A comedian known for her expletive-laced rants proved a surprising hit at a country club fund-raiser for the MetroWest UJA Campaign.
Susie Essman, who plays the foulmouthed Susie Greene on HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, shpritzed 350 attendees at the UJA Club Nite, held June 2 at Crestmont Country Club in West Orange.
“The United Jewish Appeal. We’re appealing. But everybody hates us,” she joked. “I’ve played at every Jewish country club and they all look alike. All of you look alike.”
Then she barraged the roomful of donors with jokes about sexual performance.
Noting that one woman was married to “a big strapping buck,” Essman told her, “I’ll bet he’s not a Jew.”
“He’s half,” she replied.
“Which half?” asked the comedian, and the audience roared.
In a question-and-answer session, Essman spoke of her long friendship with Larry David, Curb Your Enthusiasm’s star and creator and Jerry Seinfeld’s main collaborator on Seinfeld.
“Everyone loved her,” said Julie Rosenberg, the UJA Campaign assistant director who coordinated the event. “The people knew what they were getting, and we wanted someone who would bring in the younger members.”
The dinner was a departure for the campaign in another way. In years past, UJA breakfasts and golf tournaments have been held at a number of area country clubs, including Crestmont, Green Brook in North Caldwell, Cedar Hill in Livingston, and Mountain Ridge in West Caldwell.
“We thought this one event would have been in place of them,” said Rosenberg. “But the clubs didn’t want to give up their breakfasts, so we ended up planning lower-cost breakfasts and put the energy and money into this event.”
Although no figures were released as to the actual pledges and donations received, outgoing UJA Campaign chair Scott Krieger said the new tactic appeared to have paid off.
“As a community-building event I thought it was great,” he said. “We’ve had a hard time energizing some of the club people in the past few years, and I think we were able to do that. It will make it easier to get people out next year.”