Jackie: You are originally from California. What do you miss most now that you live on the East coast?
Max: I actually tell a joke about how Californians here complain about how much better California is than DC. The weather, the beaches, the Mexican food, yadda yadda. Honestly, my thing is the lack of places to get cheap, quality donuts in DC. In my opinion, Krispy Kreme and Dunkin don’t count and are honestly pretty terrible. And sure, you can get an “artisan donut” that costs $17, is locally sourced, and blessed by a hipster with glasses. But you can’t find a place in DC that’s really dedicated to the donut craft like you can in California.
Jackie: Where is your favorite place to spend time in DC?
Max: My new backyard! The first four and a half years that I lived in DC, I was in an apartment building. I just moved to a house and now I sit outside several nights per week, working on comedy and hanging out with friends. Being from California, I’m not a big fan of winter… even less so knowing that soon enough I won’t be able to spend as much time outside.
Jackie: What is your favorite thing about working at the Religious Action Center (RAC)?
Max: Lots actually. First, I get paid to be on social media all day and interact with the press. Also, I have a very dynamic group of coworkers who are all great to work with. I’ve definitely had jobs in the past where I couldn’t stand being around my colleagues. I can’t say the same for my time spent at the RAC.
Jackie: As a comedian, do you incorporate your Jewish identity in your stand-up routines?
Max: My stand-up is a mix of Jewish material and non-Jewish material. Ultimately, I don’t want to be known just as “a funny Jewish comedian.” I want to be known a funny comedian who just so happens to be Jewish. My stand-up is more reflective of my overall experiences, whether Jewish or not. Basically, if I think it’s funny, I’ll talk about it.
Jackie: You will be performing at Confessions: A Storytelling Interrogation Show what can audiences expect from this show?
Max: I’ve never performed on a Perfect Liars Club show before, but from what I’ve heard about the many past shows, audience members can expect to be thoroughly entertained and even competitive as they try to determine which story was the lie.
Max: So, I recently launched a website for my comedy. It’s simply maxrosenblum.com. All of my major performance dates are on there. Plus, I just started a new show every 1st and 3rd Friday of the month at the brand-new Drafthouse Comedy Theater with my good friend Stephen Nicks, who by the way has always been a good friend to the Jews. The show is called Vent! and it’s (as far as I know) DC’s only interactive comedy happy hour. Basically, the show is about encouraging people to express what’s bothering them (vent) and we’ll talk about it during the show. But that’s not the whole show, just a part of it. We also incorporate sketch, stand-up, and improv comedy. Our next two shows are Fridays, October 7 and 21. Additionally, I’m on Twitter and Instagram (@MrMaxRose) and I post many of my shows on those platforms as well.
Jackie: You have opened for some pretty well-known comics. Do you have a favorite story?
Max: Last summer, I had the thrilling opportunity to open for an internationally known British comedian named Russell Howard at Sixth & I Synagogue. He’s a big deal (over in the UK at least), and that was an amazing experience. However, the best story happened earlier this year. I opened for a comedian named Moody McCarthy (as seen on Conan and Letterman). Now, I often tell a joke about how I share the same name (same spelling) as one of the men who was indicted for dealing the fatal dose of heroin to Philip Seymour Hoffman. In the joke, I say that personally, I didn’t care when Hoffman died because, for the most part, celebrity deaths don’t affect me. However, this one did because my name was all over Google, but in a negative capacity. Anyway, Moody came up to me after the show to tell me that in college one of his best friends was PSH, and Moody showed me a picture of the two at Hoffman’s 19th birthday party. I immediately apologized to Moody for saying that I didn’t care that his friend died. Moody responded by saying: “No problem at all. Philip was a weird dude. I think he would’ve liked that joke.”
Jackie: What is your favorite Jewish Holiday?
Max: When I’m not performing on a Friday and I can get together with friends, my favorite holiday is Shabbat. It’s a good way to power down after a long week and meet up with close friends you haven’t seen in awhile. I also like Shabbat because it’s benign enough to be inclusive of people of all religions. You don’t need to be Jewish to have a get together with people you know, power down, and reflect on the week.
Finish the sentence: When the Jews Gather…
Hopefully, they decide to come to a comedy show. And laugh, of course.