BWW Review: Ashley Blaker's GOY FRIENDLY Explains It All For You
The press preview this reviewer caught of British comedian Ashley Blaker's GOY FRIENDLY turned out to be the first performance in front of an audience, so take that as you will if you wish to continue reading this unenthused critique.
The internationally-known stand-up who first brought his Jewish-focus material Off-Broadway in 2018 with STRICTLY UNORTHODOX arrives at the SoHo Playhouse with a show inspired by his friendship and professional collaboration with Muslim stand-up Imran Yusuf. Having spent a great deal of time traveling together from gig to gig, Yusuf had a lot of questions about Judaism, and their conversations prompted Blaker to examine how to explain his faith to a goy.
For the record, Blaker says that goy is the Hebrew word for "other nations" or "non-Jews."
"I think it says a lot about the Jewish people that there are only around five-and-a-half million of us in the United States, we form less than 2% of the population and yet we call everyone else non-Jews," he quips.
"Five-and-a half million is roughly the same number of people in America with Alzheimer's but they don't go around calling everyone else non-Alzheimer's."
A good bulk of the show is his rundown of bits about each of The Ten Commandments. Regarding not committing adultery, he remarks, "No, orthodox Jews don't have sex through a hole in the sheet. That is just a myth. Although if you saw many of the men in my synagogue you could imagine their wives might want it to be true."
He follows up with his list of Goy Friendly Commandments ("The Ten Commandments version Jew point 0.") which he says gives a clearer idea of what it's like to live as a Jew. These include "Thou Shalt Avoid the Media" and "Thou Shalt Dress Jewish." The latter prompts a story about walking through New York wearing a skullcap with the New England Patriots' logo and discovering that "people dislike Patriots fans even more than they do Jews."
"It seems It left me feeling very deflated which Tom Brady would no doubt have been happy about it."
He also points out similarities between Jews and Muslim, such as having multiple prayers a day.
"But we Jews have three prayers a day while Islam has five prayers a day... I imagine we used to have five prayers a day but we haggled God down."
Blaker has a nice likable personality and I found his presentation to be more genial than funny. I didn't laugh much, but I smiled frequently. But there are plenty of Internet videos out there of him performing. Sample a few and judge for yourself.