Theater Review: '....Why I Left Home in the First Place’

Ben Miles

The first iteration of Steve Solomon’s “My Mother’s Italian My Father’s Jewish & I’m in Therapy” was so successful that it’s toured the nation for years and Solomon has followed up with two subsequent versions of his one-man comedy monologue. The most current version of the show, which is now playing at the Huntington Beach Library Theater through Nov. 26, has the same title (and the same by the numbers direction of Andy Rogow) with this addition, “I’m Home for the Holidays or Why I Left in the First Place.”

Though this show, like the previous Solomon mono-comedies, is autobiographically inspired, the performance reviewed by this critic featured the able comedian Peter J. Fogel in the role of Solomon, a character that for the most part fits Fogel like a tightly-pinned yarmulke.

The problem is that the show is so overstuffed and shaggy that Fogel often loses his place in the script. In one of the best scripted gags in the show (“When someone gives me a restaurant gift card, it tells me I want you to have dinner, I just don’t want to have it with you.”), was annihilated at the performance reviewed by Fogel’s memory lapse. Nevertheless, Fogel rebounds easily and like the pro he is, carries on.

It’s the longish script that is the culprit here. Not only is it about a half-an-hour too long; it’s also surprisingly unkind. Overweight people, “ugly” people and an array of scatological comments and too many sexual references make this season’s “My Mother’s Italian My Father’s Jewish” unsuitable for children and of questionable taste for many adult audiences. What’s more, unlike the past incarnations of “My Mother’s Italian My Father’s Jewish,” this holiday version ironically offers more groans than guffaws.

“My Mother’s Italian My Father’s Jewish, I’m Home for the Holidays Or....Why I left in the first place” continues through November 26 in the Huntington Beach Library Theater at 7111 Talbert Avenue, Huntington Beach. Performances are Wednesday’s at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Fridays at 7:30 p.m.

Saturdays at 2 and 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. For tickets call (855) 448-7469 or, for online ticketing, visit


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