Yesterday, New York Magazine published an interview with the beleaguered social media celebrity Josh Ostrovsky, better known to millions of Instagram users as The Fat Jew. Since signing with the renowned talent agency CAA, Ostrovsky has found himself under attack, seemingly from all corners of the internet, for claims of plagiarism, hucksterism, and general awfulness. Comedy Central cancelled development of Orstrovsky’s pilot in response to the backlash, and sales of White Girl Rosé, his brand of wine made exclusively for insufferable basic idiots, have plummeted. As someone who knows Josh personally, I cannot express how troubling the past week has been for me, or for the 33-year-old adult who purposefully refers to himself as The Fat Jew.
I first met Josh Ostrovsky during my sophomore year at NYU, in William Ruddick’s Introduction to Metaphysics lecture. I was struck immediately by Josh’s intelligence, his theories about ontology and his outgoing personality. I’d never met anyone quite like him; I don’t think I have since. When he was expelled from NYU for plagiarism, as he’d been expelled from Skidmore for plagiarism, and would later be expelled from SUNY Albany for plagiarism, I was one of the first people to sign a petition to have him reinstated. (That he was never allowed back is a stain on an otherwise ethically pristine university.) As a friend of Josh, I was obviously upset about the leading questions in the New York interview, how they painted him as an utterly nauseating piece of human dog shit, instead of the super great guy he actually is. I invited him to do another interview to set the record straight, and he was gracious enough to accept. Sincerest thanks to Josh for his time and conversation. Follow The Fat Jew on Instagram by clicking here.
Josh Ostrovsky, aka The Fat Jew, why are you the fucking worst?
The internet is a jacuzzi of effluvia. It’s so important that people understand that. Basically, I’m the trans-dimensional sun of the Instagram multiverse. Because disconnect. Because rosé. Because plus-sized modeling. I’m a curator and a commentator, but neither of those things is my focus. This is my performance art.
Do you ever think you’ve stolen a joke?
Never intentionally. (Translation: yes.) My squad of unpaid interns finds most of my shit while I bathe in a tub full of orecchiette pasta, so I can’t see why anyone would think that the unattributed intellectual property I post on my enormously popular social media account would be produced by me, the sole owner of the account, a 33-year-old shirtless man-child who calls himself The Fat Jew.
Do you consider yourself a comedian?
Who can say? My whole personality isn’t funny at all–it’s actually scary, if you think about it. Like I’m just this spoiled asshole who grew up rich in New York and had everything handed to him his entire life, so I think everything belongs to me simply because it exists. I’m so hollow and dead inside that if you hollered into my mouth the sound would echo for all of eternity. Tweeting gets people talking. I love discourse.
Who are some of your comedic influences?
Let me answer your question with a question: is my hair fuckin’ crRrAaAzZYy or what?
(Fat Jew spins his man-bun, like a helicopter propellor, for five straight minutes.)
You once shared David Cross’s personal phone number with your Twitter followers. The fuck is wrong with you?
Money. Pizza. Respect.
Money? Pizza? Respect?
The internet is a hot tub of detritus. It’s a gyre of curated cool. I give a lot of fucks.
What does any of that have to do with money, pizza, or respect?
(Maintaining eye contact, Fat Jew gives his man-bun one slow, ponderous spin.)
Will you ever apologize to the comedians you’ve stolen from?
Apologies are just an internet of super jacuzzis, if you think about it. Kanye memes aren’t a fungible commodity. Basically, I’m the sheriff of Instagram Deadwood. It’s like when I got all those homeless people to take a SoulCycle class together.
You mean inhumane and offensive and spiritually bankrupt?
It’s a matter of logistics, bro. It’s like that quote I came up with last night, “With great power, comes great responsibility.” Instagram is power. I have the Instagram, I have the power. Donald Trump. Naps. Netflix. Am I right?
No. You’re wrong. You may the wrongest person ever to breathe a breath.
Again, I’m a performance artist. I hold in my hands the power of ten thousand teen trolls. All of my interns are trilingual in emoji. I’ve surfed the Twitter tsunami on the back of the Snapchat ghost more times than I can count.
While we’re on the subject, how high can you count?
Not a number.
Who can say what is and is not a number? Who can say who “owns” jokes?
Mathematicians. The comedians who write them.
I’m sort of basically a Renaissance man of culture af. Bae is naps. Pizza is Netflix. Ukrainian tweenagers and, by the way, Monster Energy drinks. It’s like I told Katie Kouric, “Life is a hodgepodge of jacuzzi whirlpools internets.” RT?
Damn straight, bazinga. Any other questions?
What would you say to people who consider your entire existence a malignant, pus-belching tumor on the soul of American culture?
If you’re one of the fools who think that, I’ve got three words for you: this is my performance art. And respect.