Rev. Susan Sparks and Rabbi Bob Alper

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Location Hall of Philosophy

Gate pass required. Purchase at our Main Gate Welcome Center, (716) 357-6250

There’s a reason why Sirius/XM satellite radio plays Rabbi Bob Alper’s bits several times daily, often sandwiched between Bob Newhart and Jerry Seinfeld: Bob’s unique background – he’s an ordained rabbi who served congregations for fourteen years and holds a doctorate from Princeton Theological Seminary – all of which has prepared him well for a twenty-eight year comedy career with wonderfully unique material presented in a way that’s intelligent, sophisticated, and 100% clean.  Bob’s stand-up act is fast-paced, with impeccable timing and material that’s definitely sharp yet gentle and unhurtful.  In addition, he offers an informative, hilarious event called “The Spirituality of Laughter,” which is particularly appropriate for religious organizations, civic groups, school and hospital in-services, etc.

The rabbi-comedian draws tremendous media attention, and he was recently named “Honorary Comedic Advisor to the Pope,” winning an international contest launched on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.”

In addition to being a full-time stand-up comic and conducting annual High Holyday services, Bob is the author of three books that further showcase his considerable talents: Life Doesn't Get Any Better Than This, an inspirational collection that The Detroit Free Press called “a volume of spiritual gems;” the award-winning full-color cartoon book A Rabbi Confesses; and the recently-published Thanks. I Needed That, more stories that touch readers with their warmth, humor, and wisdom.  He’s also produced two best-selling comedy CDs as well as a DVD. 

Bob resides in rural Vermont with his wife Sherri, a psychotherapist. Professionally, he makes people laugh, while she helps people cry.

A trial lawyer turned standup comedian and Baptist minister, Rev. Susan Sparks is America's only female comedian with a pulpit.  (  Susan received a B.A. from the University of North Carolina, where she was President of her class, and a Juris Doctor from Wake Forest University School of Law.   After ten years as a lawyer, moonlighting as a standup, she left the practice and spent two years on a solo trip around the world.  Upon returning home, she earned a Master of Divinity at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, writing an honors thesis on humor and religion entitled “Laughing Your Way to Grace.” 

Currently the Senior Pastor of the historic Madison Avenue Baptist Church in New York City (and the first woman in its 165-year history), Susan is also a professional comedian.  She tours nationally with a Rabbi and a Muslim comic in the Laugh in Peace Tour.  Susan's work with humor and healing has been featured in such media outlets as the Oprah Magazine, the New York Times, CBS, CNN, and ABC.  A blogger for Huffington Post and Psychology Today, her book Laugh Your Way to Grace, was named a best spiritual book and was featured in USA Today and Good Morning America. 

Susan and her husband Toby love riding their Harleys, fly fishing, eating good BBQ, and rooting for Tar Heel basketball and Green Bay football.