Popular comedian, opening act for Seinfeld, always brings his ‘tefillin’ along

Stand-up comedian Mark Schiff, a religious Jew, also writes articles inspiring readers with traditional values. 

By World Israel News Staff

Veteran stand-up comedian Mark Schiff, an observant Jew, has not compromised his values despite the challenges presented in his line of work, which involves a great deal of travel.

Schiff has appeared on popular The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Late Night with David Letterman as well as headlining major venues across the U.S.

Most notably, he has been opening for famous comedian Jerry Seinfeld on tour for 25 years, and all that time, he has brought his tefillin (phylacteries) along, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) reported.

Schiff, who lives in Los Angeles, has also collaborated with Hollywood celebrities Robin Williams, Chris Rock, Rodney Dangerfield, Carl Reiner, Paul Reiser and more, the JTA noted.

“Since the 1970s — when he successfully invited Bob Dylan over to his apartment and befriended Anthony Hopkins during his Broadway run of ‘Equus’ — the Bronx native seems to have also met just about every single one of his heroes,” according to JTA.

Schiff does his best to remain as religiously observant as possible while traveling, he told JTA. When he’s not on the road, he attends services at Young Israel of Century City, a Modern Orthodox congregation. He and his daughter-in-law Anna are studying the late Rabbi Norman Lamm’s Torah talks, he said.

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The 71-year-old performer also avoids crass four-letter words, which is unusual in today’s comedy scene.

Aside from his career, Schiff is a regular contributor to Aish.com, whose purpose is to educate readers from diverse backgrounds about Judaism. ‘With a singular focus of imparting timeless Jewish wisdom, Aish uplifts and inspires people to live more thoughtful, spiritual, and impactful lives,” its website explains.

Last year, Schiff published his memoir, titled “Why Not? Lessons on Comedy, Courage, and Chutzpah.”