Amid reports of rising antisemitism, comedian Sarah Silverman, while guest-hosting The Daily Show, took to the streets of Manhattan in search of Jewish allies — or “pro-Semitism,” as she calls it.
In a charming spot, the Jewish funny woman stands in front of the Union Square Greenmarket. “There’s been a rise in antisemitism,” she says. “I’m hitting the streets looking for a little pro-Semitism. Let’s hope it doesn’t end in a hate crime.”
In a series of person-on-the-street interviews, Silverman asks New Yorkers what they like about Jews.
“They make bangin’ Christmas albums,” comes the first (and rather clever) response from a young woman.
“What is there not to love about Jews?!?” says an enthusiastic man. “The food, the culture, the celebrations.”
Silverman also encounters “a big group of men” — tourists from Belgium — who are perplexed by the comedian’s phrasing when she asks them if they’ve done any “Jewy” things during their visit to New York City.
So, she tries a different tactic. “Have you eaten a bagel?” she asks.
The guys respond enthusiastically with a wave of “Oh, yeah. Of course! Of course!”
“Jews!” she responds.
“Have you ever been vaccinated for polio?” she asks next. When they respond in the affirmative, she yells again, “Jews!”
Over the next few minutes, Silverman discusses famous Jews — including Idina Menzel, Barbra Streisand and Doja Cat — with passers-by. “She should be Doja Katz, probably,” she quips.
After teaching a young man a Yiddish phrase, Silverman is seen asking folks if they’re willing to be an ally to the Jews.
“What would you do to protect me?” she asks the Belgian dudes, one of whom responds: “I would light the menorah with you.” Silverman is duly impressed.
The spot ends with Silverman explaining her mission to another man who is wearing a knit cap and sunglasses. “I don’t believe you should hate on anybody,” he says. “Just bring love.”
Silverman is among at least three Jewish comedians who have been tapped to guest host the Comedy Central juggernaut since Trevor Noah hosed his last Daily Show on December 8. Chelsea Handler sat in the chair earlier this month and Al Franken, who had a long Saturday Night Live career before becoming a US senator in 2009, is slated to host March 20 through 23.
As for Silverman, she’s become a popular internet presence through her podcast and social media accounts following the cancellation of her Hulu show, I Love You, America, which ran from 2017 though 2019. Known for being very public with her Jewish identity, she helped popularise the controversial term “Jewface” to describe non-Jewish actors being cast in Jewish roles.