Three months after being unceremoniously fired from CNN for calling Jon Stewart a bigot on the radio and suggesting that Jews run the media Rick Sanchez is trying to launch a comeback.
His first stop on the recovery tour took place last night at the Carlebach shul on the Upper West side of Manhattan in the form of a one-on-one with (“America’s Rabbi”) Rabbi Shmuley Boteach in front of a group of about 50 people including myself.
The ‘talk’ lasted nearly two hours and veered from a Shmuley self-promo (‘this reminds me of my latest book”) to Rick Sanchez getting quite emotional (he started crying at one point when speaking about his family and upbringing).
But essentially what it boiled down was summed up by the venerable Shmuley near the end of the talk: “I don’t think you are a prejudiced man. I think you are a phenomenally insecure man.” (For comparison’s sake Shmuley does think Mel Gibson is a anti-Semite.)
And let me tell you, after listening to two hours of Sanchez describe how “once you go outside certain parts of U.S. into other parts of U.S. you will perceive you are not part of the club” and that “Jon is using me as a punching bag. And I took it to heart” and perhaps most revealingly “I don’t like being called dumb. Because I’m not” and also “what I said had nothing to do with Stewart’s Jewishness. I didn’t even know he was Jewish. Just felt (at the time) he was elitist” you couldn’t help come away with the sense this was a man with a huge, insecure, chip on his shoulder.
Perhaps Stewart recognised this also because according to Sanchez when he talked to him the next day Stewart “came straight to the phone” told Sanchez ‘I liked you, you were my favourite.”
Poor Rick. He sounded very sad.
What he didn’t sound was at all defiant, which, honestly might have served him better…pathetic is rarely a good long-term game plan. Though I guess if defiant were Rick’s default mode we would have heard from him before now (I spent part of the night trying to imagine a Shmuley/Glenn Beck ‘talk’…).
Also, you have to imagine he sits at home and listens to all the nonsense frequently spewed on cable TV and talk radio and marvels at how hard the hammer came down on him.
Things did get fiery at the end when a woman named Maxine unleashed on Sanchez saying “You are deeply selfish! This isn’t insecurity this is narcissism of first order.”
Alas, Sanchez did not unleash back.
The audience, it should be noted, was not on Maxine’s side. Neither was Shmuley who stepped in: “‘This is a great chance for you Rick to demonstrate you no longer have a thin skin. Maxine you are being a bit strenuous.”
Maxine was being a bit strenuous.
The night concluded with Shmuley telling us about his new books, which I’m sure you can find via a quick Google search.
Next stop on Sanchez’ recovery tour is reportedly Toledo.
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