Monica Piper Talks About Off-Broadway Hit "Not That Jewish"

Steve Adubato goes sits down with Monica Piper, star and writer of the Off-Broadway hit, NOT THAT JEWISH, to discuss her hilarious one-woman show.

3/24/17 #2022






"Mom, do I have a Jewish heart? Of course you do darling. We're democrats. [Laughter] When my son was an infant, people would say "How could you possibly have a newborn and look this good?" I told them "It's really quite simple. I exercise every single day, eat only healthy foods, and he's adopted". [Laughter] That's good stuff. And the star, the writer of this one woman performance is right here. Piper, excuse me, Monica Piper is star and writer of the off-Broadway comedy "Not that Jewish" at the New World Stage 340 West 50th Street in Manhattan. Good to see you! It's good to be here. Give us the premise. Not that Jewish. Where does it come from? It comes from as a child, well, we didn't belong to a temple when I was growing up Where? In the Bronx. Okay. But actually on the high holy days, my mother would make us dress up and stand in front of the apartment building so it looked like we just got home from temple. As if you had gone. As if we had gone and she played it "Lovely Service". She played it but I had a little neighbor, 7 years old just like me, who said "did you really go to temple?" and... Did you have guilt? I had a little guilt. I did. I'm Catholic. We have it too We have that in common Yes we do. We have that in common. But, I just... she said "well, you're not really Jewish. If you don't go to temple on Rosh Hashana, you're not really Jewish." "Yes I am!" "How? If you don't go to temple?" "my mommy and daddy and aunts and uncles and grandmas and grandpas, they're Jewish" "well, okay I guess... but you're not that Jewish" Not that Jewish! I had no idea what that meant What does that mean? To be not that Jewish? That is awesome So, I asked my father "what does that mean?" and I asked my mother and I asked my grandmother and they all give me different ideas that there's no such thing basically. You're Jewish or you're not" and my grandma says "what's important is that you've got a Jewish heart" So I guess my life is an exploration, kind of what does it mean to have a Jewish heart. And when I adopt a child, and I decide it's important to raise him as a Jewish man and I'm not even sure why Yeah, define what that means by the way. Well, that's what I'm saying. What does it mean to r aise him as a "Jewish man"? To have certain qualities of what I thought my grandmother meant as someone having a Jewish heart and through the course of the show we realize..."