On August 25th and 26th Jewish matchmaker Joy Veh will grace the Bryant Lake Bowl stage for an unforgettable night of matchmaking, merriment and laughter. The Long Island native performed in Minneapolis earlier this year at the VFW Purim party. She’s also performed her show, described as part Dame Edna and part Dating Game, in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. To learn more about Joy, and the show that she’ll be doing, TC Jewfolk reached her for a phone interview from her Long Island home.
TC Jewfolk: Hi Joy, can you hear me alright?
Joy Veh: Of course, my Rugelach. Hope you don’t mind, I’ve put you on speakerphone while I thumb through my Super Saver.
TCJ: That’s totally fine. Why don’t we start this thing with a little bit about you. Where you’re from, how you became a matchmaker, that sort of thing.
JV: My name is Joy Veh, I’m from Valley Stream, Long Island, and I work in Dr. Levy’s dental factory, making those little molds, you know, when you get your teeth implanted—I actually shave off the sides to make everything fit.
TCJ: Really? How’d you get into that?
JV: That’s what was there. Times are tough in Valley Stream; Jews are on the way out. We’ve had to turn our synagogue into a part time bagel shop. That’s the only way we can make it.
TCJ: Your synagogue is a bagel shop?
JV: Yeah. We all have to put in two shifts a week. B’nai Lox.
TCJ: Couldn’t you just hire some employees…
JV: It’s not that simple, Rugelach.
TCJ: Sorry. Let’s switch to your matchmaking. How did that start?
JV: Well, I was sitting in the Dr. Levy’s office one day, and on the left of me was Leah, on the right of me was Jonathan, and I knew there was some love connection between the two of them, so I started planting little things to make them fall in love. Then later I invited the two of them over for dinner. I pretended the power went out and sorta, you know, pushed them together.
TCJ: What happened?
JV: Oh, they were horrified! Jonathan is 48 and Leah is 22, so maybe that’s not a perfect match. But that’s when I said, “I should become a matchmaker.”
TCJ: Which I guess led to your show here at the Uptown VFW on Purim. Did any matches come from that?
JV: I haven’t heard from anyone, but I tried.
TCJ: Will it be a similar show at Bryant Lake Bowl?
JV: It’ll be an extravaganza! A love extravaganza—talking about love, finding love, helping people in the audience find love, finding couples and helping them understand how they fell in love.
I’ll also be showing pictures and slides of my most recent vacation. My friend Ethel surprised me with a two-day cruise from New York to New Jersey. It was lovely. So I have a whole slideshow and pictures of that.
TCJ: Will there be audience participation?
JV: Oh yeah. Hopefully there will be people there. If there are only three people in the audience, then we’ll be making matches with three people all night long.
TCJ: That’s a bit risqué, isn’t it?
JV: Hey, love is love, Rugelach. You never know.
TCJ: Anything else?
JV: You’ll just have to come to the show. There could be more vacation slides; there might be a makeover; who knows! Might be some advice from Joy on how to be a modern lady.
TCJ: Like what?
JV: I recommend not showing much skin.
TCJ: Why not?
JV: Because people don’t want to think you’re a hussy.
TCJ: Going back to your matchmaking, do you just do Jewish matches? Would you match a Jew with a non-Jew ever?
JV: I’m warming up to that idea because, you know, everyone wants the Jews to stay around. I read about that Birthright Israel, they want to make Jews love each other and make more Jews. So I’m learning that now—we’re in the 21st century—you have to change your ideas. It may not be perfect but it’s still OK. Wherever you find love. I have a feeling that my audience in Minneapolis might not be the most Jewish audience…
JV: Well the gays seem to come to my shows a lot, and I’m warming up to the gays as well. You know, love is love. If you love your horse… Hey, I love cream of wheat. Love is love.
TCJ: Would you marry cream of wheat?
JV: I tried, but it didn’t work out.
TCJ: What makes you qualified to be a matchmaker?
JV: What makes you qualified to be a writer?
TCJ: Um, because I write? And, well, people tell me I write well, I guess. I dunno, I’ve never really thought about it.
JV: And I match. It’s just something that came…
JV: I’ve never actually had a match myself; I’ve been single my whole life. The best matchmakers usually are.
TCJ: Why is that you think?
JV: Because we know about love that way. You can see other people’s love when you don’t have any.
TCJ: You at least have some friends, though. You mentioned Ethel earlier. What’s she like?
JV: Ethel and I met about 3 years ago in line at the ShopRite. We were chitchatting in line and discovered that we both like that show “Extreme Couponers.” And I’ve always loved to get bargains. So Ethel and I became—we call ourselves bargain sisters. Whenever I get the Sunday circular I call Ethel and say, “Hey Ethel, did you see that—” Even if it’s not kosher we’ll still get it. The bacon cream puffs were on sale: 5 for a dollar! And then I had a coupon for thirty cents off, so I was basically getting them for free. I just take out the bacon.
TCJ: And nobody knows.
JV: Yes. But then I’ll eat the bacon later.
TCJ: So I take it you don’t keep kosher?
JV: I try. But not really. I had a pig roast for my birthday. I told everybody it was a kosher pig.
TCJ: A kosher pig?
JV: I said it was tofu. Rabbi Schwartzbaum was there and didn’t look happy. But I still don’t think he knows for sure, so don’t tell him.
TCJ: Is he the rabbi at the bagel shop?
JV: Yeah. Oh, also in the show I hope to do craft segments. I don’t want to say anymore. But also maybe a, “Quick, you’re entertaining.” How to have a Jewish-inspired tapas party with just the ingredients in your cupboard.
TCJ: That sounds great.
JV: Even if they don’t find a match people will hopefully learn how to entertain, because love doesn’t happen just on your own. Well for some people love happens on their own, but, but—
TCJ: But most of the time you need some help.
JV: Exactly. You’re too smart, Rugelach. Do you have a match in your life?
TCJ: I don’t.
JV: Well we’ll have to find you one at my show. You’re a nice Jewish boy. You should be turning girls away.
TCJ: Do you have any advice for me?
JV: I recommend when you’re out with friends just going on a two-minute date. Just find somebody and say, “Ok, let’s just walk around for two minutes. If it works we’ll be together for the rest of our lives, if it doesn’t we’ll go our separate ways.” Sometimes when I’m out places—restaurants, bars, aerobic studios—I push people together and say, “Two minute date! Go!”
TCJ: I’ll have to try that.
JV: You should, Rugelach. You should.
Joy Veh: Bagels, Lox and Love will be at the Bryant Lake Bowl theater Friday, August 24, and Saturday, August 25. Both shows start at 10pm, and tickets are going fast! You can buy them in person, over the phone, or on Bryant Lake Bowl’s website. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. Joy is also on that “Facey Place.”
I like your picture Brad! Nice interview.