Meet Josh Orlian, a 12-year-old Modern Orthodox Jew from White Plains, New York, who made his stand-up comedy debut on last night’s episode of “America’s Got Talent.” Not yet a bar mitzvah, young Josh, with sweet red hair and a kippah on his head, explained to the camera before taking the stage that he was quite nervous–until this moment he had only performed his jokes in front of family and friends.
Like any proud Jewish parents, Josh’s folks were there to cheer him on, his mother kvelling, as expected, “Of course I always laugh. I’m his mother!”
What wasn’t so expected? The dirty, dirty act that followed.
What started out sounding like a page straight out of SNL’s Bar Mitzvah Boy sketch turned into a raunchy rundown of jokes all heavily themed around the male genitalia. The crowd was in hysterics, literally dropping their jaws. And the best part? The judges–including Howard Stern and Heidi Klum–absolutely loved him and voted him onto the next level of the show.
Josh is not the first kippah-sporting youngster to wow the judges of “America’s Got Talent”–in 2012, Edon Pinchot, an Orthodox boy with a golden voice, made it to the semifinals, earning the moniker “The Jewish Justin Bieber.” And Taylor Williamson, a fellow Jewish comedian who got second place on the last season of “America’s Got Talent,” is already showing his support on Twitter:
— Taylor Williamson (@TaylorComedy) June 18, 2014
So what are we to make of all of this? The long line of Jewish comedians throughout history is still going strong, for one. And you should never underestimate the power of a good joke–penis-themed or otherwise. But is this good for the Jews, or a total shanda? Either way, Mazel tov, Josh!