I think we all know how I feel about Jewish parodies. If they’re good, I’ll chuckle along. If they suck, I’m not going to mince words.
I warned Rob Tannenbaum of WhatILikeAboutJew that I can be nasty bee-otch as such, and he still sent me WILAJ’s new CD “Orthodox.” He cautioned me that this was not Jewish parody, but I figured anyone who named their band from an 80’s anthem could not be trusted.
Romantics wordplay or no, Rob was right it’s not parody. And after a brief listen on the family sound system, I found out it’s not for kids, either. Before the end of the first song, “Hot Jewish Chicks,” my kid asked “What does ‘put the whore in hora’ mean?”
But once I procured some headphones, the question became “Mommy, why are you laughing?” Oh no, definitely not for children. Or your grandmother. Or those wearing pacemakers, of weak nervous systems or your rabbi.
Rob and the other half of WILAJ, Sean Altman, lob some seriously messed up Jewish jokes to the unobservant set. Falling into the “Oh No They Di’int!” category is “Jews for Jesus,” which tells the people formerly known as Jews to “go get your foreskin reattached” and that “I’d gladly baptize you in my toilet/’Cuz you, just like the bowl, are full of sh*t” as well as “You’re born again, that’s nice/If Jesus resurrects you I get to kill you twice.”
Mwah-ha-ha-ha! goes the evil bee-otch in me in a wholly approving, guffawing sort of way.
There’s gleefully adolescent preoccupation with sexual organs here, present in their ode to little penises, “Just A Little Off The Top,” and the homage to Al Goldstein, “The Porno Made Me Do It.” But even while the feminist in me was ready to call in the thesaurus for all the possible ways to say “offensive,” I was still snickering.
I wish I’d been able to include “Hannukah with Monica” and “Reuben the Hook-Nosed Reindeer” (Santa is his shabbos goy) in the Chanukah music round-up, but this is a year-round opportunity to entertain your Jewish friends who don’t mind a little self-referential loathing (see the Jewish dating track and “Taller Than Jesus.”)
No, nowhere near parody, even if musically it kind of smells like Bare Naked Ladies. These acclaimed “giants of Jewish joke-pop” have been selling out shows in NYC, but there’s a whole world full of Jews who were done with anything religious the minute they stepped down from the bima after their b’nai mitzvah.
I’m not saying I’m one of them, and I’ll have to pass this CD on and out of the house immediately lest my children confuse it with the new Debbie Friedman compilation, but it deserves much play in Jewish frat houses and afterhours BBG parties. A West coast tour is in the works for spring; maybe El Yenta Man and I will find a babysitter, got schnockered on chocolate martinis and check it out.