Can you see me now?

Israeli comic teaches mom to Zoom, scores video hit

Yonatan Gruber’s patient tech lesson with his mother pays off, as his clip gains a following for its hilarious relatability

Jessica Steinberg, The Times of Israel's culture and lifestyles editor, covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center

Zoom. It’s one of the technological tools that’s helping many people muscle through the social distancing lifestyle created by the coronavirus.

And yet, it can be tough to figure out: When to mute, how to share a screen, whom to join or what virtual background to choose.

Luckily, Yehudit Gruber Suliman, 59, a Jerusalem educator and lecturer, had her son, Yonatan Gruber, 31, to help her figure out how to Zoom.

Gruber, a comic, MC and member of Shlofta, an Israeli comic ensemble, was at home with his wife in Jaffa, recently returned from their South African honeymoon. With all his gigs canceled due to the pandemic, he was feeling a little down.

Yonatan Gruber, an Israeli comic, used a chance conversation with his mother during the 2020 coronavirus to find new work and job opportunities (Courtesy Yonatan Gruber)

A naturally upbeat kind of guy, he began making daily videos about all his random, coronavirus thoughts. That’s when his mother called, asking him to help her learn how to use Zoom.

Gruber, the third of his mother’s five sons, spent more than an hour with his mother on the phone. It was a painstaking, repetitive, frustrating process.

“We finished, and my wife said, ‘Wow, you have so much patience, way to go!'” said Gruber.

Adult son teaching usually savvy mother how to use Zoom? Relatable, for sure. More than that, it was hilarious.

Gruber asked his mother if she was okay with being the subject of his comedy, and he recorded her, replaying their conversation of the previous night.

The video went viral, “more than anything I ever dreamed of,” said Gruber.

He’s been interviewed by several Israeli news outlets, and the clip has been sent around hundreds of WhatsApp groups and Facebook threads. Gruber has gotten calls from everyone he’s ever known, from elementary school classmates to army buddies.

He also got calls from people who didn’t know him but, in the small world of Israeli society, were trying to figure out who he was since he didn’t identify himself in the video. It got to the point that his sister-in-law’s American-born neighbors received the video from their friends in the US, and then sent it to her.

Now it’s bringing in customers for the online improv workshops he offers in English and Hebrew to individuals, families and organizations, as well as multiple requests for him to teach people how to use Zoom.

He’s also made a sequel playing himself as an older man whose adult daughter is showing him how to maneuver around “Focus,” the newest technology.

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