Sean Altman is 6-foot-3. That makes him taller — much taller — than Jesus, as he likes to say. "Taller Than Jesus" is, in fact, the title track to an album of what Altman calls "unkosher comedy songs" that he performs in his comedic concert, "Jewmongous!"
Altman is Jewish, but non-observant. "Well, I call myself an observant Jew," he says, "In that, I like to observe other Jews." Altman was the lead singer in the 1990s acapella group, Rockapella. The group's song, "Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?", was the title music for the beloved PBS children's geography show of the same name.
Nevertheless, Altman felt a tug back toward his cultural roots when a rabbi once approached him with an assignment. "Mr. Altman, I'm a huge fan of Rockapella and your music," the rabbi said. "I know that you're Jewish, but you never reference your Jewishness in your songs. I would like you to write a song that tells the story of Pesach."
Altman replied: "Rabbi, I'm so grateful and so honored for this assignment. What's Pesach?"
It's Passover. And it gave rise to Altman's first satirical Jewish song, "They Killed Us. We Survived. Let's Eat."
That's the schtick in "Jewmongous!" Altman plays the Jew who isn't very Jewish, whose ignorance is both laughable and edgy. As one reviewer put it, "Jewmongous!" is "part of a new breed of Jewish hipster comedy that includes Jon Stewart, Sacha Baron Cohen, Sarah Silverman and Heeb Magazine."
This program aired on December 22, 2011.