What is Whoopi Goldberg's real name? Comedian's mom thought birth name wasn't 'Jewish enough'

'People used to say to me, 'You're like a whoopee cushion.' And that's where the name came from,' Goldberg said about how she chose her stage name


                            What is Whoopi Goldberg's real name? Comedian's mom thought birth name wasn't 'Jewish enough'
Goldberg believes that 'religion is a lot of work, it's exhausting' (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images)
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Did you know award-winning comedian Whoopi Goldberg's stage name was derived from a joke toy? Born Caryn Elaine Johnson, the actress goes by the name Whoopi which was derived from the whoopee cushion. "If you get a little gassy, you've got to let it go. So people used to say to me, 'You're like a whoopee cushion.' And that's where the name came from," Goldberg told the New York Times.

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"My mother did not name me Whoopi, but Goldberg is my name, it's part of my family, part of my heritage. Just like being black," the 66-year-old actress told The Jewish Chronicle. Goldberg further added, "I just know I am Jewish​. I practise nothing. I don't go to temple, but I do remember the holidays. Religion is a lot of work, it's exhausting. So I keep it simple, I have a pretty good relationship with God. We talk." Reportedly, Goldberg's mother thought her birth name Johnson wasn't "Jewish enough" for her to make it big.

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"When people heard the name 'Whoopi Goldberg', and then I turned up, I was not what they were expecting. People would ask me in a roundabout way, 'So are you?' And I would say 'What?' And they'd say 'What does your name mean?' And I would say 'Do you mean Whoopi?' And they'd say 'No, the other name.' And then they would say 'Come on, are you Jewish?' And I always say 'Would you ask me that if I was white? I bet not.' The name is wonderful for starting conversations," Goldberg adds.

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The actress came in the news recently after she claimed that genocide was not race-based. "The Holocaust isn't about race. No, it's not about race. It's about man's inhumanity to man." she said on ABC's The View. Political strategist Ana Navarro disagreed with her and said, "Well, it's about white supremacy. That’s what it's about. It's about going after Jews and Gypsies."

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To that Goldberg replied, "But these are two groups of white people. You're missing the point. The minute you turn it into race, it goes down this alley. Let's talk about it for what it is. It's how people treat each other. It's a problem. It doesn't matter if you're black or white because black, white, Jews, Italians, everybody eats each other."


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Goldberg was slammed by the Internet for her comments. Users called her "tone-deaf" and "just plain stupid" following which she issued an apology. The statement read, "On today’s show, I said the Holocaust 'is not about race, but about man's inhumanity to man.' I should have said it is about both. As Jonathan Greenblatt from the Anti-Defamation League shared, 'The Holocaust was about the Nazi’s systematic annihilation of the Jewish people — who they deemed to be an inferior race.' I stand corrected. The Jewish people around the world have always had my support and that will never waiver. I'm sorry for the hurt I have caused. Written with my sincerest apologies, Whoopi Goldberg".

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After her comments, ABC suspended Goldberg for two weeks. Reports say that the executives were furious with her choice of words, and her apology. The official statement from ABC News' president Kim Godwin read, "Effective immediately, I am suspending Whoopi Goldberg for two weeks for her wrong and hurtful comments. While Whoopi has apologized, I've asked her to take time to reflect and learn about the impact of her comments. The entire ABC News organization stands in solidarity with our Jewish colleagues, friends, family and communities."

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