September 22, 2019

Sarah Silverman Headlines ADL’s ‘Stand-Up Against Hate’

Comedian Sarah Silverman headlined the ADL’s “Stand-Up Against Hate.” Photo by Marvin Steindler

Renowned Jewish comedienne Sarah Silverman was among a long line of A-list comedians who performed at the Anti-Defamation League’s NextGen young professionals’ “Stand-Up Against Hate” comedy night at the Comedy Store in Hollywood on July 11.

Other comics on the roster were Wayne Federman, Sammy Obeid, Michael Yo, Justin Martindale and master of ceremonies Bruce Fine.

But it was Silverman who was the big draw, performing in front of 275 attendees. She opened with bathroom humor, speaking about the logic or lack thereof of a sign by a swimming pool prohibiting swimmers who have had diarrhea in the last 14 days. She then segued into a joke about Hanukkah before covering everything from being single to abortion, and an existential crisis prompted by an underwear commercial.

Silverman quipped she had intended the existential bit to be the first “non-Jewy” joke but then noted the joke was on her because is there anything more Jewish than having an existential crisis?

Comedian Justin Martindale embraced the ADL message, saying, “What’s up, non-haters?”

Federman continued the theme, telling the audience, “Next Saturday, I’m doing a pro-defamation benefit.”

Obeid said, “It’s an honor to be a Palestinian-American performing for a Jewish-American organization fighting hate for 100 years.”

“It’s an honor to be a Palestinian-American performing for a Jewish-American organization.”
— Sammy Obeid

With his Lebanese-Palestinian-Syrian-Italian-American background, Obeid gave new meaning to the term “multi-hyphenate,” openly joking about being Palestinian. He also bravely joked about Jesus being Palestinian.

ADL Senior Associate Regional Director Natan Pakman told the Journal the annual comedy event is a way of getting young people involved in the ADL.

One of those people is Debbie Paperman, a graduate and now co-chair of the ADL’s Glass Leadership Institute program for young adults, focused on advocacy and leadership training. Paperman said she felt the evening was a success not only because it drew a large crowd but because it brought attention to the ADL’s work in supporting justice and fairness for all.

“I thought it was a great event,” she said. “I love the ADL and I’m very passionate about their mission. I think that it’s one of the most important organizations to support right now, and I am so glad that it was such a well-attended event.”

Paperman added she was attracted to the ADL in part because it helps both Jews and non-Jews, noting, “This is an organization that I know can impact so many people, and it is important for the Jewish community as well as the community at large.”

At the event, ADL Regional Director Amanda Susskind wore a blazer over a T-shirt that read “Stand-Up Against Hate!” Susskind said the evening was an opportunity to take a break from the serious work the ADL does every day to combat hatred and bigotry.

“We are dealing with a difficult topic all year round and it is nice when we can have a moment of levity,” she said, adding, “Heavy topic, light evening.”