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Culture

SNL taps spooky, subversive Jewish comedian Sarah Sherman

What’s the best way to get a featured player spot on SNL? For new cast member Sarah Sherman, the secret sauce was posting an unsolicited audition tape, where, pinky raised to the corner of her mouth like Dr. Evil, she did impressions of everyone from Donald Trump to the infernal “Little Lad” from that one Starburst commercial. So, high-risk, high-reward.

Sherman, who goes by the stage name Sarah Squirm, probably had a more formal audition than the one posted in jest to YouTube (in which, be warned, she proceeds to vomit on her phone). But it’s likely the scouts on the storied sketch show did their research into her spooky, weird and Jewish guilt-derived brand of comedy.

In a 2020 interview with Vice, Sherman, who has opened for Eric Andre, emcees the horror-inflected comedy show “Helltrap Nightmare,” spoke about growing up in “Uncut Gems” Long Island, where, every time she makes a homecoming she gets “eviscerating diarrhea.” (This sort of thing seems to be a theme with her.)

Part of the reason for this distress is her dad, a Howard Ratner-type who guilt trips her for not attending High Holiday services by reminding her of the “6 million in the oven.”

“Speaking of Jewish guilt, I do have a lot of guilt in performing,” said Sherman, who called her casting a “big mistake” on Twitter. “I feel bad that I’m sucking up time in the universe, and so if you’re coming to see this show, I gotta make it worth it. I can’t just get onstage and be like, ‘Blah blah blah, my wife is a bitch and my mom is a whore’ and that’s the show.”

As the latest Jewish addition to the SNL roster since Chloe Fineman, Sherman promises to bring an awareness of her heritage to the fore. That awareness is typically self-effacing.

“I’m just a dumbass Jewish comedian,” Sherman said, before waxing poetic about “our lord and savior, the tall Jew king Bernie.”

Hopefully Sherman will get the chance to share the stage with Sanders — or at least Larry David.

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