While many Jewish comedians (and one in particular) have noted the differing foodways of Jews and gentiles, you might be surprised to find that 1960s radical political activist Abbie Hoffman was one of them.
Yes, that Abbie Hoffman. Reviled by some and revered by others for his strident politics, Hoffman was openly and proudly Jewish. In this hilarious and unlikely home video, Hoffman recounts dining with fellow anti-war activist Dr. Benjamin Spock. (Yes, that Dr. Spock). United in their opposition to the Vietnam War, Hoffman and Spock, the famed pediatrician of well-bred New England stock, could not have been more different when it came to social etiquette or taste in food.
Inadvertently insulting Spock’s etiquette by bringing his own appetizer—gefilte fish!—to Dr. Spock’s dinner, Hoffman relates how the doctor substituted his fish with cheap shrimp pate, or, as he put it, “pink blech.” Acknowledging gefilte fish’s uninviting appearance to the uninitiated, Abbie Hoffman’s narrative is a perhaps accidental tribute to comedian Lenny Bruce’s unforgettable culinary distinction.
Watch Jackie Mason’s routine on Jews in restaurants:
Hear Abbie Hoffman expound on his version of “Jewish and Goyish”: