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The Schmooze

Jon Stewart’s Shout-Outs to the Tribe

At the 92nd Street Y last night, Jon Stewart talked with Terry Gross about politics, the media and — of course — himself. In the meantime, he was sure to play to his core 92Y audience: the Jews.

Here are some of the shout-outs he made to the tribe:

  • “It’s a pleasure to be here at the 92nd Street Y. This is actually the third holiest place in the Jewish religion. I believe it goes: Wailing Wall, Zabars, here.”

  • Gross: Are you nervous?

  • Stewart: Am I a Jew? Is that what you’re asking?

  • On his brother, Larry Leibowitz, chief operating officer of the New York Stock Exchange: “Changed his name from Stewart. Wanted to seem more ‘financial.’”

  • Gross: Do you take anything [for your insomnia]?
  • Stewart: [long pause] Manischewitz.

  • Gross: What music was played at your Bar Mitzvah?

  • Stewart: Oh, wow, I don’t know. This was before people hired the Yankees to come to their Bar Mitzvah. (Stewart also mentioned that he was on crutches on his big day — from “playing basketball on a skateboard.”)

  • Gross, reading an audience question: What role does Judaism play in your professional life?

  • Stewart: Wow, what a surprise, getting that question at the 92nd Street Y. Wait, I bet they’re all like that. Next question: In your professional life, Judaism, does it play a role? Well, what do you want me to say? …I would consider myself Reform in that this year, for Yom Kippur, I had a bacon, egg and cheese croissandwich.

So maybe Stewart isn’t quite as Jewish as the 92Y diehards might hope (or maybe nobody really cares), but he pulled at least one move as Jewish as fasting on Yom Kippur: As the time drew to a close, and Gross warned that the interview could go on all night, Stewart cut her off — with a rousing rendition of “Sunrise, Sunset.”

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