Jews in the News: James Franco, Amy Schumer & William Paley

Franco is the secular-raised son of a Jewish mother and a non-Jewish father. I don’t think he’ll ever identify in a religious sense as a Jew, although in years past he expressed regret that he didn’t have a Jewish education or a bar mitzvah.  Certainly, he’s had many hits as a both a comedic and dramatic actor (“Spiderman”, “Pineapple Express” and his Oscar nominated performance in “127 Hours”). However, other parts of his life and career offer meaty roast material, including: his “stoner” look; his almost manic pursuit of college degrees while still acting; and his disastrous “sleepwalk” turn as the co-host of the Oscars in 2011.


By the way, I just learned that Comedy Central advance critiques the “roast script” of, at least, some roasters to see if they are funny enough or if they breach the “taste” line. AMY SCHUMER, 32, who now has her own Comedy Central Show, recently said that she was a virtual TV unknown when she was invited to roast ROSEANNE BARR, 60, last August. She was happy with the exposure, but wasn’t surprised when the station “vetted” her routine in advance.  Also, I’ve long known that “roasted” celebs are allowed to put a few topics off-limits. For example, JOAN RIVERS, 80, vetoed any jokes about her daughter, MELISSA, 45.


Kvell and Laugh


In 1975, the late founder of CBS, WILLIAM S. PALEY, founded the Museum of Broadcasting to preserve TV and radio programs and make them available to the public. It was re-named the Paley Center for the Media in 1997. In recent years, NBC has been showing “Paley Center Media Specials” and one dedicated to the funniest moments of the last sixty years airs on Sunday, Sept. 1, at 9PM. All the programs included in the special save one (“The Carol Burnett Show”) have a Jewish creator or co-creator and all except “Modern Family” and “I Love Lucy” had a Jewish co-star(s). 


Here are the shows, with the creator (s) names first—then the Jewish co-stars:  “Seinfeld” (JERRY SEINFELD/LARRY DAVID; Seinfeld & JASON ALEXANDER); “The Big Bang Theory” (CHUCK LORRE; SIMON HELBERG & MELISSA RAUCH); “The Simpsons” (JAMES L. BROOKS; HANK AZARIA & HARRY SHEARER); “Friends” (MARTA KAUFMAN; DAVID SCHWIMMER); “Will & Grace” (DAVID KOHAN/MAX MUTCHNICK; DEBRA MESSING); “Everybody Loves Raymond” (PHILIP ROSENTHAL; BRAD GARRETT); “Cheers” (JAMES BURROWS; RHEA PERLMAN); “Saturday Night Live” (LORNE MICHAELS; ORIGINAL CAST: LARAINE NEWMAN & the late GILDA RADNER); “The Cosby Show” (ED WEINBERGER; LISA BONET); “Modern Family (STEVE LEVITAN); “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” (JAMES L. BROOKS/ALLAN BURNS; ED ASNER); “The Dick Van Dyke Show” (CARL REINER; the late MOREY AMSTERDAM); “I Love Lucy” (the late JESS OPPENHEIMER); “All in the Family” (NORMAN LEAR; ROB REINER); and “Carol Burnett” (co-staring the late HARVEY KORMAN).



The Monaco Circus


I expect at least half of you have already read that Princess Charlotte, 27, the only daughter of Princess Caroline of Monaco, is engaged to marry comedic actor GAD ELMALEH, 42, and is currently carrying his child. If you are shocked that a “fancy schmancy” Catholic princess would marry a French Sephardi Jewish actor—you don’t know much about the romantic relationships of Monaco’s royal family. Elmaleh, who was born in Morocco, is very popular with French and Arab audiences and, by the way, he already has one child born out of wedlock.


In some sense, he fits right in as a prospective member of a family (“the Grimaldis”) that has never been constrained by “middle-class” morality or class/ethnic divides while engaged in romantic relationships.  Princess Caroline’s aunt, Princess Antoinette, had three out-of-wedlock children with her married lover between 1947 and 1951; Caroline’s paternal grandmother, Princess Charlotte, turned her Paris-area estate into a refuge for ex-convicts and took a famous former jewel thief as her lover. Caroline’s sister, Princess Stephanie, was long involved with an elephant trainer who was then married to someone else-- her second ex-husband is a Portuguese acrobat-- and she has a child with another guy she never married; Caroline’s brother, the reigning Prince Albert, has two out-of-wedlock kids: one by an American waitress and another with a (black) Air France flight attendant.



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