Creator of Home for Hanukkah with Bubbe: An Interactive Holiday Experience
We were so excited to chat with Meg Grunewald about her new project, Home for Hanukkah with Bubbe: An Interactive Holiday Experience. Read about her formative years growing up in Chicago, her experiences at camp and her tips of where to laugh in Chicago – enjoy!
Where did you grow up?
Chicago!! I grew up in Chicago and went to Bell Elementary and then Lincoln Park High School.
What did you do Jewish growing up?
I grew up going to my cousins house to celebrate Chanukah but never belonged to a congregation. In third grade, I asked my mom if I could go to Sunday school (I know…the only person to ever ask to go to Sunday school). After some classic “Synagogue Shopping,” we ended up choosing Temple Sholom, a reform congregation in East Lakeview, and I was introduced to OSRUI, a URJ camp. I was also very involved in NFTY, the reform youth movement, and served as president of NFTY CAR my senior year of high school.
Where did you go to school?
I graduated from Scripps College in Claremont, California. Majored in Theatre. Interesting OSRUI/college connection: my best camp friend, since age 11, was going to Claremont McKenna at the the time and I went to visit her and decided to apply to the sister school, Scripps College. I would have never went there if it hadn’t been for my camp friend, Sam.
What do you do for work?
I do many things! I am an actor and comedian by trade but also a “fun facilitator.” I perform at ComedySportz, as well asLaugh at Loud, regularly. I also work in print advertising and commercials as a kid wrangler on set. Basically, I am the person on the other side with the photographer making the kids laugh. Additionally, I use my improv skills for communication workshops and trainings for SP (standardized patient) work at University of Illinois – Chicago. As an SP, I assist medical students by portraying different medical cases in order for them to cultivate their bedside manner and over-all “doctor-ing” in a safe learning environment. AND fun facilitation! I host at Game Night Out at Landmark/Century on Clark. I would say it is the best game night because you don’t have to host or clean up! I also work at AceBounce and Flight Club, both on Clark and Wacker.
What do you do for fun?
I like to do things that are active, cultural, off the beaten path, etc. But also, I love a great Korean Spa (shout out to King Spa in Niles). I went on Christmas a few ago. It was PACKED with Jews. I guess they just swapped Chinese Food for Korean. King Spa reminds me of the times my friends and I would shower together. Not together-together. Just, like, in the same room. I know that may sound strange….. It’s a camp thing. Definitely check it out! (Discounts online!)
What do you do Jewish now?
During the holidays, I go to Mishkan and I preach this organization to everyone I know. I do Passover with my family. I staffed Ta’am Yisrael in 2015 (the Chicago area eighth grade trip to Israel). Last year, I taught at Anshe Emet. And this show!
In your opinion, what is the greatest hidden comedy gem in Chicago?
The Paper Machete at the Green Mill on Saturdays from 3:00-5:00 pm. It is by far the best free show in this city. It is weekly so it stays current and is like a live magazine. They have comedians and bands, character bits, and I always see something new and original. Truly, the smartest stuff you will see in this city. A “not theatre” theatre experience. You have to get there by 2:00 pm to get a seat!
Do you consider yourself a “Jewish Comedian” or a “Comedian that is Jewish?”
I consider myself a comedian who is Jewish. Judaism is definitely a filter that I see things through, but I probably wouldn’t bring down the house at a Yeshiva. If an audience expects me to do Jewish humor and bits, I can most definitely deliver, but it is not really what I generally talk about.
Except for this show! In this show, I am a Jewish comedian.
I created the show in 2016 because I was concerned that people did not understand what it means to be Jewish; they think Hanukkah is the Jewish Christmas. I think there is no a way better way to experience and teach Hanukkah than in a fun comedic way. Throughout this “scripted improv” production, I try to educate the audience about the actual holiday. People leave the show laughing and having learned a lot more about Hanukkah. We also ask local businesses to sponsor food for the show because it helps get their brand more visibility and teaches another lesson- that to truly create a sweet Hanukkah memory- there has to be food.
My old camper Solly Kane who is now the Director of Camp OSRUI!
Now finish this statement, When the tribe gathers …They can be a lot of fun!
More about Home for the Holidays
Don’t miss out on this hilarious Chicago comedy Hanukkah classic. Bubbe and Zayde are having a Hanukkah open house, along with their family and special visits from friends, featuring stories, songs and good old fashioned schmaltz! Come share the laughs and maybe a few latkes.