Friday, May 11, 1984
THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
What's a nice Jewish
housewife doing in the 'clean'
comedy business? Ask the
question and prepare to hold
‘ - 7)
BY HEIDI PRESS
Local News Editor
Take Leona Toppel.
"My husband and I have been
married 35 years. It's a rotten job, but
someone's got to do it."
Looking like a female corporate
executive in her tweed conservative
suit and "sensible" pumps, it would
be hard to guess that Leona Toppel
has mastered the art of writing and
delivering one-liners. But for 17
years, this former homemaker has
been writing gags for comedians and
television shows, as well as dabbling
in political cartoons, creating greet-
ing cards. , writing speeches and
working for public relations firms.
Her philosophy? If at first you
don't suceed, knock it off and try
She did, comedy, and more than
100 members of Temple Israel Sis-
terhood were treated to her humor
last week as she quipped about a
variety of subjects.
Coming to Detroit from Chicago
and delayed by last week's high
winds, Mrs. Toppel apologized to her
audience for being late. "I flew in —
without a plane."
Geared to a women's audience,
S. Toppel's comments also re-
:cted on middle age. When I
turned 50 I told my friends I was 65.
They said I looked good for my age."
On age spots, she said she hated cal-
ling them liver spots. "I call them
senior freckles. Sounds like a come-
. dian from South America."
A little self-deprecating humor
but some self-glorifying humor bal-
anced the presentation which had the
women guests laughing. On getting
her new driver's license: "I got 100 on
the test, but flunked the picture." As
a liberated woman: "I'm not so sure I
want to be equal with men. I don't
want to lower my, standards."
The constant battle to lose
weight brought nods of recognition
from the audience. She spoke of a new
Miss Piggy (of the Muppets) diet.
"Never eat more than you can lift."
And on her own, well, matronly ap-
pearance: "My top weight is 110
from here to here." She points from
her waist to the top of her head. The
audience eats it up.
Mrs. Toppel gave doctors a com-
pliment, in a left-handed way. "If it
weren't for doctors, thousands of
people would die every year. If it we-
ren't for doctors thousands of phar-
macists would die of starvation."
She added, "Why do thy call
what doctors do, practice?" It re-
minded her of something else: The
first sign one sees at the airport says
Getting her ideas from films and
TV, Mrs. Toppel was critical of re-
makes of films, adding that too much
sex is involved. "Remember Andy
Hardy Gets Spring Fever? Today
they'd change it to Andy Hardy Gets
Speaking on the Olympics she
asked the women to recall recent
Olympic stars. "Whatev-er happened
to Mark Spitz," who won several gold
medals for swimming in the 1972
Olympics, she asked. "Did he become
a dentist? Wouldn't it be great to
have a dentist named Dr. Spitz?"
Planning a wedding and young
couples did not escape her eye. On
wedding consultants she said:
"That's the person who drives your
husband to Chapter 13 in a limo."
About a young couple she knew who
recently got married, "They were so
young. They registered for gifts at
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