By April Norris in "The Local", Columbus

You have to come to dinner to meet this guy Jerry Farber,"

a friend says to me. We meet at a local favorite because I was told that he 1s a comedy veteran of 50 years, had fallen in love with Columbus, and I had never heard of him, How does that happen? I watch, read and listen to all things comedy, so I was certain I would at least recognize him from his career. After a quick Google search, I still didn1' know him. Upon arrival it was clear why my friend needed for others to soak up Jerry's wisdom. In one evening I learned that he was 77 with the mind of a 40-year-old (or younger I was doing a set at No Shame Theater, and he could charm me into doing five minutes of stand-up. Last month I was fortunate enough to attend Jerry's 80th birthday party at The Loft's comedy night, where he did an hour set proving to us all that he can still work a room.

I watched him walk around, give people his full attention when he met them, and leave on a high note or one-liner with a great to see you again or nice to meet ya·. Twenty minutes into his set, those same people were in the s how. The soldier he'd met just before taking stage was now being asked if he remembered picking up those hookers with him •that one time: He honors his audience with jokes at their expense without hurting any feelings. His jokes land with a Jab, but Jerry quickly throws a blanket of laughter around the crowd to make them feel better about what he considered a very troubled world, one more in need of laughter now than ever. He told me that most people don't pay to feel un-comfortable, so he tries to bring a spirit of service to his audience-and by audience, I mean anyone he's talking to. Jerry is always on.

“Most comedians' art comes from an insecurity, a need to make strangers happy,” Jerry said. He does admit, however, that the art of comedy is also about self-expression, and when done with love can be healing to everyone in the room. And with Jerry, this .art seems to have no shelf life.

Jerry is a classically trained pianist and began his performing career playing piano in bars. Piano-bars used to be much more popular than they are today, he said. He found that people would drink they would become belligerent, so he started filling the space with jokes. This gift of defense led to a long career as a stand-up comedian).  He moved to Columbus from Atlanta because the city had exhausted him for many reasons, and much to his delight, he found more work at a pace that will allow him to tell jokes past the century mark. If you’re lucky you can sit around the piano at MaBella's on certain Saturday nights while he entertains you with the perfect tune, stops to tell some half-true story finished with an unexpected punchline.

Jerry Farber is proof that you can work your entire life and continue to hone your craft, provided you keep your mind active.

Jerry is also very spiritual. He studied the Old Testament, the Talmud and has a regular practice of Buddhist meditation. All of this makes him more hilarious as he walks through The Loft surrounded by five beautiful women while young men do a double take. Two young men at the bar, who were distracted from a game on TV by Jerry's entourage, gave the classic “who the hell is this guy?' look Jerry leaned to the ear of one of the young men and said, “stay asleep, boys; cause I am wide awake.”