Jewish “comedian” Sarah Silverman has revealed in an interview the source of her jewish self-loathing and hatred of White society — growing up around White people made her, as a Jew, feel like a “hairy monkey”:
“I was the hairy Jewish monkey in a sea of blond kids.”
That’s not Seth Rogen or Jonah Hill — it’s Sarah Silverman talking about her upbringing in Bedford, New Hampshire, on an upcoming episode of “Finding Your Roots,” the celebrity genealogy show on PBS.
Bedford, the comedian explains, was not exactly a very Jewish community.
“My feeling of being Jewish came from my being the only Jew,” Silverman tells host Henry Louis Gates Jr. “We [her family] had no religion, but because I had this kind of intuition, when I went to any friend’s house I made sure their parents knew I was not scary. You learn to ingratiate yourself, to be non-threatening, to be funny.
“As a comedian, you become funny as a survival skill — like the fat kid who makes fat jokes before others do.”
Silverman’s sense of Jewish otherness wasn’t the only thing that fueled her comic tendencies — her parents divorced when she was 7.
“My other sisters were crying and upset. I was thrilled, and they kept saying, ‘She doesn’t understand,”‘ the comic recalls. “And I kept thinking, ‘What’s not to understand?’ Are you going to continue to fight? Wake me up in the middle of the night screaming? No? Great.’”
Perhaps because she is part of a crowded hour shared with fellow comics Seth Meyers and Tig Notaro in the episode that airs Feb. 19, the viewer learns little about Silverman’s immediate family, such as her parents or any of her four siblings — including sister Susan, a prominent activist Reform rabbi living in Israel. Instead, the episode focuses on her maternal grandparents, Golde and Herman Halpin.
“[Golde] was a monster,” Silverman says.
Herman, on the other hand, was a funny and apparently stabilizing influence in her life. He was born Hyman Cohen in Seattle, but apparently changed his name at Golde’s insistence.
“She didn’t want people to know they were Jewish,” Silverman surmises.
Meyers’ segment may surprise a few viewers. Many assume the “Saturday Night Live” alum and current NBC late night host is Jewish because of his name — and his punim. He does not consider himself a member of the tribe, though he was presumably aware of his Jewish antecedents on his paternal side. After all, they are noted on his Wikipedia page. (In addition, his wife has Holocaust survivor grandparents.)
Just as it is with Blacks, Jews who grow up around a lot of attractive and smart White people can develop very low self-esteem to the point, as is the case with Silverman, that they actually develop a sense that they aren’t even human by White standards. And when you have such a low self-esteem, you want to destroy those people who have made you feel “less than” a “hairy monkey”, and Silverman has made a career for herself spewing her vitriol at Whites and Christians.
And as Silverman reminds us, there was a time in the not-too-distant past when Jews did whatever they could to disappear into the landscape and pass as white, hiding their jewishness as best they could from the greater White society. White people made Jews feel like freaks, and the poor Jews just wanted to fit in, or so the story goes. But that’s the jewish dilemma, as Woody Allen once noted, “I wouldn’t want to be in any club that would have me as a member.” Neither Silverman nor Allen need worry that Whites will ever want them as part of their club.