Ilana Glazer’s Jokes About Nazis Encapsulate Jewish Humor

In "The Planet Is Burning," the period and weed jokes were meh — but the Nazi bit made me howl.

Weed delivery dudes, diva cups, and Nazis — that pretty much sums up The Planet Is Burning, Ilana Glazer’s first ever comedy special.

Honestly, the Amazon Prime special wasn’t what I expected. It started on a high note with Glazer twerking on stage to Rihanna’s “Sex With Me,” but thereafter fell flat. Maybe it’s because I was expecting the chaotic energy that is her Broad City character Ilana Wexler, an exaggerated version of herself, or maybe because the jokes just really weren’t that funny. To be fair, the first thing she noted was the difference between Ilana Wexler and Ilana Glazer: the former wakes and bakes, the latter wakes, takes her vitamins, and then bakes. Responsible!

There were meh jokes about her husband buying weed for her like she’s a 1950s housewife, and the bit about tampons was funny (“Cotton is so dry, it’s like, it’s whole thing. And I’m going to put that in my delicious juicy pussy? Get out of here.”), it’s tired and overplayed.

For the majority of the hour long special, Glazer disappointed me. But she redeemed herself in the third act when she hit her stride with this hot take: “The Nazis were totally gay for the Jews.”

Yes, that’s what she said. Let’s dive in, shall we?

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It’s a good time to be a Jewish woman in 2019, Glazer tells the audience, except for one thing — Nazis are making a comeback. And they’re so annoying.

“They’re so pesky,” Glazer says. “But the Nazis in this country… I don’t know. They’re.. They’re not Hitler’s nazis.”

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How does she know? Because like me, she studied the Holocaust in Hebrew school. Her elementary school cohort was shown footage of trains, mountains of glasses, and piles of dead people’s shoes, and dead bodies.

“It was fear mongering up in my shul,” she jokes .“[My teachers] were like, ‘NEVER FORGET!!!!’ I was like, ‘I CAN’T!! I’m SIX!!!'”

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But unlike me, Glazer’s Hebrew school teachers made her class of 6-year-olds participate in a weeklong Holocaust simulation where they had to escape to the new world, or as she calls it “Holocaust play.”

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“I guess there wasn’t enough real imminent danger for Jewish children in Long Island, so we got to create it!”

Here’s what went down, as Glazer tells it: The kids who were bar or bat mitzvahs “got” to play the role of the guards, and everyone else had to trade pennies and pretzels to get to the next level. Then — here’s where shit gets absolutely bonkers — Glazer and her classmates wind up at a wedding in a Jewish ghetto, when suddenly their Hava Nagila chanting gets interrupted by flashing lights and screams of “WHERE ARE THE JEWS??” The lights turn on, and Glazer’s teacher slow claps. Wrapping up the story, she imitates her Hebrew school teacher: “You thought you’d escape? Not such luck my little Jews!”

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As traumatizing and “psycho nuts” as that lesson plan was, at least Glazer got this joke for her stand-up?!

But also, Glazer argues, her teacher had a point: Nazis have resurfaced in a huge way. But today’s Nazis in the United States are “such a mess,” Glazer jokes, because their branding is off. “They don’t have a lewk, you know?” Sure, they have their red hats, but their merchandise is from party city (re: the tiki torches from Charlottesville).

Glazer then continues that she is just not impressed. Hitler’s Nazis, Glazer argues, were “on point.” Um, how, you ask? It’s all about the branding, baby! “They just had so much art direction. Like brand concept meeting after brand concept meeting. They were just so creative about it. So enthusiastic!” Like, so enthusiastic. A little too enthusiastic, if you ask Glazer.

“I feel like Hitler’s Nazis liked the production of a Holocaust more than they even hated Jews,” Glazer says.

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Though she low-key glamorized Hitler’s Nazis, this whole bit really made me laugh. But if a non-Jewish comedian made these jokes, I’d definitely be pissed. Painting Nazis as enthusiastic party planners downplays the atrocities of the Holocaust, and humanizes them. Hitler devoted his life to dehumanizing Jews, so why would we contribute to reframing his history in a more flattering light? Because that’s how Jewish people deal with trauma — through humor.

Glazer wasn’t done though. She continues: “I think they liked the buzz of the meetings and they were always whispering and shit, and creating a secret coded language and shit, and they’d write essays, and whole books, and film, and document, and have little clipboards and run around town and put up signs like, ‘yeah, meetings tonight! Be there or be square!’”

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And here’s where we get to Glazer’s theory: the Nazis were “totally gay” for Jews.

“The Nazis acted like they hated us, but I’m like, y’all we’re obsessed with us!” she said in her cartoonish voice. Context counts here, so don’t confuse Glazer’s “totally gay” assertion as a homophobic slur. This “Hitler loves Jews” joke — and we know it’s a joke, because he actively worked towards the genocide of the Jewish people — calls to an earlier bit in Glazer’s set about homophobia. She likened hating gay people to blaming you fart on someone else, and we all know that whoever smelt it dealt it.

Though Glazer’s Nazi jokes were a smash, I’m sad to report that overall The Planet Is Burning was a little more than mildly disappointing. But that’s okay, because the first time you do something will always be the worst, much like sex! It only gets better from your starting point.

Here’s to Glazer’s muscular thighs and more Hebrew day school trauma stories in 2021!

Image via EPK.TV

Arielle Kaplan

Arielle Kaplan (she/her) makes content for horny Jews. Brooklyn based, she hosts Alma’s weekly Torah series, And God Was Like, co-hosts Oral History, a podcast on seductresses from Cleopatra to Jessica Rabbit, and moonlights as a sex influencer as Whoregasmic on Instagram. Find her bylines on Salty Magazine, Kveller, The Nosher, and JTA.

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