sets us apart, it’s what allows us to live life’s great adventure.
My Jewish friends from Tampa, FL, have a perception of me, in asking me to be there, saying I’m the kind of performer who would be cool enough to deliver something uniquely special for this type of audience, yet clean enough to allow all attendees a welcome experience, and spiritual enough to give them confidence I would realize the gravity of the moment.
Doesn’t matter if you’re a Southern Baptist, a Brazilian Catholic, a Mongolian Buddhist, or even a Utah Mormon – as religious differences and their subtle similarities can make us more connected when we embrace one another as a part of the make up of a wonderful world.
The Promise is your Signature Move. It is what you are known for, why they hire you, why they bring you back, why they tell their friends about you.
And when you live the promise on and off your stage, where congruence meets consistency in your life and business, that is what matters most.
“Folks, have you heard this one: A Mormon and a Rabbi walk into a bar…”
Jason Hewlett, CSP (Certified Speaking Professional), CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame, Keynote Speaker for the largest corporate events in the world. His primary message, The Promise, is essential for Leadership, Management, Sales, Marketing, Direct-Sales Companies, and is a combination of engagement and entertainment meets inspiration. Jason has even received standing ovations from IT guys. He has been acknowledged as life-changing by Conference Attendees, C-Level Executives and Hollywood Elite. jasonhewlett.com
Please click here to learn about how Jason Hewlett, Speaker Hall of Fame, introduces the opportunity for you, or someone you love, to have the gift of learning how to create a Career From the Stage and begin moving toward fulfilling a lifelong dream as a full-time speaker, performer, or entertainer.