Tag Archives: Satire

Andy Samberg’s Semitic Appeal

by Amanda Walgrove

Andy Samberg is one of three geeky brains behind the comedy troupe, The Lonely Island, whose sophomore album, Turtleneck and Chain, was released last month. Along with Akiva Shaffer and Jorma Taccone, the trio is responsible for the hilarious Digital Shorts that interrupt the live performances of SNL. Some have even argued that the videos are the only remaining aspect of the thirty-six year old sketch comedy show still worthy of watching.

Since Samberg emerged on the scene in 2005, his curly hair and prominent nose have made him a Semitic sex symbol for tweens, twentysomethings, and possibly Cougars (Cameron Diaz’s SNL skit said it, not me.) Born David Andrew Samberg, the 32-year-old grew up in a Jewish household and his maternal grandfather, Alfred J. Marrow, served as the executive chair of the American Jewish Congress. Add to that his most charming quality, the one by which he makes a living—his sense of humor—and he’s quite the kugel-eating catch.

In an interview with MSNBC, Samberg noted that he was inspired by funny Jewish forerunners such as Adam Sandler, with his 1993 debut album They’re All Gonna Laugh At You!, along with Mel Brooks and the Marx Brothers. Back in 2008, Samberg told schmooze that he was saturated with Jewish comedy growing up and now, since he considers it family comedy, he tries not to let it inform his own routines: “I’m never laughing when the punch line is something like, ‘Oh, just a couple of Jews!’ To clarify, there’s Jewish comedy and there’s Jewish comedy. If it’s done the right way—it’s funny not just because it’s Jewish, but because it’s really funny—that’s great.”

Executive Producer, Lorne Michaels’ ability to see something valuable in Samberg’s talents prompted him to hire the young stand-up comedian as a cast member, while bringing Shaffer and Taccone onto the writing team. The digital shorts, which the boys produced as side projects without expecting a profit, quickly went viral, and SNL began to reach its young, digitally savvy audience in new ways.

Beginning with their 2009 debut, “Incredibad,” The Lonely Island churned out faux music videos, glorifying the awkwardness of sexual inadequacies and inabilities to impress females. Chock full of parody and self-deprecation, the comedic styling of Samberg and team tug strongly at the Jewish roots of comedy. Their ability to take something conventional, question it and stand it on its head through a satirical filter is the basis of aggadic midrash. Bring musical interludes into the mix and you’ve got yourself a full service.

Boosting their commercial value, the off-beat videos have developed a reputation of being star-studded, boasting surprise guests such as Justin Timberlake, Nicki Minaj, Lady Gaga, Michael Bolton, Rihanna, Susan Sarandon, and T-Pain, who are equally willing to make fools of themselves. Natalie Portman famously satirized her own goody two shoes, Jewish girl image in her video, “Natalie’s Rap,” where her SNL alter-ego dropped a few beats about engaging in criminal activities while at Harvard.

The Lonely Island has parodied rappers, hip-hop songs, Rastafarians, 80’s R&B, “Creeps” (aka John Waters), and E.T. on their debut album cover. While the structure of their creations pays homage to Samberg’s comedic ancestry, the young pop culture sensation has yet to take a direct comedic crack at the Jews—not even a klezmer parody. He’s not looking to overdo the stereotypical Jewish punch line.   Then again, Sandler debuted his acclaimed Hanukkah song on SNL; we trust that Samberg can find his own clever spin, too.

Accept Friend Request?

by Amanda Walgrove

It’s Complicated between Israel and Egypt. After Israel Unfriended Turkey last year, she has only had one longstanding friend remaining in the Middle Eastern Network. Last month, many Egyptians responded that they would be attending what some have deemed the “Facebook Revolution” in an effort to overthrow Hosni Mubarak’s regime. An event invite that was scheduled to begin on January 25, 2011 continued through February 11 as Israel watched, anxiously reloading her News Feed and fending off other friends’ frustrating requests to buy sheep on Farmville. Although Egypt’s account was briefly Deactivated, the revolutionaries eventually hacked Mubarak’s Page and gave his password to the Muslim Brotherhood. The world watched nervously as Egypt’s Profile Picture changed from a stunning frame of Mubarak to a chaotically crowded scene pervading Tahrir Square. When Israel logged in and was prompted to answer, “What’s on Your Mind?” she was faced with conflicting emotions. Would this revolution mean a possible transition into a democratic system, or a dangerously anarchic period in which Israel would be thwarted by radical Islamists and inevitably Unfriended by Egypt?

Israel needed to take a stand if she wanted to provide support to her Middle Eastern Friend. It would be a brash move to click the “Like” button on Egypt’s most recent Status Update: “Mubarak no! Democracy now!” After all, she could always go back and Unlike the status later if need be. Unfortunately for some, namely Hosni Mubarak and ’tweens disenchanted with Justin Bieber’s new haircut, Facebook has yet to offer a Dislike button. Although the Camp David Accords remained the highlight of Israel and Egypt’s Friendship Page and they can publicly share “Democracy” under their Common Interests, relations have recently been tenuous and now looms the possibility of beginning a dangerously Open Relationship.

One assertive action that Israel took during the tumultuous revolution was to open her doors to twelve American study-abroad students whose Education Info used to boast Egyptian universities. These students were invited to continue their Middle Eastern studies at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, representing another way in which the youthful constituent played a role in this historic event.

As of now, the relationship between Israel and Egypt remains Complicated. While recent Facebook developments now provide them with the ability to publicize that they are in a Civil Union or Domestic Partnership, it’s a good guess that neither of those options will be acted upon. Egypt will, however, be carefully monitoring any Wall-to-Wall exchanges between Israel and Gaza. Other pages, such as those of Syria, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority will have to be sufficiently stalked in order to stay abreast of new developments. Who knows what might be surreptitiously discussed on Facebook Chat? Overseas, Israel and America are tightly linked, but as America fumbles with its foreign policy, Israel may be prompted to begin sending out new Friend Requests. Plenty of Notifications are expected to pop up in this continued period of dangerous unrest in the Middle East. In the meantime, Israel is hoping that while Egypt is in a transitional state, they will avoid creating problems with international allies. With any luck, unnecessary Poking will be kept to a minimum.

Maccabeats Suffer “Wardrobe Malfunction”

By Doni Kandel

The Yeshiva University Maccabeats, the university’s a capella group that has taken the United States by storm, received one of their first ugly lessons in stardom Monday morning. While taping a performance on the CBS Early Show, Maccabeats vocalist Nachum Joel suffered a wardrobe malfunction after one of his beat-mates bumped into him, knocking his yarmulke to the ground, exposing the top of his head. Joel frantically picked up the fallen skull cap and slammed it back on his head but the CBS cameras had already caught every second of his nude scalp on tape.

This, of course, was not the first time CBS has been victimized by unfortunate garment error. CBS was the station that covered Super Bowl XXXVIII when Janet Jackson was briefly exposed by co-performer Justin Timberlake during their half-time performance. CBS-Daytime Senior Vice President Barbara Bloom told reporters Monday that “Kipa-gate”, as it has come to be known, has been far worse. “I have had phone calls from just about every single high school rabbi in the country. They are upset with our handling of the situation and for some strange reason many of them have tried to convince me that talking to boys is bad for my spiritual growth as well as trying to convince me to go to a seminary in Israel for a year. My insistence that I am almost forty did very little to deter them.”

The FCC has joined up with the JCC to discuss an appropriate fine for the television station as well as the appropriate actions to be taken with the young singers.

A number of Rabbis who teach at Yeshiva University claim to have warned the fledgling stars of the potential pitfalls of achieving fame and fortune. Rabbi David Hersh, a rabbi in the YU Yeshiva Program lamented that, “I told them up and down something like this would happen! What’s next? A gig at a treif [non-kosher] restaurants? An office Christmas party? Hashem yerachem!”

Although he is newly engaged (mazal tov!) Joel has admitted his skull cap mishap has earned him some extra female attention. “I’m not gonna lie to you,” he told reporters outside the YU campus in scenic Washington Heights, “The shidduch proposals have been flowing in by the hundreds. It’s pretty flattering once you weed out all those strange top-of-the-head enthusiasts.”

While Joel has managed to find the lighthearted side of the mishap, other Maccabeats members have been unable to share his calm. A number of the group’s members who plan on visiting Israel over winter break are now fearful of being met at Ben-Gurion Airport by a sea of Ultra-Orthodox garbage burning protests. Maccabeats member Immanuel Shalev issued a plea to the Haredi community to “please just let my family get from the Airport to Big Apple Pizza, the Kipa Man on Ben Yehuda Street  and then to the David Citadel Hotel, in peace.”

Similar to the Janet Jackson fiasco, a number of conspiracy theories have materialized as to the real nature of the yarmulke gaffe. There have been whispers amongst the Jewish a capella community that while the Maccabeats knew that the inappropriate exposure would be frowned upon at their own university, they may have orchestrated the bare-all in order to find favor in the notoriously more raucous University of Maryland Jewish Community. Another popular theory places the blame on famous Jewish Reggae artist Matisyahu.  Matisyahu is alleged to have replaced Joel’s yarmulke clips with far weaker ones before the live on-air appearance, insuring that the whipping New York early morning wind would launch his head covering sky high. Proponents of this conspiracy claim that the motive for the Reggae sensation is apparent bitterness over the Maccabeats receiving almost two million more hits on YouTube for their hit song “Candle Light” (2,251,391 at press time) than Matisyahu’s own new Chanukah song “Miracle” (367,552), despite the a capella group’s performance as the opening act for Matisyahu at YU’s Chanukah Party a week ago.

When asked if they would ever consider performing with Timberlake now that they are forever linked in pop culture, Joel told reporters he certainly would, “as long as he promises to keep his hands away from my tzitzit.”


Now THAT’S Offensive! Politically Incorrect Suggestions for Religious Blogs

Religion isn’t hip.  It’s not cool, it’s not fun, it’s not trendy.  That, at least, was the opinion of one intern at the Moment office.  An editor replied that there were no exciting outlets for religious discussion.  So, as they are wont to do, members of the Moment office started brainstorming ideas on what the edgiest title for an engaging bible blog would be, pushing the limits of good taste in the process.  Would you read a blog with one of these names?  Or protest it?  Share your thoughts!

  • Sh*t my Torah Says (aka Drek My Torah Says)
  • The Torah Sutra: 1,000 Different Parsha Positions
  • Stuff Torah People Like
  • F*ck Yeah Torah Portion!
  • Bible Goggles
  • Torah Unplugged
  • This Is Your Brain on Torah
  • More Torah, Less Filling!
  • My Super Sweet Parsha
  • Torah-licious
  • The Politically Incorrect Torah
  • Torah the Explor-ah
  • Torah-Vision 3-D!
  • En-Torah-ge
  • Mystery Science Torah 5771
  • Peyos Fetish
  • No Shirt, No Sandals, No Torah
  • Parshas for Dummies
  • Shake your Jew-ty
  • The Torah Zone
  • Torah: Undressed
  • Strangers with Torah
  • The Torah: Bigger, Better, and Uncut
  • STFU, D’var Torah
  • Pimp My Torah
  • Torah-gasm
  • Delerium Torah: your weekly fix

Israel Mulls Settler Freeze

By Doni Kandel

With Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu scrambling to gain approval for a three month construction freeze on settlements, Americans, Palestinians and Israelis have formulated an alternative plan. It is now believed that the Knesset is considering freezing settlers in lieu of freezing settlements as a unilateral symbol of good faith. Both the American and Israeli governments have expressed hope that freezing of those dwelling beyond the green line will be a concession far too impressive for the Palestinians to ignore.

Naturally, the controversial proposal has proven to be far more complicated than first thought.  A debate has broken out among the concerned parties over the details of the actual freezing. The Israelis, ahead of the technology curve as always, have suggested cryogenics as the preferred method. The Palestinians have planted their flag in the “hose them down and toss them in a walk-in freezer” camp. A middle ground between these two positions may be difficult to reach.  Knesset members from multiple parties have expressed concerns about garnering public support for cryogenics, let alone the freezer method. MK Areyeh Eldad explained to reporters, “Sure Austin Powers made cryogenics look like fun and games, but there is no forgetting the utter look of anguish embalmed on Han Solo’s face when Darth Vader has him cryogenically frozen in Cloud City.  The Israeli public is far too intelligent to be led to believe their experience will be otherwise.”

The “hose and freezer” method has not only caused strife between Israel and the Palestinians, but between Israel and America. Israel has demanded that America provide the water, a sparse commodity in the region, if this method is ultimately selected. America has agreed but will only commit to providing the Israelis with Poland Springs brand water. Israel is reportedly seeking Evian or Dasani. “It’s not like we’re asking for Fiji Water here!” exclaimed Defense Minister Ehud Barak in frustration.

Shas MK Eli Yishai, notorious for offering his vote to the highest bidder, has offered to vote in favor of freezing only if Bibi will guarantee that once the freezing passes and the settlers have been thawed, the left over ice chips go to the ultra-orthodox community for chilling soda at their traditional Friday night Tish.  Conversely, Yishai has told settlers he will vote against the proposal in exchange for them supplying every ultra-orthodox child with a (non-human) popsicle.  Yishai cautioned the settlers however that, “those weird Israeli popsicles with gummies inside will not suffice.”

Several Left Wing and Arab factions have opposed this new plan because it does not include freezing Jewish residents of East Jerusalem. However, it does not appear that the Knesset will seek to impose the freezing on the Jerusalemites. President Shimon Peres explained, “With all those wind tunnels and cold Jerusalem stone facades the people of Jerusalem are cold enough.”

Peace Now chairman Yariv Oppenheimer has expressed enthusiastic support for the plan. “I hope we can freeze the settlers as soon as possible,” Oppenheimer told reporters.  “They have been stealing warmth from the Arabs for far too long.”  When asked about the potential violation of the Israeli’s rights if they are forced to be frozen against their will, Oppenheimer responded, “What Israeli rights?”

Ehud Olmert, the disgraced former Prime Minister, will once again be brought up on new corruption charges after using inside sources in the Knesset for financial gain. Upon hearing the freezing plans, Olmert allegedly bought up a large number of stocks in both Israeli and American freezer making companies such as SubZero and Bekko.  A petition to freeze both him and his financial accounts has begun making its round in the Knesset.

ObamaCare Turns the Tables on the Jewish Mothers

By Doni Kandel

An unusual wave of exhilarating self-confidence has overcome Jewish sons across America, according to reports.  The surprising cause of buoyancy?  Obamacare.

Political scientists, thought to have accounted for all possible economic and sociological side-effects of the controversial healthcare bill passed earlier this year, seem to have missed the phenomenon that many fear will have far-reaching effects. Anticipating that doctor’s salaries will decrease significantly as a result of the legislation (some say by as much as 15-20%) ObamaCare has profoundly shifted the power in the age-old Jewish battle of Mothers nagging their sons to go to medical school.  In fact some say Sarah’s complacency in the sacrificing of Isaac was due to his refusal to go to medical school.

Widespread hysteria has correspondingly hit the Jewish Mother’s community as the yiddesheh mamas, infamous for nagging their underachieving spawn for failing to get that MD, now face the daunting challenge of losing a key weapon in their guilt repertoire.

Dave Kay, a single 32 year old assistant manager of a local Best Buy store, told reporters this week that, “President Obama has finally delivered the hope he had promised. I had the audacity to hope that this would be the year I would not cry into my soup during my family Passover seder, and I think I’ve got a good shot now. Now I am just a wife and a few grandchildren away from redemption.” When asked by reporters if he appreciated the poetic possibility of redeeming himself on Passover (the Jewish holiday of redemption), Kay responded, “it would be a nice change from the ever poetic slaughtering of the first born son,” while throwing up the popular “this guy” thumbs.  “That has taken place for as long as I can remember.”

Researchers have posited potentially far-reaching implications, both positive and negative, due to this ego boost of Maccabian proportions. Some have presented the possibility that the flailing real estate market may now see a large bump in demand as swarms of Jewish sons liberate themselves from their parents’ basements in search of independent lifestyles for the first time. Additionally, the phone companies are encouraged by the proposition that without the ability to spy on their sons in their own homes, phone call frequency in the stalker range can be expected.

However, other researchers are profoundly concerned with the devastating effect this infusion of self-worth is having demographically. Many men, who have been babied by their mothers for far too long but are now brimming with self-esteem, have misguidedly asked out girls who are way out of their league. This may result in a widespread epidemic of women being turned off to dating altogether, thus stunting an entire generation’s population. There have already been a number of reports of matchmakers uttering sales pitches which would previously seemed insane, such as, “he does have a large mole over his right eye, but at least he’s not a doctor.”  Willy Loman reportedly has been heard turning over in his grave.

Rahm Emmanuel, the former White House Chief of Staff who was instrumental in passing ObamaCare, is thought to have been an operative in an underground movement for the liberation of Jewish boys from the oppression of their mothers.

Senator Barbra Boxer (D-California) has gained a big bump from conservative voters in her re-election polling numbers since her announcement this week that she plans to vote to repeal the healthcare bill. The aging Jewish mother has grown increasingly alarmed after her son allegedly gave her some lip. She even went as far as to promise, “If he refuses to eat leftovers tonight I swear I’m joining the Tea Party”.

Esther Ashema, a 48-year-old Jewish mother from the Upper West Side of Manhattan remains calm, however.  When asked if she was worried about her son finding the courage to cut the metaphorical umbilical cord, she responded, “Come back to me when his wife figures out how to make chicken soup that doesn’t taste like sewage.”