One sticky night last June, my girlfriends and I met up on the warehouse-lined streets of Bushwick to see a comedy show. That evening, Naomi Ekperigin took to the stage and proceeded to slay. A writer on Broad City and Difficult People, her hysterical worldview permeates some of the hottest shows on television. In her standup act, Ekperigin brilliantly tackles race, politics and, when it comes to her significant other, religion. That night, with mascara streaming down my face from nonstop laughter, the eloquent Ekperigin repeatedly referred to her soon-to-be husband, as her “Jewboo.”
What is a Jewboo?
Who was the Jewboo that Ekperigin so tenderly referred to in her act?
Can there be more than one Jewboo?
These questions swirled around in my head for almost a year until I lured Ekperigin and Andy Beckerman (the Jewboo) into the Forward office to answer these burning questions and more:
I usher comedian, podcaster and comedy writer extraordinaire Beckerman, into a fluorescent-lit conference room at the Forward office. Platters of bagels and schmear idle on a countertop in the corner, leftover from an earlier meeting. For an awkward moment, we’re just two Jews in a conference room with bagels. While we snack and chat, I learn more about Beckerman’s nice Jewish family from rural Pennsylvania and he assures me that his “almost wife,” stand-up comedian and writer, Ekperigin, will arrive soon.
Suddenly, the door glides open and she enters. Dressed in a chic blue peplum top, her electric energy brightens the stale office space. Even though they see each other everyday, the way Andy and Naomi look at each other feels like the most excitement the Forward newspaper has seen since Ab Cahan opened our doors in 1897. (Spoiler alert: This is true love.)
I try to act cool but in the comedy community, these two are a big freaking deal. A comedy power couple, the two met when paired together at The Lottery Jam! At the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in New York. Beckerman says, “of course my first impression [of Ekperigin] was I thought she was really funny!” A few Facebook messages and a first date to see Johnny Depp’s Charlie and The Chocolate Factory movie-later, the two lovebirds have been together for going on six years. Pro-tip: On their first date, Ekperigin says Beckerman held her hand throughout the whole movie.
Beckerman possesses one of those deep, distinctive, (dare I say addictive?), funny-guy voices. Ekperigin, with her refreshingly genuine charisma, immediately put the room at ease. From the moment she begins speaking, it’s obvious why Ilana Glazer asked her to write for Broad City. The woman spits fire.
When Beckerman’s not writing for television (The Pete Holmes Show on TBS; Cedric Barber’s Battle on The CW) or developing a pilot with truTV, he hosts two podcasts: Snap Impression, a monthly game show podcast that challenges guests to do on-the-spot impressions and Beginnings, a show where Beckerman conducts interviews with artists about their creative origins. If you want to hear the finest minds in comedy deconstruct pop culture icons and perform dead-on impressions, download Snap Impression and prepare to giggle. The show feels like the audio equivalent of Netflix’s The Characters, meets Survivor, meets a co-ed version of The View.
The strength of their relationship is their ability to joke around. In his podcast Snap Impression, Beckerman often loops Ekperigin into the conversation. He touches on a myriad of topics in his show but his relationship with Ekperigin provides Andy with unique insights to smartly comment on the interplay between race and religion. Ekperigin uses anecdotes from their relationship as fodder in her act and pulls from her experience dating a Jewish man and growing up in New York to write for mostly Jewish characters on Broad City or Difficult People. “Choosing the chosen,” as she puts it, is paying off.
Partners in life, comedy writing partners and cat parents, Andy and Naomi call Harlem home. You can follow the two on Twitter, here: @AndyBeckerman @Blacktress. See what all the fuss is about.