Zach Woods Of ‘Silicon Valley’ Is The Best Jewish Comedian You’re Not Watching by the Forward

Zach Woods Of ‘Silicon Valley’ Is The Best Jewish Comedian You’re Not Watching

If you’ve ever seen HBO’s amazingly awkward “Silicon Valley,” you know Zach Woods. His portrayal of Jared Dunn, the loyal, wilting, strangely motherly, secretly German-speaking C.F.O of Pied Piper, the fictional startup which the series follows, has consistently been one of the series’ sleeper gems.

Luckily for us, Woods is Jewish, so those of us who nourish secret crushes on him — me, me — are free to let them out in the open. In the name of that self-indulgent task, here are six reasons you should love him, too.

1) He makes fear hilarious

Woods is the best in the game at timidity and anxiety, so when Ellie Kemper charged at him with an axe in a 2010 episode of “The Office,” the results were marvelous. “You cannot sneak up on people wielding weapons anymore,” he chastised her, alongside the rest of the crew filming a horror movie in the office. “It is petrifying, and frankly unprofessional.”

2) He also makes the philosophical hilarious

On a recent visit to “Conan,” Woods recounted the wisdom teeth removal he’d undergone just days before. High on laughing gas, he said, he asked the dentist if time was passing. “And she was like ‘Yeah, it’s always passing,’” he said. “And then I was like ‘But now, what about now, is it passing now?’ And she said ‘Well time’s a construct, so maybe we’re moving, and time is standing still.’”

3) Neuroses has never been so charming

Towards the end of the first season of “Silicon Valley,” Woods’s Jared Dunn went through a harrowing scenario involving a self-driving car and an island full of robots. Upon his return, he was marvelously unhinged. Determined to help Pied Piper execute a pivot, he cornered passing pedestrians to pitch them increasingly sinister ideas for new apps. “What if there was an app, called Pied Piper, that could tell you to a statistical degree of certainty, whether you were going to heaven or hell?” he asked, eyes bulging. “Very interested, somewhat interested, not interested? Which one? Which one? Which one?”

4) He’ll validate your “Game of Thrones” confusion

What’s happening in “Game of Thrones?” Who are all these characters, and how does anyone keep them straight? Are there really people who go by the monikers “The Hound” and “The Mountain?” Woods is here to make your ignorance about one of TV’s biggest series feel acceptable, even when it’s contrasted with the vehement adoration shown to it by his “Silicon Valley” co-stars Kumail Nanjiani and Thomas Middleditch.

5) He’ll help you rethink masculinity

“Are you a macho guy?” James Corden asked Woods in 2016. Woods’s response? Once, he tried to be — and then he saw some dolphins.

6) He’ll accept all your hugs — although maybe misinterpret them

In a 2011 episode of “The Office,” Mindy Kaling’s Kelly Kapoor gave Woods’s Gabe Lewish a hug, which she ended with a disgusted noise, and the outraged statement “I’m sorry, you were just a lot bonier than I thought you were gonna be.” “There are plenty of people who love touching me,” Woods sniffily responded. “I’m a terrific hugger. I’ve been with a bunch of girls where that’s basically all they want to do.”

Zach Woods Of ‘Silicon Valley’ Is The Best Jewish Comedian You’re Not Watching

Zach Woods Of ‘Silicon Valley’ Is The Best Jewish Comedian You’re Not Watching


Talya Zax

Talya Zax

Talya Zax is the Forward’s innovation editor. Contact her at or on Twitter, @TalyaZax.

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