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Sarah Silverman Preparing Her Aging Dad For Death Is The Most Jewish Thing Ever

Sarah Silverman’s dad Donald is in perfectly good health for an 81-year-old. So Silverman decided “to show you just how important it is to take your elderly parents, bring them on your television show, and make a plan for their death.”

As Donald said, popping up next to his daughter during the season finale of her Hulu show “I Love You, America,” “Jesus f*****g Christ.”

Two-thirds of Americans don’t have a death plan, Silverman reports, leaving their family and their communities in a costly, confusing situation. In the segment, Silverman and Silverman visited a doctor for an advanced directive. “I told my wife,” the elder Silverman explained, “If I can’t have an orgasm, pull the plug.”

“I do not want to suffer,” he added.

The father-daughter duo then headed to a mortuary. “I invited my step-mom Janice, who has been married to my dad for 40 years and will never be my real mother. Never,” Silverman added.

“I really want to be biodegradable somewhere,” Silverman, Sr. added. “Just put into a sack.” According to Jewish law, this is a very commendable idea. Sadly, Janice was a no on this.

They finished with a living will, a video Sarah took of Donald giving instructions. Sitting in some kind of mortuary throne room, he recited instructions in a black shirt beaming the words “Love is love” and “Black Lives Matter.”

“Figure that I did my best, had a good time when I was here,” he asked. “Sometime, when you’re sitting around bulls****ing, talk about me a little bit,” he asked. He hugged his daughter.

“We went over a ton of excellent dying options today,” Sarah Silverman said, in a voice over.

Once again, we feel moved to ask — is Sarah Silverman a prophetess? The increasingly politically and sociologically-invested performer has gradually turned “I Love You America” into a kind of “Sesame Street” for adults, helping us navigate the painful and confusing parts of the life with a laugh.

Cheerfully anticipating death? Making death-planning a family adventure? Joking around in a mortuary? Smiling at the idea of being eaten by worms? This is truly the most Jewish-friendly, death-focused TV ever to hit primetime.

We wish Donald 81 more years of “keeping the devil waiting.” Happy death-planning to all of us.

Jenny Singer is the deputy lifestyle editor for the Forward. You can reach her at singer@forward.com or on Twitter @jeanvaljenny

The Schmooze

SNL’s RBG ‘Get Well’ Rap Is Weaker Than Ginsburg’s Fractured Ribs

It’s fair to say that “Saturday Night Live” has had its ups and downs. Sometimes, the show is Kate McKinnon singing “Hallelujah” and Kenan Thompson as the tragic hero of a lobster opera. And sometimes, it’s just men embarrassing themselves.

Forget the truly misguided bit this week when the absurdly wealthy co-head writer and “Weekend Update” host Colin Jost called New Yorkers “whiney b**ches” for complaining that Amazon’s new Queens-based headquarters is projected to raise housing costs and drastically gentrify that part of the city. The nadir of the show arrived in the form of a rap about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

There was a time when rapping about powerful Jewish women was this show’s bread and butter! Ah, for the simple days of 2006, when Andy Samberg rapped about eating feces out of Natalie Portman’s shoe. Alas, Pete Davidson and Chris Redd can muster neither the swagger nor the word play.

Their Sheck Wes-inspired number has the lyric quality and performance level of an office birthday parody song. (“Live Ginsburg, and I ride for Ginsburg.”) Even Kate McKinnon as RBG can’t save it — maybe because they barely let her speak.

Behold as Davidson and Redd manage to mess up a rap about an 85-year-old cultural icon who fractured three ribs last week and went almost immediately back to serving the nation:

Maybe the solution is something Ruth Bader Ginsburg thought of herself — when will there be enough women head writers on SNL to make it funny? When all of them are women.

Jenny Singer is the deputy lifestyle editor for the Forward. You can reach her at singer@forward.com or on Twitter @jeanvaljenny

The Schmooze

The Bernie Sanders-Azealia Banks Feud You’ve Been Waiting For Has Arrived

It was bound to happen.

Vermont senator Bernie Sanders is a snowy-haired, firebrand grandpa grumpily taking on America’s banks, taxes, and social systems.

Azealia Banks is a quicksilver, hyper-sexual, socially radical rapper known for erratic behavior, hot-headed internet fighting, and, once, claiming to have lurked inside of Elon Musk’s house for days.

It was inevitable that these two would clash. The question was not “if,” but “how much popcorn should we bring?”

On Thursday, Sanders posted a message to Instagram, with the caption, “We all must stand together to reject Trump’s bigotry.” The content of the post was pretty standard Sanders-ian anti-Trump fare, accusing the president of racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, and religious bigotry. These all seem (despite some of Banks’ own xenophobic scandals) like messages that would resonate with the “212” rapper.

But we must never underestimate Azealia Banks’ ability to feud. Her delivery is not delicate, and she’s pretty off-base when you consider Sanders’ long history of anti-racism work, but she does make some excellent points:

Yes, the unlikelihood of this match-up is obscenely delightful. But honestly, for all Banks’ foibles (and Sanders’, too,) they’re both great minds. They’re both passionate. They’re dialogue is interesting.

Here are some ways we’d like to see it continue:

-A formal debate, moderated by Robin Roberts
-A format exchange where Sanders raps and Banks gives a speech on the Senate floor
-A series of short, highly edited YouTube videos
-A hip-hop opera written by Lin-Manuel Miranda

Jenny Singer is the deputy lifestyle editor for the Forward. You can reach her at Singer@forward.com or on Twitter @jeanvaljenny

The Schmooze

‘Princess Bride’ Writer William Goldman Dead, But Immortal Forever

“True love is the best thing in the world,” William Goldman wrote. “Except for cough drops.”

The 87-year-old screenwriter and novelist died on Friday morning after a brilliant career and beautiful life. His genius was as suited to love scenes as knife fights, as compelling recounting history as it was inventing myth, as warm on the page as in person.

The screenwriter for “The Princess Bride,” “Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid,” “Misery,” and “All The President’s Men,” Goldman’s true love was the novel. And he is just as beloved in his industry for his unsurpassed primer on movie-making, “Adventures in the Screen Trade.” Goldman was prolific — he had over 30 screenplays produced as major motion pictures, wrote Broadway plays, was a game-changing script doctor, and wrote for television, winning two Oscars along the way. He was proud of being “the only male ever to judge both Cannes Film Festival and the Miss American Pageant in the same year.” All the while, he kept up his reputation as a mensch and a harsh self-critic.

Goldman was born in 1931 in the Highland Park suburb of Chicago, to observant Jewish parents. His father, Maurice, was an alcoholic who committed suicide when Goldman was a teen. He went on to Oberlin, where he found himself unable to get any of his stories published, despite being the editor of the college’s literary magazine. He served in the army, got a literature master’s degree at Columbia, and then, the way others might compulsively eat potato chips, he started compulsively writing novels. He wrote for the rest of his life. He is survived by his partner Susan Burden, his daughter Jenny Goldman, and one grandson.

Goldman reported on Friday that her father died of complications of colon cancer and pneumonia. If you’ve read Goldman’s brilliant novel “Princess Bride,” (and you should — it’s as brilliant as the movie and twice the length,) you’ll know why Goldman might have found some comedy in his own death.

Goldman’s genius for bringing fantasy into real life and finding humor in pain was unparalleled. We’ll miss him. And we’ll remember him for leaving more true love in the world than he found here.

Here are some of our favorite Goldman quotes:

“I have loved you for several hours now, and every second, more. I thought an hour ago that I loved you more than any woman has ever loved a man, but a half hour after that I knew that what I felt before was nothing compared to what I felt then. But ten minutes after that, I understood that my previous love was a puddle compared to the high seas before a storm.” - “The Princess Bride” (the novel)

“The wrong people die, some of them, and the reason is this: life is not fair…it’s just fairer than death.” - “The Princess Bride” (the novel)

“Let’s look on the bright side: we’re having an adventure, and most people live and die without being as lucky as we are.” - “The Princess Bride” (the novel)

“Oh, please don’t worry. I’m not going into that cavity. That nerve’s already dying. A live, freshly-cut nerve is infinitely more sensitive. So I’ll just drill into a healthy tooth until I reach the pulp. Unless, of course, you can tell me that it’s safe.” - “Marathon Man”

“I’ll do anything you want me to but I won’t watch you die.” - “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”

“Rules? In a knife fight? No rules!” - “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”

“I got vision and the rest of the world wears bi-focals” - “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”

“Nobody knows anything.” - “Adventures in the Screen Trade”

Jenny Singer is the deputy lifestyle editor for the Forward. You can reach her at Singer@forward.com or on Twitter @jeanvaljenny

The Schmooze

Sarah Silverman Schools Nazi Prom Boys On How To Make A Good Holocaust Joke

In the darkest moments, in the valley of the shadow of anti-Semitism, in days torn by violence and pain, there is a light, and her name is Sarah Silverman.

And she is committed to teaching the world that there is a better way to make jokes about the Holocaust.

Reflecting on the surfacing of a group of boys from a Wisconsin high school doing a “sieg heil” motion in a prom photo, Silverman said, “Either their prom theme was like ‘A Kristallnacht To Remember’ or we have a white supremacist problem on our hands.”

Now that’s a funny Holocaust joke.

“What this picture shows is that, at a mere suggestion, an entire group of young white men gave the Nazi salute with laughing, smiling, joyful faces,” Silverman went on, dead serious.

The photo, she pointed out, wasn’t funny. It was, in fact, not recognizable as a joke, which is sort of a necessary element of comedy. It’s not an issue of being politically correct, the very politically incorrect comic pointed out. “I’ve dressed up as Hitler. I’ve probably made six million Holocaust jokes,” she said. “I’m not even going to go so far as to say you have to be Jewish to make jokes about Jews. You just have to not hate Jews.”


Silverman went on to give this casually brilliant analysis:

“I think it’s safe to say that in this picture, there’s a percentage of these guys that are straight-up anti-Semitic…I’d say a percentage of them are just ignorant to the weight of what that particular salute means, and a percentage of them are just, like, trying to survive high school. And all of that added up together is what makes up a Nazi movement — ringleaders, followers, and dip**ts.”

She also recognized Jordan Blue, the one and only person in the photo who did not become involved in any way. Blue is gay, and Silverman pointed out that his decision not to join in with the crowd marks the importance of intersectionality — the idea that people of all oppressed identities should see their safety as linked. “For every Jordan Blue out there, there has got to be a Jordan Bluestein who’s got his back,” she said.

“I may not be a Bluestein, but I am a Silverman. And I got your back, buddy,” she said.

Us too.

Jenny Singer is the deputy lifestyle editor for the Forward. You can reach her at Singer@forward.com or on Twitter @jeanvaljenny

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