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Ep. 251: Comedian Gilbert Gottfried on the importance of comedy in dark times, and novelist Gavriel Savit on making the fantasy genre even more Jewish

November 19, 2020

This week on Unorthodox, Mark says goodbye to a staple of his childhood as Friendly’s files for bankruptcy. To cheer him up, we’ve got two great Jewish guests.

First we talk to comedian Gilbert Gottfried, whose voice you may have recognized on our 2019 episode celebrating the publication of our book, The Newish Jewish Encyclopedia. He explains why comedy in dark times is essential and cathartic, tells us about his own podcast, Gilbert Gottfried’s Amazing Colossal Podcast, where he schmoozes with and celebrates show business legends, and regales us with the story of his family’s infamous Zoom bat mitzvah incident.

Our next guest is Gavriel Savit, who started his Unorthodox journey as an angry letter writer, became Mark’s neighbor in New Haven, welcomed us into his home to record an episode, and finally joins us as a proper guest to tell us about his magical and deeply Jewish young adult novel, The Way Back. He makes the case that the fantasy genre is in fact quite Jewish—is Hogwarts basically a yeshiva?—and explains why books like his, which is proudly filled with Jewish imagery and takes place in an Eastern European shtetl, can still hold universal appeal.

Let us know what you think of the show! Send us comments and questions at [email protected], or leave us a voicemail at (914) 570-4869. You can also record a voice memo on your smartphone and email it to us.

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