Saturday Night Live has had its share of Jewish cast members, and this year is no exception.
Now in her fourth year on the show, Vanessa Bayer has made a name for herself with hilarious impressions of women in the news and original funny characters that she created.
Bayer, 32, grew up in Ohio and attended the University of Pennsylvania. She was a member of the Second City troupe in Chicago and was part of the all-Jewish cast of its stage show Jewsical: The Musical, a musical that presented a comedic take on Jewish life and culture.
One of her regular characters is Jacob the Bar Mitzvah boy, who engages in awkward conversations with news anchor Seth Meyers on SNL's Weekend Update segment.
In an interview with Rolling Stone Magazine, Bayer explained the origin of the character:
The town I grew up in was at least fifty percent Jewish, so every weekend in the 7th grade, we went to Bar and Bat Mitzvahs. It's kind of based on that. A lot of my brother's friends who have seen it think that the gestures I make are based on my brother, which is pretty funny and might be true.
When I started doing standup in college, I just started doing that character. My first year on the show, one of the writers wrote me into a sketch where I played a Bar Mitzvah boy and I got to do it, which was so cool. . . but the whole thing started in my standup. I felt like I had seen that boy so much, and it's so fun to play that little awkward boy who likes to tell dad-style jokes. It's so funny that a little boy that age has to be so formal for an entire weekend.In this segment, broadcast in October, Jacob tries to explain the meaning of Shabbat.
Enjoy! (after a very short commercial)