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The 8 Best Jewish Quotes from Broad City’s “Lost and Found”

The sixth episode in the final season of Broad City is a Jewish gold mine. Oof, maybe I shouldn’t put it like that. Let me try again. This episode of Broad City provides a wealth of Jewish material. Ok, maybe I should abandon this train of thought. Anyway, “Lost and Found” has so many great Jewish jokes and references that I feel the best way to talk about it is by sharing a curated list of my favorite quotes. Spoilers ahead!

First, let me provide you with a quick synopsis of the episode: Ilana finds out, through a DNA test called “Genes and Me,” that she’s related to a Manhattan-based Holocaust survivor, Saul, so she and Abbi go to visit him in his assisted living facility. Despite the woman at the front desk telling them not to leave the building with Saul, they break him out for a day of fun in NYC. After some shoe-shopping and a drag brunch complete with a special appearance by Alan Cumming, Saul wanders off, leaving Abbi and Ilana in a panic. They set out to find him, but keep getting distracted by things like babka and whitefish salad, a clothing sale, and even a Holocaust museum. Eventually they go back to the assisted living facility to report Saul missing, and are told that he always goes to Ikea when he breaks out. The two head to Ikea, and sure enough, find Saul. If you haven’t watched this episode yet, I highly recommend it. My brief, frenetic summary doesn’t do it justice.

And now, my favorite quotes:

Abbi: “I’m 100% Jewish.”
Abbi’s Girlfriend: “Well you are funny.”

If you’re not a regular Broad City viewer, you might not have the full context behind this line: It’s a running joke throughout the series that people don’t believe Abbi’s Jewish. But you don’t need this background to understand the implication here that funniness is proof of Jewishness. It’s undeniable, Jewish women are funny! From Joan Rivers to Sarah Silverman, from Gilda Radner to Amy Schumer, there’s no shortage of Jewesses with jokes.

Ilana: “My ‘Genes and Me’ results came. I am 100% Ashkenazi Jew.”
Ilana’s mom: “No shit. Ever seen a mirror?”

I first want to say that not all Jews look alike, and there’s no one way to look Jewish. Jews come in all colors, shapes, and sizes, and I wouldn’t want to perpetuate the myth that we’re all short white girls with curly brown hair. But....a lot of us are short white girls with curly brown hair (myself included), so I did laugh at this. I think what’s actually funniest about this isn’t what Ilana’s mom Bobbi said, but rather her obvious annoyance that Ilana would give away her DNA just to find out something that, to her, seems so obvious.

Ilana: “I just found out that I have the richest history a millennial Jew can have. I’m related to a Holocaust survivor.”

As the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors myself—not to brag—I can personally attest to the pride that comes with this family history, and how it’s met with very palpable reverence both within and outside of the Jewish community. Ilana seems to be referencing that here, and is nothing short of elated when she discovers this piece of information.You have to admit, that’s just a little bit funny.

I feel like this is a good time for me to say that as someone with survivor grandparents who’s also a Holocaust scholar, I don’t think the Holocaust is funny, and I’m not trying to make light of it. For me, humor has always been a helpful way to cope with very serious matters, including this history. If that’s not for you, I respect that, and also suggest that you stop reading at this point, because more Holocaust-related jokes are a-comin.

Abbi: “I could be related to a Holocaust survivor, too.”
Ilana: “Who, a guard?”

No explanation needed for this one—it’s just funny.

Abbi: “We’re just following orders.”
Ilana’s Holocaust survivor 16th cousin, Saul: “I’ve heard that one before.”

This isn’t the first show to make a joke like this about “following orders,” but what’s extra funny about it here is that Saul uses his response to guilt-trip Ilana and Abbi into busting him out of his assisted living facility. It does make me wonder: Is this a regular occurrence in Jewish elder-care homes?

Abbi: “Where would a Holocaust survivor go?”
Abbi and Ilana together: “Zabar’s!”

Again, this is just funny. I do want to add that when Abbi and Ilana arrive at Zabar’s, this quote is followed by, “Head for the mayo-based salads!” Broad City is a widely-beloved show that just happens to have been created by two Jews, but I think I speak for many of my fellow tribe members when I say that touches like this—that are really just for us—are much appreciated. Just sayin’ that representation matters.

Ilana: “So what’s up with the Ikea fetish, Saul?”
Saul: “Well, when I escaped from the camp, I wound up in Sweden. Those people, the Swedish people, they were so good to me, and their furniture was so elegant.”

This is actually a very sweet, poignant moment in the episode. Saul always goes to Ikea when he breaks out of his assisted living facility because it’s comforting—a reminder of the safe haven he found after experiencing unspeakable horrors. I personally laughed out loud at the bit at the end about Swedish furniture. We are still watching a comedy, after all.

Ilana: “Now I know that being Jewish is about being resilient—having the strength to survive the Holocaust, perpetual exile, as well as being able to carry a Stag table to the parking lot of Ikea at 91 years old.”

At the beginning of the episode, Ilana wanted to find a connection between Saul’s past trauma and her own struggles with anxiety (as part of her application essay for a graduate program in psychology), but she walked away with the above takeaway instead. And she’s right! Being resilient is just as much a part of the Jewish experience and identity as the history of our oppression. Oftentimes there’s too much emphasis placed on our suffering, and not nearly enough on our remarkable survival through the ages. In short, we’re still here, bitches!

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1 Comment

Reading this is going to be the best part of my day.  I don't know anything about this show, but I laughed all the way through the article.  I am not directly related to any Holocaust victims, but my grandmother experienced the Russian pogroms.  Can that count?  Sometimes dark humor works.  
Thanks.

Broad City Lost and Found
Full image
Screen-cap from Broad City, Season 5, Episode 6, “Lost and Found.” Credit: Comedy Central.
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How to cite this page

Klebe, Larisa. "The 8 Best Jewish Quotes from Broad City’s “Lost and Found” ." 11 March 2019. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on March 26, 2019) <https://jwa.org/blog/8-best-jewish-quotes-from-broad-city-lost-and-found>.

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