Jews in the News: Amy Schumer, Bernie Sanders and Dave Franco

Baumbach’s New Movie and Colbert’s Premiere Week Guests

Director/screenwriter NOAH BAUMBACH, 45, has made eight, mostly well-reviewed films (including “The Squid and the Whale” and “Margo’s Wedding”) that have focused on the problems of hip urbanites. While they contain some funny lines, these flicks could hardly be called comedies.  So it’s a pleasant surprise that his ninth flick, “Mistress America,” which has got critical raves, is a screwball comedy harkening back to the Carole Lombard pics of the 1930s.

Greta Gerwig, who co-wrote the film, plays Brooke, an infectiously upbeat woman who moves heaven-and-earth to open her Brooklyn dream store—part café and part hair salon. Meanwhile, Brooke takes under her wing her soon-to-stepsister, Tracy (LOLA KIRKE, 24), an 18-year-old aspiring writer whose in a funk until she meets Brooke. You might know Kirke as the nasty “white trash” woman who robbed Amy (the missing wife) in a motel in “Gone Girl”. 

 Kirke was born and raised in England, the daughter of a Jewish mother and non-Jewish father. Her maternal grandfather, the late JACK DELLAL, was a very wealthy property investor. Lola’s maternal grandmother is Israeli and the Dellals gave generously to the Israeli arts. Her sister, JEMINA KIRKE, 30, plays the starring character Jessa on HBO’s “Girls.” Jemina, who lives in New York, has called herself “Jewish” and has two kids with her Jewish husband, an American lawyer. Their daughter’s middle name is “Israel”. (Opens Friday, Sept. 11 in several Tampa/St. Petersburg theaters).

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert starts on CBS on Tuesday, Sept. 8, and the first week guests include SCARLETT JOHANSSON, 30, on Wednesday and AMY SCHUMER, 34, on Friday. Two heads of two hot companies, Elon Musk (Tesla Motors) and Travis Kalanick, 39 (Uber) will appear on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively.

Musk is oft misidentified as Jewish. Kalanick’s mother is Jewish, but so far as I know, he’s never talked about how he identifies in a religious or ethnic sense.

Political Fun Fact to Know and Tell

Haven’t seen this factoid anywhere else: If Vermont Senator BERNIE SANDERS, 73, wins the New Hampshire presidential primary (or any other)—he’ll be the first Jew to win a major party presidential primary or caucus. MILTON SHAPP, the late governor of Pennsylvania, failed to even win his home state primary when he ran in 1976. In 2004, Senator JOSEPH LIEBERMAN, now 73, dropped out of the race after losing the New Hampshire primary.

Franco with Brie

The engagement of actress ALISON BRIE, 32 (“Community”) and actor DAVE FRANCO, 30 (“Now You See Me”) became public on August 22. They have been a definite, if low-key item since 2012. Franco, who was born and raised in Palo Alto , is the brother of actor JAMES FRANCO, 37, and, on the 22nd, James posted on Instagram a sweet photo of the two, along with the caption “Congrats Davy and Allison!! Engaged!!! “I WUUUUUV YOU.” James’ post came right after an E! TV report that said Brie was engaged and was wearing a very classy engagement ring.  

The ring was spotted at a screening of her new film, “Sleeping with Other People.”, which opens Sept. 11. It’s a romantic comedy about a nice womanizer (Jason Sudeikis) and a serial cheater (Brie) who form a platonic relationship that helps them reform their ways. NATASHA LYONNE, 36, and AMANDA PEET, 43, co-star.

Both actors are the children of Jewish mothers and non-Jewish fathers. Both were raised secular, but firmly identify as Jewish and I wouldn’t be surprised if they have a Jewish wedding. Franco told Conan O’Brien in 2014 that he’s “proud to be Jewish.” Brie told podcaster MARC MARON in 2013, “My mother, God love her, is a very proud Jew and would always make sure we knew we were Jewish.”

The Reward for a Mitzvah: a Hora with Spongebob

The “How Long” segments on the “Jimmy Kimmel Show” almost always involve a staged situation where someone (working for the show) needs assistance from people passing on a Hollywood street. Hidden cameras film the scene as a clock on the screen ticks off how long it takes for someone to help. On Monday, August 24, the “How Long” segment involved an actor in a Spongebob suit falling on his back and pretty loudly pleading for help to get back up.

Well, seven minutes went by and nobody helped. Several took photos, but didn’t help, and one jogger just jumped over the prone Spongebob. Finally, three teenagers, wearing yarmulkes, helped him up. Spongebob then joined hands with the teens and he sang “Hava Nagila” as they all jumped up and down in hora circle. Kimmel commented, “It looks like a bar mitzvah out there.”

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