Eric Andre is good for the Jews. Full stop.
Alas, most people don’t even know of the comedian’s Ashkenazi roots, anecdotal evidence tells me. But thanks to Netflix, any self-respecting Andre fan will walk away from his debut stand-up special, Legalize Everything, knowing full well of the Haitian American’s Jewish roots.
From start to finish, Legalize Everything is Andre’s “absurdist, psychedelic,” and strongest proclamation of his proud Jewish identity. Seats filled with fans prepared to guzzle ranch at a moment’s notice, the 37-year-old kicks of the first 10 minutes of the show with so much enthusiasm — easily confused with screaming — you’d think he just did 10 lines of cocaine in the green room. Andre’s hourlong showcase is comprised of his best bits from the past 10 years, like when he did too much MDMA and orgasmed while trying to pull the trigger, and an Oscar-worthy mockery of America’s judicial system — “invented by rich, white, Christian, heterosexual business men” — ending with a hyena screech. It had me in stitches.
A self described “prophet,” his bizarro art is absolutely a form of tikkun olam. Loud, obnoxious, and frequently nude, Andre commands respect by unabashedly doing whatever the fuck he wants for the sake of comedic commentary. Consistently crossing the line drawn by a prudish society, the comedian has done things like drawing swastikas on his face to get a rise out of Lauren Conrad and calling President Trump a “complete psychopath Nazi guy with worms eating his brain.”
Andre is offensive, but that’s the point. As a comedian, it’s his right and duty to laugh at life’s absurdities. “When you water it down or make it awkwardly political when it isn’t, it’s missing the point,” he tells the New York Times.
So how is he coping with the 2020 shit storm? Alcohol, drugs, and “putting my fingers in my ancestor’s mouth.” In a podcast interview with his Jewish comedian friends Moshe Kasher and Natasha Leggero, Andre shared that he’s embraced his Jewish side during COVID-19 by getting into smoked meats. As for his Haitian side, especially during the growing Black Lives Matter movement, he’s considered changing his “French slave name” from Andre to something in Swahili that starts with an “A” and means peace.
But by way of comedy, Andre is no stranger to using hardships to help shape his material. “Comedy kind of comes out of tragedy. That’s why Black people and Jewish people dominate at comedy — because it’s an existence of tragedy and ancestral tragedy. Comedy is a coping mechanism,” Andre tells Interview Magazine.
Dear audience, I absolutely squealed when I watched this H3 podcast interview of Eric Andre saying “from generation to generation” in Hebrew. A hummus loving “pro-Tel Aviv, Eilat and the Golan Heights” Jew who errs on the side of chaos, Eric Andre the Prophet, in all his man-gina glory, is emblematic of the past, present, and future of progressive Judaism. L’dor, v’dor, baby!
Now here’s what you came for: the best Jewish jokes from Legalize Everything!
1. Getting chai with his Jewish mom.
After 36 (nice!) years of campaigning, Andre finally smoked weed with his mom. The crowd cheers, and Andre pats himself on the back.
It wasn’t easy, he says: “My mom is a 700-year-old Jew, okay?”
Here’s what went down: While driving around town, the comedian sincerely asked his mom to get high with him.
“No, it’s illegal!” she told Andre.
“No, it’s not. It’s legal now!” Andre said.
So they go to her house to smoke a bowl, but that didn’t quite work out.
“She looks like Dizzy Gillespie the whole time,” Andre says while reenacting the scene.
Andre gives her a weed cookie instead, and they play Scrabble. About 20 minutes in, her eyes get all red. “Is that part of the appeal?” she asks him.
“And then she snapped. She was like, ‘Bring it in. Bill Cosby didn’t do it. I DID IT!'” Andre joked.
2. A nebbish Jew walks into the Red Light District
Sex work should most definitely be legalized, Andre tells his audience before diving into his first experience in Amsterdam’s famed Red Light District. Thinking he could handle an “event like that,” the comedian was in for a fraught reality check when his friend Michelle gave him 50 euros to spend.
“She slapped 50 in my hand, and I went from Beavis and Butt-head to the most nervous, nebbishy, neurotic Sol Rosenberg Jew.” I was just going up these women like, ‘Uh, excuse me, miss? Uh… How much is it to… Uh…Penetrate your vulva?'” Andre said, imitating himself.
Mazel tov to Andre for seeing it through!
3. Donald Duck throws an egg at a synagogue
“So Papa fucking John’s was dropping the n-bomb at work like it’s 90-diggety-six,” Andre says. “So he was bitching and moaning about the NFL players kneeling and they give him racial sensitivity training at work.”
But during racial sensitivity training he starts saying the n-word again… His defense?
In what Netflix captions clarify as an “East Coast accent,” he says, “Oh, whatever. Colonel Sanders used to say the N-word.”
It’s a weak argument, the comedian goes on to say: “That’s like, ‘Whatever, bro. Ronald McDonald threw an egg at a synagogue one time.'”
4. Why Eric Andre looks like a muppet
Andre loves to call himself Blewish — Black and Jewish. Apparently, it’s because of his non-Jewish Black father and white Ashkenazi mother that he looks like Ernie from Sesame Street.
“A little about myself, I am Blewish. My dad looks like Arthur Ashe, and my mom looks like Howard Stern,” Andre says. “Guess which one’s the Jew?”
“And that is why I look like Ernie from Sesame Street.” You can’t unsee it.
5. The Torah’s out of date
Andre’s actually a “Cashew” — a Catholic Jew — and he loves being Jewish. He’s proud of it, he says. “I fucking love being a Jew.”
“Sigmund Freud, Larry David,” Andre says. “I love all that shit.”
He just doesn’t “read the book or wear the hat,” he says. Although he did have an adult bar mitzvah a few years back with a rabbi and all that jazz.
“I don’t know if you’ve ever cracked open the Torah, but it’s a little out of date,” he jokes (but like, sincerely).
“It’s like, ‘Don’t eat shrimp. It gave Joshua a stomachache.,'”
“You can cut the tip of my dick off, but I can’t go to Red Lobster?” Andre asks incredulously.
Check mate, rabbis!!!
A Jewish mama’s boy through and through, Andre ended his sweaty performance by FaceTiming an audience member’s mom. Kol hakavod, Eric Andre!
Images via Netflix screengrab