Bob Balaban, Sara Gilbert and Emily Halpern

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

Brady's Fans, The Ark, Daily Show Guest Hosts, Grammys

“80 for Brady” opens in theaters on Feb. 3.  It’s based on a real story. Four Boston-area senior women bonded over the fact that they were all fans of Tom Brady, then the New England Patriots star quarterback. Long story short: Brady became aware of the “Brady Club” and he befriended them. A few years ago, he got Paramount to “greenlit” a movie about the group. He produced “80” and he appears in the film as himself.

Four big stars play the club members: Jane Fonda, 85, Rita Moreno, 91, Detroit native Lily Tomlin, 83, and Sally Field, 76. The supporting cast includes BOB BALABAN, 77, and SARA GILBERT, 47.

In case you were wondering: Moreno’s late husband was Jewish (one child), and Field’s (2ND) ex-husband is Jewish (one child).

The screenplay was co-written by EMILY HALPERN, 42. She is a Boston-area native and a Harvard grad. She’s been writing TV shows and films since 2005. Her credits include co-writing the hit film “Booksmart” (2019).

Halpern authored a beautifully-written article comparing her emotions during the height of the pandemic, to her feelings after her “adored” father died while hiking in bad weather.  She was 15 and he was 50.  (To read article, “Google” Halpern and “Modern Loss”). Here’s hoping that “80” is as well-written. Too many comedies about seniors are way too cute. Seniors aren’t pets or toddlers.

“The Ark” premiered on the SyFy cable channel on Feb. 1 (easy to catch-up). It is a 10-episode series set 100 years in the future. It follows the crew of a spacecraft, known as Ark One, who struggle to survive after a catastrophic event kills many crew members and damages the ship.

LISA BRENNER, 48, stars as Commander Susan Ingram. The series was created by DEAN DEVLIN, 60.  Devlin is best known for producing and co-writing the “Independence Day” films, which had major Jewish characters. 

Devlin, the son of a Jewish father and a Filipino mother, is a practicing Jew. Brenner (born Lisa Goldstein) married Devlin in 2003 and they have two children.  Brenner has appeared in many guest shots and in several recurring TV roles.

Trevor Noah decided to stop hosting “The Daily Show” and he left the Comedy Central show on Dec. 8. Since then, guest hosts have taken Noah’s place.  The line-up of guest hosts includes AL FRANKEN, SARAH SILVERMAN, and CHELSEA HANDLER. When Franken will appear hasn’t yet been announced. However, Handler and Silverman’s hosting dates were just released.

Handler, 47, will guest host on Monday, Feb. 6 (11PM) though Thursday, Feb. 9. Silverman,52,will host from Monday Feb. 13 through Thursday, Feb. 16.  If you don’t have Comedy Central, go to Youtube, where the channel posts long Daily Show excerpts.

Interest in the Grammys has declined for decades as have the viewership numbers for the awards ceremony. Of course, every broadcast show has declined in ratings due to competition from streaming channels, etc. But there are many more factors. Too many to list here.

Suffice it to say that the biggest reason is that music market has fragmented. Most people older than, say, 35, don’t even know the names of best-selling musicians anymore. Most fans of one genre (like rap) pay little attention to any other genre.

15 years ago, there were scores of Jewish nominees. That’s not true today and I don’t know all the reasons. No doubt, “the aging” of the Jewish population has a lot to do with this. Popular music popularity is mostly confined to young performers, songwriters, and producers.

That all said, here are some of the Jewish nominees for 2023 Grammys. The ceremony will be broadcast on CBS, on Feb. 5, 8PM.

GREG KURSTIN, 52, is 3x-nominated for three recordings sung by Adele (producer, record of the year and the album of the year; and he co-wrote the song of the year, “Easy on Me”); The Black Keys, featuring DAN AUERBACH, 43, for best rock performance and best rock album. Auerbach’s father was Jewish; rock group Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs for best alternative music album. Their drummer is BRIAN CHASE, 44; (AUBREY) DRAKE, 44, is up for six awards, all in the rap category; JANIS SIEGEL, 70, has been a member of the vocal group Manhattan Transfer since it was founded in 1969. The Transfer is nominated for best jazz vocal album; Asleep at the Wheel for the best “Americana” song performance. The band’s front guy is RAY BENSON, 71; and MEL BROOKS, 96, for best audio book---reading “All About Me!: My Remarkable Life in Show Business.”


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