You might not know this, but there’s a movement out there determined to resurrect the Yiddish language. Both Jewish and non-Jewish comedians ranging from Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld to Conan O’Brien and JK Simmons (see the season 2 finale of BoJack Horseman) have, whether subtly or blatantly, introduced their audiences to the wonderment of this “ancient” dialect we Jews hold so dear.
Undoubtedly, the most vocal proponents of this movement are two Montrealers who have dedicated an entire web series to making Yiddish relevant again: Jamie Elman and Eli Batalion.
With YidLife Crisis, Elman (Chaimie) and Batalion (Leizer) engage in not-so-kosher situations (getting stoned on Rosh HaShanah, eating deli sandwiches on Yom Kippur, etc.) but whilst speaking in a very kosher tongue. After getting rave reviews and garnering thousands of viewers, the duo unleashed the second season of their show this year, teamed up with Canadian icon Howie Mandel for a special episode, and even stopped by Toronto for a launch party – mind you, the dialect spoken that evening was mostly English.
We were able to catch up with Elman and Batalion (they’re also monthly contributors for The CJN) ahead of the launch party to discuss their characters, the former’s appearance on Curb Your Enthusiasm, comedy as a Jewish institution, and the possibility of teaming up with Mayim Bialik.