Yediot Acharonot - Novermber 24, 2002
Yoav Burenberg

Almost Became A Driving Instructor

Assi Cohen, 28, is a very shy person ("I never picked up a girl")
and very pessimistic ("There's no hope here").
Tonight you could see him on the Drama Yossi & Jagger (Channel 3). The name Assi Cohen won't have any special impact on the person-on-the-street.
In Israel there are thousands of Cohens per square mile. Moreover, shyness is his "true" last name. Nowadays, along with his duo stand up act with his partner, Guri Alfi, and the TV program they made, Assi is getting serious in the new Drama, Yossi & Jagger, that will have its TV premiere tonight (Channel 3, Cable TV), after very successful screenings all over the country. At the movie he is playing an officer that desires the lovely Aya Koren, but without any success.

Q: Does it bother you that you are only recognized as a part of a couple?
A: "When people come up to me and say: 'Oh, I didn't recognize you', it offends me, not because they didn't recognize me, but because they think I want to be recognized. As a youngster, I didn't have any desire to perform. I discovered it when I was 21 year-old and it's great fun, but I don't see myself as a superstar. I'm just a regular, normal guy. And I am not trying to be modest."

Q: You also don't like interviews.
A: "I don't like to talk about my work. It makes me stress-out. All I need to say I say on stage, or on the screen. I also don't feel comfortable in Talk-Shows. Guri and I once went to this Talk-Show, and the host told us, 'You don't have any gimmicks, and still Guri is Jewish and you are Arab'. People still think that I'm Arab."

Assi, today lives in Ramat-Gan, is originally from Ashdod. His father is a driving instructor, and his mother is an art teacher. Prior to his decision to become an actor, he almost became a soccer player, a metal-factory worker, and a driving instructor. A night at the Tel-Aviv stand-up club has turned the table. Underneath the shy joker, a huge dramatic talent has emerged. He has already participated in a TV Drama "Star Shines on You", and next year he'll star in another Drama.

Q: How did you cope with the very serious part in the movie?
A: "It was very difficult for me to do this part, since there was no comic aspect that I could escape to. It was a very melodramatic, sensitive, low-key part. A multi-leveled part. I didn't know if I have it in me until I saw the final result."

Q: And now, Are you happy?
A: "I am very happy from the response. I have a hard time watching at myself. I just don't believe that I can look like a soldier. I don't believe myself."

Q: Are you funny in real-life?
A: "I am a very pessimistic person, a crazy perfectionist. I can never be happy with what I do. Also in a duo. I could ask for another day of filming in order to be satisfied. I am always in stress. In the movie also, I ran after the director of photography to know how I did. I asked Eytan (Fox, the director): 'please promise me you are not ending a take because of time pressure'."