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The Comedian Rewriting the Bible—as Comedy

David Tuchman’s unorthodox quest to retranslate the entire Hebrew Bible

Stephanie Butnick
October 14, 2013

New York comedian David Tuchman has undertaken a daunting task: retranslating the entire Hebrew Bible as a comedy series. Each month, Tuchman invites a guest to read portions of his translation for a live podcast recording, which he interrupts repeatedly with jokes and explanations. It’s called OMGWTFBIBLE (as in OMG, WTF, Bible), and here’s how Tuchman describes it:

OMGWTFBIBLE is a brand-new English translation of the Hebrew bible (that’s the Old Testament for all you Jesus lovers out there) from the story of creation all the way to whatever happens in Divrei HaYamim. A monthly podcast, OMGWTFBIBLE reframes everyone’s favorite holy book as the world’s oldest comedy serial, recorded live in New York City.

Sure, it’s a comic (and profanity-laced) take on Judaism’s holiest book, and might understandably rub some people the wrong way. But it’s an earnest effort—at the very least for how much time it’s taken Tuchman (he’s rounding out year one and he’s still in Genesis) and how much thought goes into the whole enterprise. No one translates the entire Bible just to make fun of it.

Tuchman’s most recent guest was Tablet’s own Elissa Goldstein, who displayed an impressive understanding of the Bible and and a great “Luke, I am your father” impression (and whose middle name Leia, we learn, was chosen not for the biblical Leah, but for Princess Leia). A large crowd gathered at the East Village bar for the reading, as good a refutation as any to the recent Pew study findings of younger Jews losing interest in organized Judaism. (There was a Facebook invitation, which is pretty much as organized as it gets.)

Here’s the full podcast recording (note: contains explicit language and a lot of jokes about the Bible), in which we hear the somewhat convoluted story of Rachel, Jacob, and Leah, and consider what it meant that no one really wore glasses back then:

You can listen to the rest of the OMGWTFBIBLE episodes here.

Stephanie Butnick is chief strategy officer of Tablet Magazine, co-founder of Tablet Studios, and a host of the Unorthodox podcast.