Jaffe’s Jewish Jive

Lenny Marcus, a three-time David Letterman guest, did his homework to charm Atlanta on Saturday night, Sept. 12, at the Marcus Jewish Community Center.

He began by bragging about our “swank Jewish Community Center that looks like a university campus,” especially because it’s named after him, Marcus. After all, his father’s name is Bernie Marcus, just not that Bernie Marcus.

Photo by Marcia Caller Jaffe Comedian Lenny Marcus (left) mingles with Cheryl Isaacs (left) and David and Christy Toltzis.

Photo by Marcia Caller Jaffe
Comedian Lenny Marcus (left) mingles with Cheryl Isaacs (left) and David and Christy Toltzis.

Marcus contrasted the melodious street names of Peachtree and Tilly Mill, which he often intentionally referred to as “Milly Till Lane,” with rough names in New York. He goaded the Southern audience for “having nothing better to do on this Saturday night. Waiting for a visit to the Cheesecake Factory? Or you could be working on your Dunwoody field trip to Aruba? This is an older crowd; anyone for canasta?”

Like a mild Don Rickles, he interacted with audience members with mild insults. When he did his Costco shtick, Marcus tangled with a man in the second row who was the only one to raise his hand for buying a family pack of condoms in lots of 100. “Who does that?”

“I liked that he danced on the border of good taste,” said one audience member, Ken Levy. “He spaced out his four-letter words, but it was nothing like Andrew ‘Dice’ Clay.”

David Toltzis loved the Costco jokes, as did Phil Isaacs, who cracked, “I howled when Marcus said he buys hundreds of packages of toilet paper, paper towels and Tampons at Costco, so if the car falls into a lake on the way home, he wouldn’t drown.”

Marcus also poked fun at the sale of coffins at Costco — or should he wait to buy one online?

Other comedic scenarios:

  • Marcus, who is single, said he is having trouble finding regular women who are not gluten-free (he takes them to Central Park to eat grass) or overeaters on his meager budget. He said he wants to marry an Ethiopian orphan who eats on 6 cents a day, “but don’t worry: I’ll get two.” The crowd roared when he said that he should marry a Palestinian and that their offspring would be “suicide bankers.” “And how do you Southerners do gluten-free with the biscuits?”
  • Marcus said he looks like a cross between Bill Gates and Jerry Lewis. He considers himself nerdy and is often asked to fix computers. His concierge gave him a knife to protect himself on the streets, but “I would only know how to use it if I got attacked by a bagel.”
  • He has mixed feelings about CVS and his health. He doesn’t want to die saving $5 getting a cheap flu shot at the drugstore. Suppose they mistakenly put Windex in his syringe? “And why do they sell regular vs. extra-strength products? Do you want to relieve only a half a headache?”
  • Jewish mothers are the queens of stupid questions, such as waking him up from a nap to ask whether he is hungry. Or “Is that what you are wearing out?” His answer: “No, I’m wearing my tutu, then changing into a gorilla costume in the car.”
  • “Lenny, how do you know your plant is really dead?” “’Cause it left a suicide note next to the gun.”
  • Marcus sparred with a young nephew who is aghast because his Uncle Lenny does not know about Dora the Explorer. His defense: “I know about things you don’t, like colonoscopies, paying taxes, and how to get a psycho chick out of your apartment at 2 a.m.”
  • Marcus is not a Caitlyn Jenner fan. “As I Jew, I believe everyone should live his own life, but a reality show is a money ploy from sitting around watching the Kardashians do nothing. Caitlyn simply out-bitched them.”

Later in a private conversation, Marcus acknowledged “finally” having a girlfriend, but he cautioned: “You never know. It’s early; it might not last. They’re always nice at the beginning.”

The crowd left buoyed on the eve of the High Holiday season. Adrian Grant said, “I thought he was really hysterical.”