Jewish Enterprise

By | Oct 11, 2011
2010 July-August

That’s not to say that Samberg hasn’t toyed with tempting targets like anti-Semitic Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. In 2007, a “love-struck” Samberg serenaded Ahmadinejad, played by fellow cast member Fred Armisen, with the hit Iran So Far. “You can blame the Jews/I can be your Jim Caviezel,” he sings, referring to the actor who starred as Jesus in Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ, and, “You can deny the Holocaust/But you can’t deny there’s something between us.”

Today Jewish culture has gone mainstream, but the Jewish sensibility that is so much a part of American sketch humor is as strong as ever. In fact there are many who would argue that after 35 years it would be impossible to separate SNL from American Jewish comedy. “Even the non-overtly Jewish sketches were still Jewish in essence,” says Chicago Tribune media columnist Phil Rosenthal. “When Gilda Radner played Roseanne Roseannadanna or Emily Litella, they weren’t Jewish characters—but you think of them as Jewish because of who played them and how they were played. Even the Coneheads represent the experience of Jews in the diaspora as they try to fit in, to assimilate.”

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