“I feel sorry I’m not Jewish sometimes.”
-Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, The Salt Lake Tribune, Dec. 10, 2009
Fresh from his success with his blockbuster holiday hit, “Eight Days of Hanukkah,” which is now topping the music charts at No. 1, Sen. Orrin Hatch met with reporters today outside the Kol Ami Synagogue and announced that he was officially Jewish. Furthermore, the elderly statesman revealed that he would soon be hitting the road as a Jewish stand-up comic.
Following his surprise announcement, Mr. Hatch—“Call me Henny”—hurried off to his favorite delicatessen for a pastramion-rye with extra pickles. He allowed City Weekly to accompany him, and in a wideranging interview, reflected upon his new career path.
City Weekly: When did you realize you were a Jew?
Henny: I was very young, a long time ago—by the way, I’m so old I was a waiter at the Last Supper—it was when I was a kid and when the sun went down on Friday (the start of the Jewish Sabbath), I had this tremendous hankering for a Hebrew National Hot Dog. But I didn’t say to myself, “Henny—for some reason I always called myself Henny, after my favorite Jewish funny man, Henny Youngman—Henny, you are a Jew through and through, until I heard Barbra Streisand sing that song about people needing people. Even when I got a look at Barbra on her album cover with that big schnozz, I still felt like Barbra was my soul mate, or as we say in Yiddish, my bashert.
CW: Is the transition from Mormon to Jew difficult?
Henny: My rabbi said maybe I should live as a Jew for a whole year before I went all the way. That’s why I always wore a yarmulke. But life is short, so I took the plunge and now I’m happily post-op.
Henny: Yeah, as in, “Rabbi, take my foreskin—please!”
CW: How is your family taking the change?
Henny: Take my wife—please! Seriously, though, I’ve been in love with the same woman for over 50 years now, and if my wife ever finds out, she’ll kill me! Seriously, though, I take my wife everywhere. But she keeps coming back! Just kiddin’! Seriously, I love my wife, and we used to go on romantic weekends to this little hotel where we would get a waterbed. My wife called it the Dead Sea! Hey, speaking of the Dead Sea, I’m so old I went swimming in it when it was still alive!
CW: As a stand-up comic, you will be on the road a lot, working nights. How’s your health?
Henny: My doctor told me I’d live to be 80. I said to him, “I am 80!” So the doc says, “See, what did I tell you!” But seriously, he’s a good doctor. The other day I said, “Doctor, I have a ringing in my ears.” So he says, “Don’t answer.”
CW: Sounds like a smart doctor.
Henny: The best! Last week, I go into his office and say, “Doc, my leg hurts. What can I do?” He goes, “Limp!” But he’s not always right. I get a call from him yesterday, and he’s pretty steamed, telling me my check came back. I answered, “So did my arthritis!” One day he told me, “You’re pregnant.” I say, “How can a man get pregnant?” He says, “The usual way—a little wine, a little dinner ... ” But I wanna tell ya, Jewish doctors are the best! So are Jewish lawyers. I’ve got a great firm representing me.
CW: What’s it called?
Henny: Bernstein, Bernstein, Bernstein and Bernstein.
CW: Very impressive.
Henny: You’re telling me! The other day I had a little legal problem, so I called the office. A guy picks up the phone. “Lemme speak to Mr. Bernstein,” I say. The guy on the other end says, “Mr. Bernstein is on vacation.” I say, “Then lemme speak to Mr. Bernstein.” “He’s on a big case,” comes the answer. “Well, then, lemme speak to Mr. Bernstein.” “Sorry, he’s playing golf today.” “OK, then,” I say, “lemme speak to Mr. Bernstein.” “Speaking.”
CW: Don’t you think you’ll miss politics?
Henny: Not at all. Look at who we got. This Palin gal? Meshugeneh! Her husband told me about their sex life. Her favorite position? Facing Alaska! Hey, and do you know what her idea of foreplay is? Two hours of begging! And have you heard this one ...