It’s not often that a Saturday Night Live host talks about rabbis, Jewish wives, and Woody Allen in their opening monologue. But that happened when John Mulaney returned for his second hosting gig on March 2, 2019. We’ve long argued that the best part of Mulaney’s stand-up sets are his Jewish wife jokes, and the monologue did not disappoint.

Quick background: John Mulaney married Annamarie Tendler in October 2014 (click this link to gaze upon some beautiful wedding photos). John is Catholic and Anna is Jewish, and this leads to a lot of great humor (as we’ve already established).

John looooves mentioning that Anna is Jewish. Here’s a very funny screenshot compilation, courtesy of the best Twitter account to follow, John Mulaney out of context:

Which brings us to John Mulaney’s monologue on SNL.

THE FIRST JEWISH JOKE

“I’m happily married now. My wife is Jewish, and I was raised Catholic, which you could all tell from the moment I walked out. That’s not a big deal, getting married if you’re Jewish and Catholic, only a couple people asked about it – and they were my parents. Before we got married, my mother asked me if my wife was going to convert to Catholicism. You’re right to laugh. It’s a stupid question! I don’t know, Mom, let me go ask, let me go see if a 29-year-old Jewish woman who doesn’t like any of my suggestions would convert to — what was it again? — Roman Catholicism!?”

The italics are John Mulaney’s emphasis of the words. What works so well about this joke is his absolute incredulity at the fact his mom would ask if his headstrong Jewish wife (“a dynamite, five-foot, Jewish bitch” as we’ve learned in previous sets) would convert to Roman Catholicism, the religion that messed him up (“don’t Google it,” he imagines tellng her).

THE SECOND JEWISH JOKE

“This next story is also absolutely true. My wife was pushing our bulldog Petunia in a stroller down 7th Avenue South a few months ago. She’s pushing her down 7th Avenue. She gets to 7th Avenue and Leroy Street. At 7th Avenue and Leroy Street, a car pulls up. Out of the car steps Woody Allen and Soon-Yi Previn. My wife stares at Woody and Soon-Yi. Woody and Soon-Yi stare at a woman pushing a bulldog in a stroller. The four of them stare at each other. And then they all kind of nod, as if to say, none of this is right, and then they went their separate ways.”

One, we love the jab at Woody Allen. Two, the visual of Anna with Petunia in a stroller staring down Woody and Soon-Yi is just so delightful. Three, again, fuck Woody Allen.

THE THIRD JEWISH JOKE

Well, we can’t really type this one up, because a lot of it has to do with John Mulaney imitating police car sirens. But all you have to know is that one siren sounds like “an old gay cat was dying.”

“But not a sad death, not a sad death! He lived a full life and he’s surrounded by loved ones — he’s in hospice! He’s in cat hospice! And he’s holding hands with a rabbi and he just kind of [noise].”

Truly, you just have to watch the whole thing.

Here’s John, Anna, and the shirt he wore with Anna’s face on it in the closing credits:

And here’s the full monologue:

 

Emily Burack

Emily Burack is an editorial assistant at Alma.

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