Jews in the News: Jonah Hill, Fred Hechinger and Monica Lewinsky

On Tattoos, Mrs. Maisel, and More

JONAH HILL, 37, who already has several tattoos, recently got a big tattoo that says “Body Love”. Hill, who is often quite portly, has experienced a lot of “body shaming” and his tattoo is a “body-positive” push-back against such shaming. He posted pics of his body art on Instagram. Actresses ZOE KRAVITZ, 32, and NATASHA LYONNE, 42, tweeted support.

The Instagram tattoo pics also reveal that he has also dyed his hair very blonde. I’d call it California surfer blond. He’s also dyed his full beard and mustache the same color (that’s not easy to do).

Not sure what that dye job is all about. Maybe he’s planning an anti-body shaming, everybody goes to the beach movie? The beach, we all know, is ground zero for body shaming.

By the way, it’s a myth that you can’t be buried in a Jewish cemetery if you have a tattoo. The story likely emerged when some Orthodox burial societies in the early 20thC. reportedly barred burials in their “area of a cemetery” to persons with tattoos.

Comedian LENNY BRUCE (1925-1966), the famous irreverent social satirist and stand-up comedian had a reasonably funny (Jewish) tattoo story in his stand-up routine. He told it funnier than I can recall it in print.  

Here’s the story: When he came home from service in the Navy, Lenny said, his mother was horrified to see that he had a tattoo on his arm. She exclaimed, “Lenny, you can’t be buried in a Jewish cemetery!”  He replied, “Relax, ma, there’s a Catholic cemetery across the street from the Jewish cemetery. When I die, they can cut-off my arm, bury it with the Catholics, and it can wave to me from across the street.”

I just read that (character) Lenny Bruce, who was fairly prominent in the first two seasons of the mostly fictional “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel", will return in the upcoming season 4. Filming of the 4th season of the hit Amazon series was completed in July, but no release date is yet set. The principal cast will all be returning.

JACKIE HOFFMAN, 60, a funny actress and stand-up comedian, who often does Jewish-themed material, will appear in Season 4. I assume it is a guest role.

Also appearing in Season 4, for the first time, is John Waters. He’s a very interesting and talented comedic writer and performer. He directed and wrote “Hairspray”, which began the trend of mining for comedic gold the tension between the uptight ‘50s and the emerging, much more “loose” mores of the ‘60s.

That tension is at the heart of “Mrs. Maisel”. The title character is a "sort of" female version of Lenny Bruce.

In real life, Lenny Bruce was an avatar of the “swinging ‘60s”. In real life, there was, sadly, no female equivalent—no real Mrs. Maisel. 

“The White Lotus”, an original, six-episode HBO comedy/thriller series, concluded last Sunday, Aug. 15. It got quite good reviews. It follows, over the course of a week, a group of rich folks vacationing at a swanky Hawaii resort.

Earlier this year, I noted that “newcomer” FRED HECHINGER, 23, would follow his big roles in the Tom Hanks’ film “News of the World” and “The Underground Railroad” (an Amazon series), with a role in “White Lotus”.

But, due to an oversight, I didn’t “flag” him and White Lotus before it began streaming. He has a major role in “Lotus” as (guest) Quinn Mosbacher, the socially awkward 17-year-old son of (guest) Nicole Mossbacher, the CFO of a Google-like company.

Here’s a Hechinger “Jewish nugget” I just came across. Last December, he was interviewed by the entertainment site WWD. Like an astonishing number of Jewish celebs, a bar mitzvah was a key to his career. 

Here’s the relevant excerpt: “But his acting journey began during his bar mitzvah, when a family friend invited him to the Upright Citizen’s Brigade improv show… The next night, he was sitting on the floor of the basement theater in Chelsea. I sat on the side of the stage, I watched and I said, ‘That’s the coolest thing ever. I want to do what they’re doing’.”

Finally, there is the FX series “Impeachment: An American Crime Story”. It premieres on Sept. 7.  BEANIE FELDSTEIN, 28, plays MONICA LEWINSKY, now 48. They co-produced the series. I’ll have more to say about this series after it premieres.


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