In the new Netflix special The Honeymoon Stand-Up Special, comedians Natasha Leggero and Moshe Kasher, a married couple, team up to poke fun at marriage and pregnancy. In the third part of the series, Natasha brings up how she converted to Judaism when she married Moshe, and the joke follows:
Natasha: Why do jews make it so hard for you to convert?
Moshe: I don’t know, we don’t want you.
Natasha: But you would think they would want more members since that membership drop-off that happened a while ago. [audience groans] … I’m Jewish, I can say that.
Moshe: Yeah, I’ll always remember that saying I was raised with, “Never forget that membership drop-off that happened a while ago.”
Since we’ve analyzed jokes in class before, and come up with the ideology that jokes about the Holocaust that reference the people who who murdered aren’t funny, I immediately disliked the joke. But the point brought up by Natasha is good one–she’s Jewish now, she can say it. Of course, she’s again pointing out that she wasn’t raised Jewish, she’s newly converted, and she’s aware of her place there. Her awareness that the joke is outside of her culture, and the fact that her Jewish husband had to agree to the joke beforehand, makes it, to me, slightly more bearable.
Natasha is known for her raunchy, uncomfortable comedy, and this isn’t the first time she’s made a Holocaust joke. On Jimmy Kimmel Live this January, Natasha made a reference to Hitler when discussing how nervous she was to see what kind of person her unborn baby would turn out to be, saying, “What if it sucks? Like, Hitler’s mom didn’t know. She was probably like, ‘I hope its a boy.'” Which is clearly less offensive joke than the prior. Analyzing both jokes together really demonstrates which context Holocaust related material can be funny or unfunny.
The Honeymoon Stand-Up Special is viewable here: https://www.netflix.com/watch/80213719?trackId=13752289&tctx=0%2C2%2Cbb676e4a-de79-4961-a501-7192e6d8d8af-150726189%2C%2C
The interview with Jimmy Kimmel is viewable here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_21l58rJnHk