Noah Gardenswartz brings the lakhns to Dayton Funny Bone

Photo: Noah Gardenswartz, on Comedy Central (above), started stand-up where most great stand-up careers start, in the upstairs of a taco restaurant 

By Gary Spencer

Dating back to the vaudeville antics of George Burns and Henny Youngman all the way to modern masters such as Andy Samberg and Andrew Ginsburg, there is a longstanding tradition of Jewish funnymen in the history of stand-up comedy.

One up and coming Jewish comic working his way up the ranks to legends such as Don Rickles, Billy Crystal, and Andy Kaufman is Brooklyn-based comic Noah Gardenswartz. Upon talking with the budding comedian, he seems to confirm the earlier sentiment about his people being naturally funny.

“I grew up in Denver with a big, loud, Jewish family that loves to joke and complain,” he says. “It was a perfect breeding ground for becoming a comedian.”

Growing up in a Jewish family that held one foot in tradition and one foot in the modern age planted the seeds for Gardenswartz to later become an on-stage funnyman.

“[My] introduction to stand-up, that I remember, was all through HBO—George Carlin’s specials, Chris Rock’s specials, and Def Comedy Jam,” Gardenswartz says. “For some reason, the Def comics really spoke to my Jewish family. I grew up in a religious Jewish household, so on Friday nights we’d have a Shabbat dinner and then as a family we’d all watch Def Comedy Jam. It always made for an interesting Friday night.”

After years of such routine, Gardenswartz decided he’d finally try his hand at making a room full of strangers laugh with his own routines, although he doesn’t look back on his first time with much fondness.

“I decided I’d try it for the first time as a senior in college, because I was a sociology major, and perhaps the only job with worse career prospects than ‘comedian’ is ‘sociologist,’” Gardenswartz explains. “My first stand-up performance started pretty much the same way all great stand-up careers start—in the upstairs of a taco restaurant. I did well enough to want to try it again, and I remember being really happy with my jokes at the time. Of course, looking back, every joke I told that night makes me cringe thinking about how bad and unfunny it all was.”

After working at the open mic level for some time, Noah began to pursue more serious work but soon found himself itching to do comedy again and make a career out of it.

“It was after I spent a year teaching fourth grade that I decided to return to stand-up,” he explains. “There’s something about spending a lot of time with 9- and 10-year-olds that makes the thought of anything, let alone failing at stand-up, seem less scary.”

Noah says his career experiences leading up to this decision had helped fine-tune his comedy, among other off-the-beaten-path methods.

“I improved my craft by continuing to write jokes and rehearsing them in the bathroom mirror, using my toothbrush as a microphone,” Gardenswartz explains. “Being a journalist taught me how to write clearly, being a day trader taught me how to handle pressure, being a pot dealer taught me how to be cool, and being a teacher taught me how to speak to crowds when they don’t want to listen.”

Since then, Noah’s made big strides working his way up the comedic ranks. His resume includes writing for TruTV’s Comedy Knockout plus standout appearances on Late Night with Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central, Gotham Comedy Live, and most notably as a contestant on NBC’s Last Comic Standing in 2015.

“I got on the show because the producers saw me perform at the Just for Laughs Festival in 2014,” Noah explains. “The national exposure was nice—I definitely gained some new fans, and one woman in California even emailed me a picture of her boobs. That was cool.”

Gardenswartz seems to attribute a lot of his appeal to comedy audiences by discussing everyday life topics such as race relations, sex, drugs, and religion in a casual, laid-back fashion, by simply sharing his own life experiences.

“I describe my style as a mix of observational jokes and personal stories,” Gardenswartz explains. “I come up with my material by living life. There’s no particular magic or recipe to it— I just go about my days and write down any interesting or funny thoughts as they come to me. I don’t go out of my way to bring up controversial topics or hot button issues just to show off how smart I think I can be.”

And for anyone considering coming to see Gardenswartz do his stand-up thing during his upcoming stint at the Dayton Funny Bone, he promises a fun time and perhaps a little catharsis for whatever ails you.

“I’m relaxed and friendly, and just trying to have a good time with everybody in the room,” he says. “If my audience finds my act to be therapeutic, I’d at least feel great about saving them some money. I have to imagine my show and a few drinks are still way cheaper than seeing a doctor.”

Noah Gardenswartz performs Thursday–Sunday, Aug. 3-6 at the Dayton Funny Bone, 88 Plum St. in Beavercreek. Tickets are $10–$15 in advance. For tickets or more information, please visit or

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Gary Spencer is a graduate of Miami University and works in the performing arts, and believes that music is the best. Contact him at

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