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Scatting in Yiddish at Radio City Music Hall: Billy Crystal’s “Mr. Saturday Night” Tony Awards Performance

By Jewish Arts Collaborative

Published Oct 24, 2022

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Yiddish Scatting at the Tony Awards

(5 min) In a hilarious, joyous shtick in which he “parted the Red Sea” of the audience for an “Oy! Vey!” call-and-response, Billy Crystal embodied Ella Fitzgerald’s iconic jazz styling to “scat” in Yiddish(ish) on stage at the 75th Annual Tony Awards. The Jewish funny-man is back on Broadway as Buddy Young Jr. in Mr. Saturday Night, based on his 90s movie of the same name.

Pro tip: Start the video at the 1:10 mark.

Listen to the "Mr. Saturday Night" Broadway cast album

If you don’t mind spoilers before taking the trip to see the musical on stage, take a listen to the Broadway Cast album. Songs like “Buddy’s First Act” are filled to the brim with Jewish humor, and we can’t get enough of wonderfully talented Jewish actress Shoshana Bean.

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JArts’ mission is to curate, celebrate, and build community around the diverse world of Jewish arts, culture, and creative expression. Our vision is of a more connected, engaged, and tolerant world inspired by Jewish arts and culture. Learn more at jartsboston.org.

Reflections

Oy vey! Yiddish in the mainstream?

What does Yiddish typically look like when it spills into mainstream pop culture? Where?

Keeping it jazzy

How do you feel about the Yiddish/jazz scatting crossover? Do the styles lend well to each other? Can you think of any other mashups of music stylings that you enjoy?

     

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