Jenny Slate Celebrated Her New Stand-Up Special in an Extremely Jewish Way

The release of "Seasoned Professional" called for a trip to an iconic Jewish deli.

Last Friday, I happened to be on the Lower East Side of Manhattan when I walked past the Russ & Daughters Cafe — a restaurant off-shoot of the 110-year-old iconic Jewish deli. I stopped in my tracks. “What the hell,” I thought to myself. “I deserve a little treat.” I turned around and soon found myself seated at the bar, surrounded by a symphony of latkes and sour cream, bagels and paper thin lox and salty caviar, egg creams, blintzes and babka.

Recently, Jewish comedian Jenny Slate had the exact same impulse — though in her case, it was perhaps slightly more well-deserved. On Feb. 23, Slate released her second stand-up special, “Seasoned Professional,” on Prime Video. And then today she took to her Instagram story, writing, “I was genuinely stuffing my face too intensely to remember to snap even one picture, but I just want to say that one of the greatest delights in NYC is going to [Russ and Daughters Cafe]. I went there to celebrate my new stand-up special, and nothing could be better than that Bloody Mary, and those latkes and pickles and herring.”

“I’m so glad this place exists,” she concluded.

Latkes, pickles and herring? I could not think of a more Jewish way to celebrate a stand-up special which in itself is incredibly Jewish. In “Seasoned Professional,” Slate makes jokes about visiting the Hard Rock Cafe Montreal aka “the least Jewish place in the entire world” and not wanting to visit the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam. She regales the audience about perhaps antisemitically getting an audition for the role of Pennywise the Clown from “It” and how being pregnant during a pandemic sounds like it should be a biblical plague a la Exodus. But at the center of it all is Jenny Slate herself, whom probably could not separate herself from her Jewishness if she tried. As my colleague at Kveller Lior Zaltzman argues, the special is a celebration of Jewish women with no chill, and Slate is our Jewish heroine whose too-muchness we can’t get enough of.

I’ll toast a platter of Ashkenazi delicacies to that.

Evelyn Frick

Evelyn Frick (she/they) is a writer and associate editor at Hey Alma. She graduated from Vassar College in 2019 with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature. In her spare time, she's a comedian and contributor for Reductress and The Onion.

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