Jews in the News: Sarah Silverman, Maya Rudolph and Scarlett Johansson

TV/Streaming Offerings

The first season of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” begins streaming on November 29. The pilot episode, presented last year, and free to watch on-line, got rave reviews. It was created by AMY SHERMAN-PALLADINO, 51 (“Gilmore Girls”). The series publicity release summarizes the series arc:  “It’s 1958 Manhattan and Miriam “Midge” Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan, ‘House of Cards’) has everything she’s ever wanted – the perfect husband, two kids, and an elegant New York apartment perfect for hosting Yom Kippur dinner. But her perfect life takes an unexpected turn and Midge discovers a previously unknown talent [stand-up comedy] – one that changes her life forever. She charts a course that takes her from her comfortable life on Riverside drive, through the basket houses and nightclubs of Greenwich Village, as she storms the world of stand-up …a course that will ultimately lead her to a spot on Johnny Carson’s couch.”

MICHAEL ZEGEN, 38, plays Joel, Midge’s husband. ALEX BORSTEIN, 46, plays Suzie, a comedy club employee who becomes a close pal of Midge’s. The famous comedian LENNY BRUCE (1925-1966 ) is a minor character in the pilot and I expect we’ll see him again.

It seems to me that the Midge character is an interesting hybrid of three famous female comedians: Phyllis Diller, the late JOAN RIVERS, and SARAH SILVERMAN, 45. Like Diller, she is a housewife and mother who became a comedian. Her comedic style, however, is much more like Rivers and Silverman—more acerbic. Maisel is, like Silverman, attractive—even “sexy.” This means her humor is never about her plain looks—as it always was with Diller and often was with Rivers.

The Carol Burnett 50th Anniversary Special will air on CBS on Sunday, Dec. 3, at 8PM. No doubt, many of the clips will feature the late HARVEY KORMAN, a series co-star. Celebrity guests on the special include MAYA RUDOLPH, 45.

On Dec. 1, Netflix will stream the second, 8-episode season of its original series “Easy”. The episodes are all set in Chicago and minor characters in one episode are sometimes major ones in others. AYA CASH, 35, co-starred in two episodes last season and returns this season. She plays Sherri, who is very pregnant with her first child when we first see her. Her husband is involved in a home beer brewing business with his best friend, played by DAVE FRANCO, 32. MARC MARON, 54, also returns this season. He starred in one first season episode, playing a graphic artist.


David Cassidy, who died last week, age 67, had two children. Earlier this year, he told “People” that he was not in contact with his daughter, actress Katie Cassidy. However, he was close to his son, BEAU CASSIDY, 26 (Katie’s half brother). A singer like his father, Beau is the son of songwriter SUE SCHRIFIN CASSIDY, 67, David’s third wife. In 2001, a Las Vegas synagogue newsletter noted that David and Sue had joined the congregation. However, they moved to Florida the next year and, as I write this, I don’t know if they joined a Florida temple.  (David and Sue divorced in 2016).

Maybe We Can All Be Educated

Sarah Silverman is a funny comedian. But like many of us, she hears something or gets an idea in her head, and doesn’t bother to check whether what she is saying is factual. Unlike most of us, she is a celebrity so she has a really big media soapbox to spout nonsense. I was referred to an appalling part of a recent Hollywood Reporter interview with Silverman. She went on and on like this: “Jewish women don’t star in Hollywood movies…they only play the nasty best friend….…WOODY ALLEN only has actresses who couldn’t be less Jewish in his movies…like SCARLETT JOHANSSON. “

The Reporter, at a friend’s insistence, inserted a note that Johansson, in fact, is Jewish. Point is—Silverman is describing the world as it was in 1960. She doesn’t know Johansson is Jewish. She doesn’t know, I think, which recent/current actresses are Jewish. But she still pontificates. Maybe someday she’ll read a list like this and stop. From 1974 forward, here are the Jewish lead actress Oscar nominees: BARBRA STREISAND, JILL CLAYBURGH, BETTE MIDLER (2X), GOLDIE HAWN, DEBRA WINGER (2X), and NATALIE PORTMAN (2X); Supporting Oscar nominees, from 1974 on: MADELINE KAHN, SYLVIA MILES, LEE GRANT, PIPER LAURIE (2X), AMY IRVING, WINONA RYDER, MARE WINNINGHAM, LAUREN BACALL, BARBARA HERSHEY, KATE HUDSON, SOPHIE OKONEDO, NATALIE PORTMAN, RACHEL WEISZ, MAGGIE GYLLENHAAL, JUNE SQUIBB, and JENNIFER JASON LEIGH.


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