Standout American Jewish standup Orny Adams to perform at McGill IBD Research Group Fundraiser

By Mike Cohen

Chances are you have not heard of Adam Jason Orenstein. However, if we switch over to the stage name this popular Jewish American stand up comic has been using for the past three decades then Orny Adams should indeed sound very familiar.

Adams has been a regular at the Just For Laughs Festival for many years and he absolutely loves Montreal. That is just one of the reasons why he has agreed to  headline the McGill IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease)  Research Group “Laugh Your Butt Off” fundraiser  on Thursday, November 14 at the Oscar Peterson Hall in NDG (7141 Sherbrooke Street West7141 Sherbrooke Street West).

Orny Adams, seen here in Israel.

Adams is proud of the hour-long stand up specials he has done on Netflix, Comedy Central and Showtime. In addition, he has appeared on The Tonight Show, Late Night with David Letterman and The Conan O’Brien Show while starring as Coach for six seasons on the hit TV show Teen Wolf.

Adams graduated from Emory University in Atlanta in 1993 with a degree in Philosophy and Political Science and had intended to go to law school until he was awakened by the arts while studying abroad in Florence, Italy. After college  he had trouble finding a job so between part-time work he  began playing comedy clubs in the Boston area. He quit working days and has never looked back since.

Orny Adams on stage.

Adams delivers a powerful, incisive stand up routine that vacillates between the relevant and the absurd. He attacks what’s wrong with the world and sometimes even what’s wrong with Orny. In addition he is touted as brutally honest, satirical and his performance is ceaselessly energetic.

Adams  recently told The Jewish Telegraphic Agency that he concedes his worldview is shaped by being Jewish. “We Jews find pain in everything!” he says. “And we don’t forgive. You hear people of other religions say, ‘You murdered my kid, but I forgive you, that’s what God would want.’ Jews? We never forgive. We don’t even forgive a bad meal!”

The JTA notes that that Adams’ comedy mentor was the late Garry Shandling, and Adams first came to national attention in the 2002 documentary “Comedian,” which contrasted superstar Jerry Seinfeld with the then-struggling younger comic. Seinfeld remains supportive of Adams’ career.

“Some comedians try to divide the audience,” he says. “I go up there and use comedy to bring us closer together.

The  goal of the upcoming program, entitled  “Laugh Your Butt Off,”   is to raise $175,000 to secure funds critical for IBD research and patient care.

Lorne Mayers and his wife Lois.

Lorne Mayers is the president of the McGill IBD Research Group.


Dr. Ernest Seidman

Dr. Ernest Seidman is the Director of the McGill IBD Centre of Excellence, located   on the 16th floor of the Montreal General Hospital

The evening will consist of a cocktail dînatoire courtesy of Java-U Catering, with musical entertainment provided by Que Sera, followed by Adams,

The McGill IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) Research Group was established in 1992 by concerned members of the community to ensure financial support for IBD clinics at McGill University’s teaching hospitals. Its mandate is to continue to provide important services for those living with IBD, as well as their friends and family, with the overall goal of improving quality of life and preventing complications. Services include accessible, state of the art patient-centered care provided by multidisciplinary teams of dedicated professionals;  cutting edge clinical research on the genetic and environmental causes of IBD, novel, non-invasive diagnostic methods, the most up to date therapies; training the next generation of clinicians and scientists dedicated to treating and searching for the cure of IBD; and  raising awareness about Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis through patient education and community outreach programs.

Tickets for the fundraiser are available online at or by calling 514-398-2787. The cost is $300. A special price of $175 is available for those aged 35 and under.

McGill IBD Fundraiser to feature international entertainer and mentalist Oz Pearlman

By Mike Cohen

The McGill IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) Research Group will hold its annual fundraising event on Thursday, November 15 (6 pm) at Oscar Peterson Hall (7141 Sherbrooke Street West) at Concordia University Loyola Campus in NDG, featuring international entertainer and mentalist Oz Pearlman.

The goal of the upcoming program, entitled “A Mind-Blowing Event,”   is to raise $175,000 to secure funds critical for IBD research, patient care, and clinical training opportunities.

Lorne Mayers, Melissa Diamond, event coordinator Emily Shore and Dr. Ernest Seidman at the 2017 program.

This year’s honoree will be “YOU, the IBD Patient,” acknowledging those who have lived with IBD through the life stages as well as the McGill IBD community which we have built around these individuals. “You are our heroes, the reason we exist and to whom we hope our work makes a difference,” said Lorne Mayers, president of the McGill IBD Research Group.”

Joanne Cutler and Nick Burgess from Que Sera.

The evening will consist of a cocktail dînatoire provided by Java-U Catering, with musical entertainment provided by Que Sera, followed by Oz Pearlman, who will read minds and WOW the audience.

The McGill IBD Research Group

The McGill IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) Research Group is dedicated to ensuring financial support for IBD clinics at McGill University’s teaching hospitals, MGH, JGH, and the MCH.  The funds raised with the help of our dedicated volunteers provide important services for those living with IBD, as well as their friends and family, with the overall goal of improving quality of life, training the next generation of IBD clinicians and scientists, and raising awareness through patient education and community outreach programs.

Oz meets former President Bill Clinton.

The Remarkable Oz Pearlman

Dazzling audiences with his unique mind-reading ability for over a decade, Oz Pearlman is a world-class entertainer and one of the busiest mentalists in the country. A top 3 finalist on America’s Got Talent in 2015, Oz has also appeared on a variety of both national and international networks, including NBC’s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Kelly and Ryan, The Today Show. Watch with  here with Jenna Hoda on Today.

Oz uses his magic.

Pearlman has been making a name for himself as one of the busiest mentalists/magicians in North America since he left the comforts of Wall Street in 2005. But making it to the finals of America’s Got Talent truly shot him to fame. “It was like rocket fuel,” he said, “and opened so many doors. I landed an agent and a new fan base.”

Oz waves to an adoring crowd.

A world-class entertainer and one of the busiest mentalists in the country, Pearlman developed an interest in magic at a young age and what started as a hobby quickly became a lifelong passion. After a couple of years spent working on Wall Street, Oz decided to pursue his dream and become a full time entertainer. He has now been dazzling audiences with his unique mind-reading ability for over a decade.

Pearlman’s client list reads like a who’s who of politicians, professional athletes, A-list celebrities, and Fortune 500 companies. His natural charisma and charm make him the perfect choice for corporate events and private parties alike. His unique blend of mentalism and mind-reading create an interactive experience that is redefining the very nature of a magic show…one that truly needs to be seen to be believed.

Pick a card- any card!

When he isn’t blowing the minds of audiences around the world, Pearlman is an avid marathon and ultra-marathon runner, having completed such grueling races as the Badwater 135 Miler, Hawaii Ironman World Championships, Western States 100 and Spartathlon. He takes great pride in his marathon PR of 2:23:52 and has won dozens of races throughout the country.

So what is mentalism? Think of it as “magic of the mind.”  Rather than utilizing sleight of hand and fast fingers, mentalism requires a deep knowledge of human behavior. It combines a multitude of techniques including the art of suggestion, subliminal messaging, body language reading, statistical analysis and neurolinguistic programming. Every show is different because every person is different, adding to the element of excitement and surprise at Oz’s performances.

It was at age 13 that Pearlman fell in love with magic. While on a cruise with his family, he was brought on stage and witnessed the miracle known as the sponge balls. A sleepless night ensued trying to figure out how in the world one ball transformed into three while squeezed so tightly in his own hand. That night set in motion years of tireless study of all things magic and mentalism. It is all but certain that if you bumped into him anytime between the ages of 13 and 23, he had a deck of cards in hand and coins rolling up and down his fingers. By age 14, he landed his first steady gig at a local Italian restaurant in Farmington Hills, Michigan and discovered his passion for amazing audiences with his abilities. Over the years his focus went beyond sleight of hand magic and into mentalism, learning from the legends in the field while also creating his own original techniques.

Pearlman has spent years learning how to read people and analyzing what guides their decision making processes. He is neither a fortune teller nor a psychic and does not claim to have supernatural powers. He will be the first to tell you that if he knew the future, he would have won the lottery by now…probably more than once! Mentalism is wholesome entertainment appropriate for ages 9 through 99 and will have you amazed at the uncharted potential of the human mind.

Oz and Elisa at their wedding.

Meeting his Hampstead born wife via JDate

Pearlman met his wife Elisa on JDate. Today they are the parents of two young children. Elisa, who grew up in Hampstead, serves as his booking agent and publicist.  “I also tend to be the guinea pig when it comes to testing out new routines and mind reading methods,” she says.

Let’s go back to 2009 when the couple first connected. “I was 26 years old and Judaism wasn’t exactly my top priority at the time,” Pearlman shared on a JDate testimonial. “Fresh off a long-term relationship with a non-member of the tribe, my running pal and training partner (our aforementioned character) gifted me a book titled ‘Why Marry Jewish?’ At first, I found it to be a bit absurd, as I could barely even be considered a ‘High Holiday Jew.’ But as I leafed through chapter after chapter, it dawned on me how important Judaism was to me in a cultural and traditional sense. My sense of humor, group of friends and many other facets of life were inextricably tied to my identity as a Jew.

“So what does any normal twenty-something do upon being thoroughly persuaded? I signed up for JDate, of course! There were some good dates, there were some bad dates… but the date that revealed the love of my life was destined to take place quite late on the night of January 13, 2009. After some wild partying on New Year’s Eve, I woke up with a slightly throbbing headache and zero desire to brave the frigid winter weather. I logged onto JDate and started chatting with a beautiful Canadian girl who was in Florida at the time. She was nursing a hangover and we both exchanged war stories about the last night’s various partying debacles. A half hour soon became an hour, then two, and before we knew it, most of the day had flown by. The conversation flowed and she seemed to like my jokes, which is without a doubt the key to my heart. Over the next week, we kept chatting every day and escalated this long-distance relationship to Skype.”

As luck would have it Elisa had landed an internship for a PR agency in Manhattan and was fulfilling her lifelong dream of moving to the big city. She had lived in the same house all her life in Montreal and was ready for a change of pace, and wanted to meet some new people through JDate. “In fact, our opening chat was during her first few hours logged onto the site,” Pearlman explains. “As they say, timing is everything in life! Fast-forward two and a half years to sunny San Diego, California. Deception is the name of the game and what pays my bills, so you better believe I had a few tricks lined up when popping the question. For several months leading up to the proposal, I kept Elisa in the dark, going so far as to make her think our relationship was a little rocky. All is fair in love and war, and it made the surprise to come all the more memorable. I flew out to Southern California, unbeknownst to her, and waited for her to arrive later that day for a business trip. She ordered room service at her hotel and I showed up instead, on one knee, with a ring, asking for her hand in marriage. A year later and that beautiful Canadian girl I loved chatting with on JDate became my wife!”

 Tickets for the fundraiser are available online at or by calling 514-398-2787.The cost, including a cocktail dînatoire (6 pm)  provided by Java-U Catering and musical entertainment provided by QueSera, is $250. A special price of $150 is available for those aged 35 and under. There is also a show only option (7:45 pm entry) for $75.

 Watch  the first episode of his 2018 Summer  NBC show Oz Knows here: