Israeli comics recall how a one-night stand led to true love

Communicating their love through jokes, Roi Tsabari and Almog Shur perform separately on stage but enjoy being home together

Yuval Levy|
Not many couples are willing to admit their love story began with a one-night stand, but 43-year-old Roi Tsabari and 31-year-old Almog Shur are just that couple.
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  • A rather colorful comedic pair, the two met on stage at a standup night eight years ago. "I saw this 23-year-old chick on stage wearing a fruit basket on her head and odd clothes," Tsabari recounts. "I hit on 3-4 other girls that night to no success, except Almog. We went to my place after the show and had sex all night."
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    אלמוג שור ורועי צברי
    אלמוג שור ורועי צברי
    Almog and Roi
    (Photo: Aviv Shilo)
    Almog: "Back then, he was still making an effort."
    Roi: "Two days later I gave her a key to my apartment."
    Almog: "It's the longest fling we've ever had."
    Afterward, they began performing together and tied the knot two years later. "We don't do a joint show," Roi clarifies. "We perform individually and sometimes collaborate on stage. Tell jokes about each other and such. It's not preplanned. We just roll with it."
    Almog: "Our audience tends to be younger and lighter than others. We sometimes bring couples on stage and have fun with them, kinda like a couples session although we're there to ruin it for them. People enjoy humor they can relate to. We sometimes joke about the age difference, though most couples are closer in age than we are."
    Roi: "But cheating is something everyone does. If you're gonna cheat, do it like everyone else."
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    אלמוג שור ורועי צברי
    אלמוג שור ורועי צברי
    Almog and Roi
    (Photo: Aviv Shilo)
    Is there a specific couple that comes to mind?
    Roi: "Not for me."
    Almog: "I can bring a couple on stage and have fun with them and then I move on and forget about it, but there was one couple where the woman was older than the man by 20 years. We also get couples to marry. Couples can be amazing."
    What brand of humor characterizes each of you?
    Almog: "Roi is known for his improv skills. He can go on stage with no idea what he's about to do."
    Roi: "I'm not much for school and planning and writing ahead, and that comes across in my act. Sometimes I develop material as I interact with the audience."
    Almog: "I improvise quite a bit too, some I learned from him. My material tends to be more 'out there'. I have an act coming up called Full Frontal, which is obviously going to be quite revealing. I have a bit there about wanting to have a gay child."
    Do you feel like PC culture is stopping you from performing a certain way?
    Almog: "I bother women on stage all the time, but if a man said the kinds of things I do, there would have been consequences."
    Roi: "I disagree. I don't care about being politically correct. It ruins the fun."
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    אלמוג שור ורועי צברי
    אלמוג שור ורועי צברי
    Goofing around
    (Photo: Ofir Peleg)
    What did you think about Chris Rock's joke about Jada Smith at the Oscars?
    Roi: "That's not a great example since the joke was actually pretty funny."
    Almog: "No it wasn't."
    Roi: "Even Will Smith laughed, but let's talk about something else. I'm quite liberal, but would never make fun of someone for being bald or fat. I'm not out there to humiliate people."
    Almog: "Roi told me that if I make fun of someone and everyone laughs except him, you're just a bully with a microphone. With time you develop the intuition who you can make fun of."
    Roi: "Some people can say 'pussy' on stage and some can't. A standup comedian has to have the emotional intelligence to distinguish between them, along with a wide set of skills. You've got to have a bit of everything, like a bank teller."
    Almog: "You can also hurt someone inadvertently. I did some youth special once that was heavily edited. A woman called me up a few days later and yelled at me that her daughter saw my act and was insulted and crying non-stop. You can't please everyone."
    Roi: "That's why I don't do shows like this. If I come somewhere to do an act and they tell me I can't make fun of gays, or women, or Sephardim, or Arabs, or cancer patients and so on, I leave. I won't be confined in what I can say."
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    אלמוג שור ורועי צברי
    אלמוג שור ורועי צברי
    Couples shopping
    (Photo: Private album)
    Do you share the same dynamics at home as you do on stage?
    Roi: "She hates me at home."
    Almog: "Liar!"
    Roi: "Kidding."
    Almog: "The weird thing is that at home, we're all lovey-dovey and chill, but on stage is when we often iron out our differences."
    Roi: "It's like on-stage psychotherapy. Getting our supposed aggressions out, but it's mostly pretend."
    Do you think it's the humor that facilitates this?
    Roi: "And intelligence, as I said. To be able to analyze why people feel the way they do and not be self-absorbed in your humor. Some humor is naturally bitter because it stems from trauma. Ours is a way of life. A language, if you will."
    Almog: "Women's standup often revolves around men. Either you're single and dating or married and the man is driving you crazy. One day I thought about why I reach all of those peripheral issues in relationships, and I think the fact that I'm happy in my relationship necessarily makes me think outside the box and produce material that is supposedly more masculine."
    Roi: "There are quite a few comedians who made a whole career whinging about their married life, but I'm going to say something that you two ladies won't like to hear: Standup is mostly a man's game."
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    אלמוג שור
    אלמוג שור
    Feeling cute, might delete later
    (Photo: Shir Ram)
    A lot of things are.
    Roi: "And women who wanted to make it had to 'butch it up' a little, which is what Almog was trying to say."
    Almog: "That's not what I was trying to say."
    Roi: "Okay, so she was trying to say that standup comedy is what it is. Gender doesn't matter. I have my life experiences and that's what I bring to the stage."
    You said standup material stems from our problems in life. Maybe female comedians speak about men so much because most of their problems arise from being around men?
    Almog: "Probably, but my experiences with Roi are such that I don't have to write about them. It's more opinion than experience in my case."
    Roi: "I'm the homemaker, anyway. I cook, clean, do laundry. Eight years and not once has she taken out the trash. How can a girl change 19 pairs of shoes a day? I come home sometimes and it looks like I'm in a shoe museum, not a home."
    Do you fight?
    Roi: "All couples do, but mostly just arguments. It's probably because we don't have kids. They add a lot of stress to a relationship."
    Almog: "It's about communication. We resolve things pretty quickly. We don't yell or hurl accusations at each other."
    Roi: "We don't keep things bottled up waiting for the other shoe to drop. We resolve our issues in a matter of days at most."
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    רועי צברי
    רועי צברי
    Roi in his element
    (Photo: Aviv Shilo)
    Almog: "Not even two days."
    Roi: "Oh come on, we've had those. It's not like we're angels or something."
    Almog: "I don't recall anything."
    Roi: "What are you talking about? I get angry a lot, wishing you were dead. Last night, I smothered you with a pillow."
    Almog: "I didn't feel anything."
    Roi: "You sleep very tight."
    What do Friday dinners with the families look like?
    Almog: "Loads of laughs."
    Roi: "Our relatives laugh all the time because of us. By the way, we also do family events. You can book a night with us, just call 052-98..."
    Who's funnier?
    Almog: "I say him, and so does he."
    Roi: "We're both funny. I'll tell you something else. I hope she makes a lot more money than I do. Once someone recognized me because of her because I was dating Almog the comedian. It made my day."
    And there's no competition between you?
    Roi: "No competition or ego."
    Almog: "You have to look at the path you've taken. Sometimes my birthday arrives and I think about my age and what I've done or haven't done. I used to compare myself to others, but now I'm more mature and don't feel the need to do that."
    Roi: "Even with kids and spouses around you, life is still a personal journey. It's just you answering to yourself."
    Almog: "When you're in a healthy relationship that has love and caring and encouragement and even admiration, both of you can thrive. There's no competition involved."
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