Jews in the News: Amy Schumer, Susanne Bier and Ashley Auckerman

Emmy Time (and a Goose in the Oven for Two Years)

The Emmys will air on Sunday, Sept. 18, at 8PM on ABC. Jimmy Kimmel will host. I can’t cover every show with some Jewish connection. But here’s my list of the high profile nominees. In the acting categories, there’s JEFFREY TAMBOR, 72 (lead actor, comedy, “Transparent”); AMY SCHUMER, 35 (lead actress, comedy, “Inside Amy Schumer); TRACEE ELLIS ROSS, 43 (lead actress, comedy, “Black-Ish”);  LIEV SCHREIBER, 48 (lead actor, drama, “Ray Donovan”); DAVID SCHWIMMER,49 (supporting actor, mini-series/movie, “The People v. O.J. Simpson”); and JUDITH LIGHT, 67 (supporting actress, comedy, “Transparent”). Fun footnote: Sarah Paulson is nominated for lead actress, dramatic mini-series, for playing MARCIA CLARK, 63, the real life (Jewish) O.J. Simpson prosecutor.

Directing Emmys, in all categories, cite a particular episode, so more than one director can be nominated for a series. Tribe members getting directing "nods" include “Transparent” creator JILL SOLOWAY, 50; “Game of Thrones” director MIGUEL SAPOCHNIK, 35, who I profiled last June. He’s nominated for the epic “Battle of the Bastards” episode; JACK BENDER, 66, “Game of Thrones”. He directed the episode “The Door”; and JAY ROACH, 59, who helmed the original HBO film, “All the Way,” about LBJ.

A curious omission is SUSANNE BIER, 56, the sole director of the limited AMC series, “The Night Manager.” The series, itself, is nominated for best mini-series. Bier is a Danish Jew whose film, “In a Better Place”, won the 2011 Oscar for best foreign film. Here’s an interesting anecdote she recently told to a UK Jewish paper. Her parents, who are still alive, were forced to flee Nazi-occupied Denmark for Sweden in 1943. The Danish resistance ferried them to neutral Sweden and non-Jewish neighbors sealed off their apartment. She says: “It was Rosh Hashanah and my mother’s mother was cooking a goose in the oven when they were told they needed to leave. When they came back after the war, that goose was still in the oven (!). So there was a thing in the family that we could never have goose or duck when my grandmother was around, because it reminded her of all that had happened.”

Here’s the tribe members who created a series nominated for “best” in its category. Comedy—STEVE LEVITAN, 54 (“Modern Family”); JOHN ALTSCHULER and DAVE KRINSKY, both 53 (“Silicon Valley”); Jill Soloway (“Transparent”); Drama—JOE WEISBERG, 55 (“The Americans”); DAVID BENIOFF and D. B. WEISS, both 45 (“Game of Thrones”); HOWARD GORDON, 55 (“Homeland”); Talk Series: JERRY SEINFELD, 62 (“Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee”); Sketch Series: JEREMY KONNER, 36 (“Drunk History”); Amy Schumer (“Inside Amy Schumer”); CARRIE BROWNSTEIN, 41 (“Portlandia”); and LORNE MICHAELS, 71 (“Saturday Night Live”).

New TV Season: New Hebrews

Here are TV shows starting this month with a Jewish thespian in an important role. All these series have got good reviews.  “Better Things”, a FX cable show, began on Thursday, Sept. 8. It stars PAMELA ADLON, 50, whose best known roles include being the voice of Bobby on “King of the Hill,”; Louis C.K.’s wife on “Louie”; and the wife of DAVID DUCHOVNY’s best friend on “Californication”. Adlon plays an actress who is raising three daughters, alone. In real life, that’s what Adlon is doing.

The first season of “One Mississippi” was released on Sept. 8 on Amazon. It stars lesbian comedian and Mississippi native Tig Notaro as a lesbian from Mississippi who returns home following the sudden death of her mother. JOHN ROTHMAN, 67, a character actor whose face you’d recognize, plays her stepfather. The L.A. Times said about him: “But Rothman is the marvel of ‘One Mississippi,’ taking a role too often used strictly for humor and exposition and turning it into a beautiful portrait of a man who has just lost his emotional translator. Far from cold or oblivious, he is simply searching for another door through which he can communicate with the world.” Also on Amazon is “Fleabag,” a series being released on Sept. 16. It’s a BBC import about the complex life of a young woman. Most of the cast is British, but American comedian BRETT GELMAN, 39, has a large supporting role.

Finally, there’s “Designated Survivor,” an ABC series that starts on Wednesday, Sept. 21. An explosion kills the President and all the cabinet members except Kiefer Sutherland’s character, the HUD secretary. He becomes president and quickly finds out there are many more horrible surprises coming. ASHLEY ZUCKERMAN, 32, an Australian Jewish actor who starred in the WGN series “Manhattan,” has a large recurring role as a congressman who was a war hero.


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