An award winning comedian, a theater performer and a cantor, Woodmere resident Dr. Stuart Rappaport is a man of many talents.
Besides being an optometrist at Central Vision Care in Cedarhurst for the past 23 years, he performs amateur theater with The Bayswater Players, sings as a cantor at a Rhode Island synagogue on the High Holidays, and won a contest held by a Jewish publication in 2005.
Rappaport got his start in 2000 when he saw an advertisement in one of his local papers. “I like a challenge, and I’ve always had a flair for entertainment,” he said. “Comedy was something I always wanted to try my hand at.”
Success came early for the Orthodox Jewish doctor, who came in third place a mere three years contest after starting, followed by a second place finish the following year and taking the top spot in 2005. His first place prize: A $200 Macy’s gift certificate the distinguished title of “Best Jewish Comedian of New York.”
While the subject matter of his roughly 45-minute sets differs depending on the audience that he is performing for, the majority of his comedy deals with his experiences growing up and living as a Jew in New York. Citing the works of comedians Jackie Mason, Brian Regan, John Pinette and Alan King as his inspiration, Dr. Rappaport looks at YouTube videos in order to create new material for his acts and gain tips on how to improve in the future.
In addition to traditional standup comedy, Rappaport also interweaves songs inspired by his time in a mock barbershop quartet known as The Meshuggadaddies, impressions of friends and celebrities, and audience interactions within his set. “It’s a lot easier working with a crowd that finds the same things that you do funny,” Rappaport adds. “There are people from all walks of life [at my shows].” Rappaport has performed at Manhattan venues such as Broadway Comedy Club and Standup New York, and has entertained crowds at numerous benefits, including the Cedarhurst chapter of Americans For Israel and Torah, (AMIT) and a recent benefit for the Woodmere/Laliah Hadassah, who was collecting donations to build a Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem.
“Binnie Stein, Renee Nirr and I have been working for months to get him to come in and perform,” Rivolsi Starr of the Woodmere/Laliah Hadassah chapter said. “We are extremely grateful that he did this benefit for us, and we raised a lot of money towards building the hospital.”
Susie Levy, the coordinator for the Oceanside chapter of AMIT also recently booked Dr. Rappaport for an event. “He’s a bit of a local celebrity,” Levy said, “he’s been performing for years, and he’s a great comic. Everybody around here knows who he is.”
Interested fans can find out more information and watch performances on YouTube by searching for “Eyerap.”