Meet the Orthodox Jewish mom who will make you blush with edgy comedy
Meet Talia Reese, the Orthodox woman who is one of the edgiest comedians around. She’s also a lawyer and mom – showing us that she’s more than capable of not only wearing many hats, but mixing the worlds of offbeat comedy, motherhood, and Orthodox Judaism together.
Reese’s comedy has been getting a lot of traction lately – she was featured in the NY Post, where she explained how Shabbat gives her structure to her life, saying, “I could be at clubs all night on Thursday, but by Friday the family will have a home-cooked meal for Shabbat dinner and we’re all at the table, saying a blessing over the challah, channeling my roots.”
Reese, who lives in Great Neck, NY, is the mom of two young daughters and wife to a fellow lawyer. Luckily, I was able to speak with Reese about what surprises her about being a mom, what it’s like being a comedian and Orthodox mom, and what her biggest pet peeve is.
How do you balance your comedy (which is rather raunchy) with being an Orthodox mom? Is it hard for you?
My life doesn’t have a lot of balance. At night, I’m out doing comedy – and in the morning, I’m dragging myself out of bed to get my girls to school on time. I love the contrast, though – going from working with a bunch of foulmouthed comics at night to serving lunch in my daughter’s school the next day with the other Yeshiva moms.
I love Judaism and am committed to an observant lifestyle. But I will also say whatever I think is funny on stage. Of course, if I’m performing at an Orthodox Jewish event or a shul dinner, my act is tailored to please that crowd. And when I’m at a club, no holds barred.
What was/is surprising to you about being a mom?
The whole thing is surprising. First, I was surprised that I was pregnant. Then I was surprised that being a mom completely takes over your life for a few years. Luckily, once the kids turned 5, they started raising themselves. The things that surprise me now that they’re a little older are the ways that I have become a “typical Jewish mother.” Like the most interesting thing to me is what they ate that day. And I overdress them for the weather constantly. I don’t eat or dress myself right, but I’m all over them.
If you could be anyone or anything, just for one day, what would you be?
My husband, so I could finally achieve the satisfaction I deserve in the bedroom.
What was your favorite children’s book or young adult novel growing up?
I admit when I was a preteen I obsessively read Danielle Steele novels. But my favorite children’s book was and still is The Giving Tree.
What TV show have you binge watched?
There have been more than I’m proud to admit, but my latest solo binge-fest is Netflix’s The Crown.
Who are you, in one sentence?
I’m a hip old granny who can hip-hop, bebop, dance ’til ya drop and yo yo, make a wicked cup of cocoa – oh wait that’s Mrs. Doubtfire. Me? I’m a lover of life, family, spirituality and I see jokes everywhere, even in dark situations.
Biggest pet peeve:
Supermarket lines. I always manage to wind up behind someone with a declined credit card. Either that, or I’m the person with the declined card.
If you were a Jewish holiday, which one would you be?
Yom Kippur. Because I’m always apologizing to someone and trying to avoid carbs.
What’s the best thing about yourself? What’s the worst?
I am extremely friendly and outgoing so I’ve always had a diverse range of friendships. My worst quality is probably that I’m not the most patient person, and I’m really hard on myself. Wait that’s two things. Maybe I should get back to you. But I’m a procrastinator, so I probably won’t. Whoops! That’s three.
As a kid, I acted in all the school plays and wanted to be a star on Broadway.
This article was originally published on Kveller a thriving online community of women and parents who share, their experiences of raising kids through a Jewish lens. Visit Kveller.com.