December 11, 2018

Did Larry David Cross a Line? …You Betcha!

By now I’m guessing much of the US Jewish population has a strong opinion about #LarryDavid’s opening monologue on SNL. I’m also guessing very few actually watched the skit. I did, and it made me squirm. Then I started reading the pushback from the community which I found to be just as offensive. “David’s a self-hating Jew”. “He’s an idiot”, “He should be boycotted” “Send him to a concentration camp” – which led me to watch his piece once again.

“It’s not just supposed to make you laugh,

good comedy challenges, makes you think”

This time I found his piece to be equally offensive, AND I had a new found respect for the power of comedy – it’s not just supposed to make you laugh, good comedy challenges, makes you think. And Larry David, has done just that. His joke wasn’t about the Holocaust; it was about objectifying women. His joke was not about Jews being evil, it was about Jews being human. “I don’t like when Jews are in the headlines for notorious reasons. I want ‘Einstein discovers the theory of relativity,’ ‘Salk cures polio.”

That’s not self-loathing, that’s raw honesty. How many Jews are talking about their Judaism on TV? Could he have been more nuanced? Maybe, or maybe Erma Bombeck said it best, “there’s a thin line that separates laughter and pain, comedy and tragedy, humor and hurt”.

Did Larry cross the line? It seems for many Jews, yes!  For this Jew, I’d rather he keep his right to push buttons and boundaries,  and I keep my right to laugh or dismiss him. And if you don’t agree with me, that too is ok.

That’s the power of the arts. That’s the beauty of America.