In defense of the Fat Jew

NEW YORK - June 3, 2014. For Features. The fat Jew, Fabrizio Goldstein in his Chelsea neighborhood.(photo by Tamara Beckwith/NY Post).

NEW YORK – June 3, 2014. For Features. The fat Jew, Fabrizio Goldstein in his Chelsea neighborhood.(photo by Tamara Beckwith/NY Post).

I’ve had a bunch of people ask me about this so I figured I’d write a whole post about it. Give the people (those three people who asked) what they want.
This week has been a rough one for the Fat Jew. If you’re on social media, you’re probably familiar the man. His Instagram and Twitter are followed by millions. He’s known for posting hilarious Memes and tweeting subversive and funny one liners. If you don’t know who he is, you’re probably confused and wondering why I’m calling someone a fat jew. Rest easy, my thin skinned friend, that is a self given moniker by the NYC born and bred Manhattanite of jewish descent. His name has been building steam for years and, finally, in the age of internet backlash, his time has come.
Gawker dropped this article:
Writers and comedians everywhere were quick to step up to the plate and take their swings at the Fat Jew. It’s was an all out lambasting.

Now, I’m not here to say fat jew doesn’t steal jokes. Cause, on twitter and instagram, he certainly does. But, there are two things people are overlooking

1)Instagram accounts like his (and “fuck Jerry”) are here for entertainment purposes. You can look at them as curators of the bowels of the internet. Soooooo many accounts just post meme’s they found on the internet. These two just happen to be the two biggest accounts that do that on the planet. As someone who also tends to post funny pics I find on the internet on instagram, it’s all for fun. Better that then picture of you stupid fucking cat or a sunset. Add a funny caption and there you go!  At least Fat Jew does write captions (unlike “Fuck Jerry” who typically just posts pics with no caption. The fact he seems to be avoiding the brunt of this heat is kind of amazing). So, if he’s out trolling the internet for funny pics all day and posts one, he’s just doing exactly what 1000’s of other less successful instagram accounts do. The difference being, he’s famous. And, contrary to popular belief, he does give often credit to the source. How do I know? Cause he’s taken pics I’ve posted and given me credit. Pics, I might add, that I didn’t take and that I found on the internet. It’s a vicious cycle, I know.
Also, how is this a new thing? I don’t think the man has ever made any bold claims that he’s a functional meme factory , creating all original content. In fact, every thing I’ve ever read about him refers to him finding all his pics on the internet. So, no, he’s not sitting there with photoshop and creating 20 meme’s a day. No one is. But he knows where to go to find the best ones. Now, I’m not a “meme” guy on my account. I prefer finding outlandish pics and writing a funny caption. But is that so different? It’s all found material. Kinda reminds me of sampling, in a way. I’d bet that, when he has a source he can credit he does. When it’s just some random pic he found on reddit? The original source is not going to be that easy to track down and, honestly, I doubt he cares that much to search.

2)Now, his twitter/facebook joke stealing, I can’t really defend. From what I see, it’s real. I fully understand how this would infuriate anyone involved , as well as other comedians and writers in general. Hell, some of the people going at him are some of my favorite comedians. All I can lend that too is that he’s lazy on twitter. At the same time he doesn’t rely on either of those mediums nearly as much as he does instagram. It’s the lesser of his outlets for sure. Doesn’t make it okay but, I dunno people are acting like he’s never had an original thought in his life. Which is total bullshit. Regardless, the comedian backlash has been heavy and bitter. It’s to the point where I can say a comedian making a joke about Fat jew being a fraud is somewhat hack. Having been someone who’s followed him for years (and known him personally since he was just a rapper in “Team Facelift“) If the fat jew is one thing, it’s a funny person. He’s always been funny. You run into him on the street, and he’s riffing some ridiculous shit that only comes from his brain. In person, he’s one of the quickest witted people I’ve ever met. When he does write his own stuff, it’s always on point and has a very specific voice. He’s a naturally funny person. He’s not Carlos Mencia. He’s not Carrot Top. At the same time, he’s not a comedian. There is a difference. His “bits” don’t work in the construct. He’s never stood on stage and told jokes. His humor often comes from reacting to people and basic human interaction.

My buddy Evil and him had a short lived public access show on Manhattan cable for a few year back in the mid 2000’s. On this show they would take calls from various random new york lunatics, most of whom lived in washington heights and simply yelled out their crew names, called them both “white boy faggots!” and hung up. Now, this may not sound like entertainment but, trust me, it was must watch tv every week. Why? Cause Fat jew is a extremely astute and quick dude (So is Evil , btw, but this isn’t about him). His live banter with strangers and Evil, was great. He’s a guy who very much has his own brand of humor. It’s self depreciating, overtly NYC and weird. i wish I could find clips but, somehow, they have alluded the internet. That’s a feat in itself, honestly.

So, basically, my point is this: let him live. If you don’t like his social media ethics, then unfollow him. If you’re a comedian who is salty about his success, more power to you. If he took a tweet from you and didn’t give you credit, by all means, call him out. But to take all this and immediately strip him of being a funny person is not fair and not true. I haven’t known him for my whole life and we aren’t close friends. We’re friendly acquaintances who have been around each other for probably 10-15 years. That said, I’ve always respected the guy and he’s always been a good dude in general. But, most of all, he’s always been genuinely funny. He’s not a joke stealing sociopath. If anything, he’s got a brand he’s constantly pushing to stay popular. I think he knows that instagram and twitter are outlets to keep his name out there. But the real creative stuff he does is in writing TV show pilots and simply being himself in front of a microphone and camera. All the social media is a stepping stone towards that. It’s extra. Sure, instagram made him really famous but it’s never been something I’ve looked at as more than just recreational bullshit for him. A few years back him and his writing partner Jonny Sollis made a few trailers for show ideas they had. This was in the era of “The Hills” and “Laguna beach”. Well, they were fucking awesome. THIS is the type of stuff he’s meant to be doing. And I just hope this corny backlash doesn’t make that impossible for him.

So, To summarize,
Does fat jew take meme’s of the internet: Yes. Like 1000’s of others. In fact, it’s safe to say he’s the grandfather of that brand of instagram account.
Does he steal jokes on twitter: 100% and he should be ashamed of himself.
But, is he a truly funny guy with talent: absolutely.
yeah, that’s my take. Keep your head up, fatty.

22 thoughts on “In defense of the Fat Jew

    • You don’t read well do you? My entire point is that, regardless of what he does as a social networking superstar, he’s still a funny guy. Sure, because I’ve seen it first hand I feel obligated to stand up for him but I knew he was funny before I even knew him. He’s always been funny. ALso, If you read it, I don’ condone the twitter joke thievery. That’s not something I can defend. But, still, people only see things in black and white and ton of bitter, butthurt comedy people are lashing out like it’s a witch hunt. Even that I get. In their eyes, he’s an unproven hack. But I’m willing to bet they haven;t delved particularly deep into what he does. ESPECIALLY outside of twitter and instagram.
      Honestly, Fuck Jerry should be the one getting roasted cause he doesn’t do anything but steal tweets and re-use memes.

  1. Hey, why do you think Team Facelift never took off? FatJew was funny as hell and that Karim dude had skills… Same producer as the first Action Bronson album as well. “Sexual Perversions” was my shit… the seemed to disappear after they got signed to duckdown though… too bad more people didnt hear them

    • I think they’re timing was off by a few years. Had the come out later, they mighta had a chance. Also, they ended up switching up styles and doing more dancey club type shit and I don’t think people cared.

      • Man I just looked up some of their songs after the first album/mixtape and saw their club stuff.. yeah, I can kind of see what you’re talking about. Didn’t even know they went that route!

  2. I totally could see why people would be upset about the other thing but I don’t understand why people have been mad about the meme thing on Instagram. Isn’t that the entire point of a meme and in the very definition of the word, to copy and spread stuff around? Maybe I’m missing something..

  3. Also, I’ve seen a little bit of his twitter and instagram stuff before. With his instagram pics I never once thought that he created them himself but with his twitter, you tend to automatically assume that those are thoughts from one’s head.

  4. I think comics are especially sensitive to “joke stealing,” and the Twitter thing is indefensible (being “lazy” is like saying you are ignorant of law….it’s no excuse), but the really interesting thing here is that this is yet another example of the internet’s wild west code of ethics. Just as Instagram features meme aggregates, Twitter and other platforms get lumped in with a general “I don’t care as long as it entertains me” attitude of propriety. The fact that The Fat Jew got picked up by CAA, has millions of followers, and has had multiple pilots in the making might make certain people ask about just what he has done to garner all this attention (and money, I might add). Writing is a tough gig to earn money at, but it’s also a reputation based thing. “Oh yeah, I know that guy,” is a huge part of success for writers, comedians, and other introverted forms of entertainment (I know comedians perform, but they are moody, fucked up, and write a lot). I’m not here to say whether The Fat Jew seems funny—his Soul Cycle class for the homeless was a brilliant idea, but as a performative art more than a comedy piece, and his web series’ have been dedicated but hit-or-miss with more miss–but his biggest claims to fame are off the backs of others, sort of speak, and so I do find it hard not to think he messed up being so cavalier with his aggregations. That said, I have met in more than once, and he’s a nice guy, and in my gut I feel bad for him getting hit so hard (it’s the way of the culture now). Still, he definitely made some mistakes we should atone for with more than just a shout-out in all future posts.

    • I just think what’s being overlooked here is that he has been writing and a funny person for a long time. He’s had pilot deals for years. Those things fall through all the time. His Comedy Central deal was dead months before this whole outrage happened. It’s the nature of the business.

  5. The Twitterverse went apeshit on him, and that’s the sensitivity level of Twitter. Many times in Hashtag games people come up with the same phrase, but that is more in the vein of “great minds think alike.” Overt plagiarism is a totally different story.

    Fat Jew may be a funny guy. If his style of comedy is not marketable, yet people see a false representation of his humor because they think the plagiarized bits are his, they might find him more palatable and then he profits from others’ uncredited work.

    Comedians are highly sensitive about others stealing their work, and the producers of Twitter comedy above the Hashtag level feel the same way.

  6. Come on man – dude jacked other people’s jokes, that’s exactly what Mencia did. I don’t care if you’re an aggregate, but at least give credit. Why even publicly get behind this guy? I guess you got to take care of your own.

    • No, I’m not defending what he did. He can do that himself. My entire point is that, regardless of all this shit and the insane bitter comedian witch hunt that is following it, he is and always has been a funny person. Like, as a dude, in real life. Quick witted, original and natural. That’s what’s getting lost in this cause all the people pointing fingers at him only know him as an instagram person. For those of us who’ve been following/known him beyond that, there’s way more to him than that.

      • I get what you’re saying man, but I think you’re too close. There are a million people who are quick witted and natural, but they all don’t get paid like this guy. Its like when people defend a steroid user in sports – “Yeh, but they still had talent and put in all the hard work…and everyone else is doing it too!” True, but you cheated (definition – gaining an advantage unfairly) and got caught, now you’re stained. That’s how it goes.

        Honestly, why wasn’t this dude smarter? He didn’t think people would start to speak up? Is his ego that fucking big?

      • meme’s and instagram are common. I feel like all the people who are mad don’t understand how instagram works. EVERYONE does that shit. His whole angle of being a “curator” is valid as fuck. ESPECIALLY on instagram. And, outside of some advertisements, he’s made all his money on original content. Something everyone who’s upset at this seems to be overlooking or unaware of.
        Being mad at someone getting paid is some petty shit. For those writers and comedians, tough break. If nothing else, put your head down and work harder. People who judge other by what they’re getting vrs. what they’re not getting are fucking cornballs who don’t really deserve success.

  7. This whole topic feels both fascinating and exhausting to me, I can’t decide!

    The one thing that maybe seems the most ridiculous is anyone who thought his instagram meme posts were original. Why would you think that?

  8. My dude, being mad that someone is getting paid off your back is some petty shit? What are these people supposed to be like, “Yeh man just take my hard work, you’re THE FAT JEW, here take my money and recognition…oh and maybe my girl can suck your cock while I eat your asshole…because you are THE FAT JEW.” Smarten up man, you sound out of touch.

    • It’s the internet, bro! You put shit out there for free, it’s out there. IT’s not like he’s a stand up taking another guys bit. You know how many mixtapes have been made from my throwaway beats? Fat jew wasn’t thinking “I’mma steal these jokes and make money off them!”. He never claimed that even remotely. should he have given credit when he was aware of a source? Sure. But, again, it’s the internet. Good luck finding the true origin of a meme. He had given plenty of people credit before this ever happened. If nothing else, this whole thing will force him to be more diligent about finding his sources and giving them credit. People are acting like it was some diabolical plan on his part to get rich off other peoples jokes. That’s insane. It’s funny to me cause it’s so fucking obvious. Anyone who’s even the slightest bit internet savvy could look at his instagram (as well as the 1000’s other just like it that he most likely inspired) and know it wasn’t original material. He didn’t set out to make money of instagram. But if people start giving you money for that, would you turn it down? come on, now you sound out of touch. This wasn’t a master plan. Blame the people giving him the money. Boycott those things.

      Fat Jew jas been branding himself before twitter was even a thing. His humor is way more than a meme about kanye or a funny tweet by some struggling comedian. I get why the writers/comedians would be mad at him over it but it’s not like that one instagram post is making anyone money. It’s just one of thousands.
      I also am someone who’s made a career out of sampling so Im gonna be sympathetic to the whole concept.
      Again, how “Fuck jerry” had come out of this unscathed and Fat Jew is getting shit on is beyond me.

      • You know Blockhead, I was just thinking of that, why “Fuck Jerry” hasn’t received the same backlash.* The only reason I can think of is that the @thefatjewish handle is the same as his moniker whereas the @fuck.jerry handle is not the same (I think he goes by Elliot Tebele). Does that make sense?

        * I wonder how many distinct viral news stories have been associated with the word “backlash” this year? It is clearly THE standout word from 2015, for better or for worse.

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