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Stand-up Comedy Routine #6

And that’s all folks. It was six stand-up comedy classes for under a $100 at Santa Monica College. The teacher, Kevin Garbee, was awesome. And he coped well with my weird brand of Jewish Dominican humor. Here’s the last routine.

Coming out to my family was difficult. Especially since I wasn’t telling them I was gay, I was just telling them I wanted to be Jewish.

I was 14 the first time I told my mother I wanted to be Jewish. She reeled her arm back like a baseball player (she is Dominican) and she smacked me across the face.

Altogether, I think that went rather well since when my sisters told her they wanted to be Wiccans, my mother took them for an exorcism.

The second time I got it into my head to become Jewish and actually converted and everything, I…didn’t tell my mother at all. I just ran away from home. Changed my name. Didn’t leave a forwarding address. If you knew my mother, you would understand. An exorcism would have been the least of my problems.

I was 25 when I told my father for the first time I wanted to convert. He took it so well that he forgot. About the entire conversation.

The second time I told him I wanted to be Jewish, I tried a new tactic. I said, “Guess what, Dad, you’re going to have Jewish grandbabies!” I thought it was a good opening but all I heard on the other end was silence. And then my Dad just started laughing, the kind of laughter you could hear around the world. It was an international call.

My Dad has an interesting sense of humor. When I told him I was marrying my white Jewish husband, he said, “Well, I dated a Filipino girl once.”

My sisters said, “We picked our religion, you should pick your religion.” They were also convinced that I would be giving them presents on all eight days of Chanukkah.

I came out to my cousins in DR, who are the kind of Catholics that actually go to church and don’t have sex before marriage (I know, right?). My cousin, said, “Whatever brings you closer to Gd.” But I’m not sure if she realizes that this means I don’t believe in Jesus and I’m not going to be the one to tell her.

My aunt thought I was joining a cult. But she was polite about it, she didn’t tell me to my face. She told my sister who told me who told my other sister. In Dominican culture, that’s what we call bochinche. When there isn’t a new Spanish telenovela on, Dominicans thrive on it.

My coworkers created a pork eater’s only table. Obviously, working in high school makes you regress. On a frequent basis, we acted out parts from Mean Girls. And for some reason, I was always Lindsay Lohan falling into a trash can.

My friend Carrie thought I was just going through a phase. A phase that involved not returning her calls on Fridays and Saturdays. Giving her all my pants. Forgoing our favorite Chinese-Latino restaurant. But that’s not what pushed her over the edge. It was giving up Halloween that finally earned a “WHAT THE F#$%!” and some other stuff in Chinese I didn’t understand.

Right about then I decided it’d be simpler if I just left voicemails on people’s phone announcing my new life change. And it was. So much easier, some people never called me back. Ever. It’s been like four years, do you think they’re just busy?

Lesson learned. If you want to get rid of your crappy friends, don’t stop wearing deodorant, just tell them you’re converting to Judaism.

6 thoughts on “Stand-up Comedy Routine #6

  1. Better! Could explain the 'pork table” section tho. WHY did your co-workers do that? Homage to Anthony Bouurdain?

    I always try to explain certain aspects of Judaism not as well known to compare to something that is. Like saying a mikvah was “like a spa, minus the lettuce salad and seaweed wrap and the massage from a guy named hans” they understood the image better.

    But you have the right idea. Keep up the good work!

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  2. It's funny how people's experiences can be so fundamentally different.

    When I first started becoming observant, no one at my public high school noticed. And I mean no one. Heck, I was davening shaharit with tefillin and I got asked about it once or twice in two years!

    Or, in a stunt that had nothing to do with being observant, and was rather just my being a proud Jew, I wore an Israeli flag as a cape on Yom Ha-Atzma'ut – in a public school remember! Did anyone notice? Not one person.

    Finally, in a conversation with my friend, I went out of my way to mention the long tzitzit I had dangling down past my knees. “Oh, that's what those are,” he said. “I thought you just had a broken draw-string.”

    I guess my high school was so multi-cultural (we had 150 flags in the entrance hall, one for each country of origin represented in the student body of 2000) that one more wacky culture didn't faze anybody.

    My Christian relatives are quite supportive as well. My grandmother apparently refused to attend my mother's wedding (since my mother had converted to Judaism), but she (my grandmother) had long gotten over that by the time I was around; all I ever knew of my grandmother was that she had abandoned replacement theology and decided that G-d has never unchosen the Jews, even if He favors Christianity. My Episcopalian aunt keeps telling me how proud she is of me, and my Catholic cousin and I have had some very interesting interfaith dialogues on technical topics of theology. (She has a history degree, so she's a good one to discuss theology with. Her thesis involved researching the status of women in Medieval Jewish communities based on their tombstone inscriptions…??!!)

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  3. A friend of mine was once accosted by a Christian evangelist on the bus who invited her to a Bible study or some such. My friend declined, explaining, “Actually, I'm in the process of converting to Judaism” (which, at the time, was true). And the other person moved away from her. Judaism–it's contagious!

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  4. While walking to work from the subway, a gentleman with little green books said “Would you like a copy of the New Testament?” With no pause, I said “No thanks, I have the old one.” I am still proud and amused I came up with that!

    Even better to me: I have a coworker who is Jewish, but has moved away from all observance (though his parents are observant and I think he still lives at home – he's just graduated college). I was out the first two days and the last two days of Pesach; when my Catholic co-worker said “Heck, we should all convert to Judaism!” (to get the days off, of course) and this young man agreed, I said to him “You don't have to convert! It's your religion!”

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