Alex Edelman, Mel Brooks and Jerry Seinfeld

Nate Bloom blogs on this week's Jews in the News.


Being a Jew; Another "Nasty" Hip Clothier; Superman, Preview? More


This week, I am catching-up with two HBO programs that recently began streaming: “ALEX EDELMAN: Just for Us” (April 6) and “Brandy Hellville & The Cult of Fast Fashion” (April 9).

EDELMAN, a stand-up comedian, was born and raised in a Modern Orthodox home in the Boston area. After high school, he spent a year in a Jerusalem yeshiva and, while there, he co-founded the city’s first comedy club. After college, be toured his stand-up act in the States, in Australia, and in the U.K. (Brit audiences really love him!)

In 2022, his one-man play, “Just for Us”, opened off-Broadway. It moved to a Broadway house in 2023. In both venues he got good reviews. After the N. Y. run, he toured the show in many cities. He got plaudits from big-name comedians, including Steve Martin, MEL BROOKS, and JERRY SEINFELD.

“Just For Us” (the play and the HBO special) focuses on the true story of how Edelman attended a white nationalist meeting in New York City, but without revealing that he was Jewish.

 In a panel interview of comedians last October, Edelman said: “Rabbi JONATHAN SACKS said, ‘the only cure for antisemitism is to communicate to people the experience of being Jewish.’ And so [I wrote “Just for Us”], I really wanted to try and do this specific type of outreach and let people know what it’s like to a Jew. But, yeah, there’s the hook of the Nazi thing.”

“Brandy” is a documentary about Brandy Melville (‘BM’), an Italian retail clothing company (130 stores; 40 in the U.S.). BM was founded by Silvio Marsan, an Italian, and it’s now run by Stephen Marsan, his son.

BM has “modeled” itself to have a “Malibu” hip feeling and it caters to young women and teen girls who are slim, pretty, and white. BM doesn’t have traditional advertisements—they use social media postings and they pay celebs to wear their clothes.

Most BM clothes only come in one size (small or smallish medium). Credible reports say that BM limits sizes because they don’t want overweight shoppers in their stores. They also don’t put out the welcome mat for black customers.

BM, I guess, doesn’t care if good-looking, white, young Jews shop in their stores. However, last year “The Daily Beast” reported that the top execs of BM (including Stephen Marsan) have “group joke times” and the big favorites are jokes about Adolf Hitler and the Holocaust.

HBO says this about the “Brandy” documentary: “Through a calculated social media presence and an unattainable aesthetic, Brandy Melville has become the must-have clothing brand for teens. Behind the scenes, however, a toxic work environment and discriminatory recruiting methods have flourished.”

The film was directed by EVE ORNER, 50. She now lives in Los Angeles, but was born and raised in Australia. She went to a Jewish school for her pre-college education and she’s a graduate of Monash Univ., a prestigious Australian school named after a Jewish WWI general.

Orner won (2008) an Oscar as the producer of “Taxi to the Dark Side”, a “doc” about Afghanistan. Her other films include “Chasing Asylum”, a highly-lauded documentary about Australia’s treatment of refugees. She directed “Chasing”.

On Friday, April 12, Hulu premieres “The Greatest Hits”, an original film. I read reviews of the film and I am still confused about parts of the movie’s plot. Suffice it to say that a woman named Harriett can magically go back into her past when she hears a song from that past time. She may or may not be able to change the past and bring her deceased boyfriend (magically alive) to the present.

Watch it for one reason: DAVID CORENSWET, 30, plays the boyfriend. Now filming is a big budget movie entitled “Superman” (opens next year). Corenswet was picked out of relative obscurity to play Superman. If he is good as a love interest in “Greatest Hits”, he’ll likely be a hit as Superman.

"Don’t Tell Mom, the Babysister’s Dead”, which opens in theaters on Apr. 12, is a black comedy. It’s a re-make of the hit 1991 film of the same name.

The re-make cast is mostly African-American. An exception is JUNE SQUIBB, who has a large part. Remarkably, she is 94 and still working. In 2016, still she got a best supporting Oscar nomination (“Nebraska”). Squibb converted to Judaism in the ‘50s and still identifies as Jewish.


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