I had a friend in college who everyone thought was Jewish, and for a time, I did too. Then I asked a mutual acquaintance, just to be sure. “He’s Jewish, right?” I inquired nonchalantly. Her response: “No, but isn’t that so odd?” Seth Meyers, newly minted host of the Late Night show on NBC, is one of those odd people who everyone assumes must be Jewish, but actually isn’t. Last night, reflecting on a yarmulke he’d recently received as a gift from a guest, Meyers set the record straight.
“I’m not Jewish,” he told the audience. “Not everybody thinks I’m Jewish, but every single Jewish person thinks that I’m Jewish. And it’s not their fault because they think that–they come to that conclusion–because of my face and my name and everything about me.” This sometimes puts him in an awkward position. “I don’t want to say, ‘oh oh, I’m not Jewish,’ because when you say that, you sound like someone trying to get into a 1950s country club,” he said, “and I love the idea of being Jewish.”
You can watch the entire monologue–which includes the story of how Meyers came to be accepted by his genuinely Jewish in-laws–below:
Yair Rosenberg is a senior writer at Tablet. Subscribe to his newsletter, listen to his music, and follow him on Twitter and Facebook.