NEW YORK – “This event combines my two favorite things- Israel and the free press with my two least favorite things- doing comedy during lunch and not getting paid,” comedian Elon Gold told the Jerusalem Post in an exclusive interview following his comedy set Monday at the Post’s Annual Conference in New York.
Gold, an American Jewish comedian born and raised in Brooklyn, has appeared in Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Late Late Show with James Corden, The Tonight Show a dozen times and among others starred in FOX sitcom “Stacked.” His stand-up special “Chosen & Taken” debuted on Netflix in 2014 and is now streaming on Amazon. Gold joked that “the fact I even got a few laughs today at the Conference is a miracle.”
“My set was after Yad Vashem chairman Dani Dayan spoke so everyone was depressed and then the lunch plates come out,” he continued. “It’s the worst condition for comedy.”
As the United States sees a dramatic rise in antisemitic hate crimes and rhetoric, Gold, an Observant Jew who lives in Los Angeles, said he loves finding the funny in hate. Antisemitism is the theme at the center of many of his jokes. “You get to expose the ignorance in bigotry,” he said. “I’m obsessed with doing material about racism, antisemitism, homophobia, Islamophobia, any form of hatred to me, you just have to be so dumb and ignorant to hate a group of people so making fun of that is what I love doing.”
Comedy may not be the overall solution, but it can help
Asked whether comedy can change antisemitic attitudes, Gold said “no.”
“But it can change those that are on the fence about it,” he continued. “The people who are like ‘do I like Jews?’ I can dispel stereotypes they may believe.”
One of Gold’s personal favorite acts in which he attempts to eliminate stereotypes, he said, is talking about how Jews are just like everyone else. “We have three basic needs like everyone: sex, money and food,” he said. “We just want them in a different order.”
“I say to the audience, for the rest of the world the order is sex, money, food. For us it’s food first. But the audience always expects it’s going to be money. So by correcting their preconceived antisemitic stereotypical notions, it resonates. They’re like ‘oh Jews don’t love money like everyone says? Jews love food more than money?’ They’re learning something while they’re laughing.”
“The best way to teach someone is while they’re laughing,” Gold said.