President Donald Trump may not be Jewish, but it seems his hair can sure play the part.
Don’t look so sad @realDonaldTrump, they have a really nice wall, but you still can’t have one. #VarucaSalt @Rosie @JohnLeguizamo @robreiner pic.twitter.com/WEvM1fKODQ— #TrumpChats (@BrockMathias1) May 22, 2017
@POTUS @realDonaldTrump and @FLOTUS @MELANIATRUMP The first President to visit the Western Wall🙏🏻 🇮🇱🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/niflN5mmcG— Nathan D. Wilson🇺🇸 (@NathanDWilsonFL) May 22, 2017
Watch for the full effect:
VIDEO: Donald Trump becomes the first sitting U.S. president to visit Jerusalem’s Western Wall #POTUSinIsrael pic.twitter.com/gjAbGuTUJM— Avi Mayer (@AviMayer) May 22, 2017
In 2002, Mark Zuckerberg (clad in tasteful plaid pajamas) checked his email to find out whether he’d been accepted to Harvard. His dad, Edward Zuckerberg, filmed the occasion. And plotzed. The more sanguine Zuckerberg, his son, sat fairly calmly on the bed, processing what that acceptance meant.
What neither of them knew then was that Mark Zuckerberg would never earn that degree.
Mark posted the video because he’s about to go back to Harvard to give the commencement address and accept an honorary degree.
As Dan Sachs, a colleague of Zuckerberg, posted to Facebook’s CEO page, that’s a “[v]ery roundabout way to avoid Harvard’s core curriculum requirements.”
To which Zuckerberg replied, “That was definitely not my plan. Although before I went to college, my mom bet me I’d drop out and my younger sister bet me she’d finish college before me. I bet them I’d get a degree. Now I suppose the cycle is complete.”
To the extent that an honorary degree is actually a degree, I suppose he’s right, but his younger sister earned hers, whereas Zuckerberg has, basically, bought his. Mind you, it’s definitely worth giving up a Harvard degree to become the richest and most influential (not most powerful) person in the world. (Though it wouldn’t be worth giving up a Yale degree for that.)
Drake has made it clear that he wants “no new friends,” but the tide is turning for Drake and his rival Tory Lanez.
On Instagram, two pictures with the rappers standing together were posted yesterday. One of the photos was posted on the Instagram of both Tory Lanez and Drake, and was captioned with vague, yet amicable comments about each other and the city they represent.
Is this the end of their seven year beef? Only time will tell. But as of right now, everyone is agreeing that they are moving on so that Drake can focus on his beef with Meek Mill. The feud between Drake and Tory Lanez has a long history, beginning in 2010 and staying alive through Tory Lanez’s attacks on Drake. Drake clapped back occasionally at the little-known rapper, but sent his strongest rebuttal in his latest album:
His verses here include veiled references to Tory Lanez, and argue that Lanez wants to be like Drake, and only projects his insecurities about not being famous at Drake by insulting him.
Lucky for fans of both rappers, the feud seems to have subsided, and the question has turned to when the rappers will write a single together. For now though, two pictures on Instagram will be the only appearance together in public for Drake and Tory Lanez.
Guy Branum is trying to reinvent late night television.
The 41-year-old comedian, whose writing credits include “The Mindy Project,” “Chelsea Lately” and “Fashion Police,” has tossed the contents of primetime chat shows into a blender, shaking up all their predictable, formulaic bits.
The result is the refreshingly silly “Talk Show the Game Show,” which jovially pits celebrities against each other to win the coveted title of “Best Guest of the Night.”
A few ways to earn points? Flirt with the host, show up visibly drunk or tell an on-set prank anecdote.
Expect to be taken down several pegs for white male fragility, excessive plugging and showboating.
“So many talk show appearances today are lifeless,” Branum said during a recent phone interview. “Everyone is terrified of doing or saying anything actually interesting.”
The comedian recalled watching a round of charades on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” and growing irked when he realized that game was completely fixed. Everyone made two wrong guesses and a right guess.
“There was no element of chaos,” he said. “They’ve just made it too safe for A-listers who don’t want any danger.”
A slew of celebrities have already been more than happy to step into Branum’s line of talk show fire, including Wanda Sykes, Nikki Glaser and Chelsea Handler.
Branum, who worked with Handler for three years on “Chelsea Lately,” credits the comedian for teaching him the right way to interview a guest.
“Chelsea is just about the best goddamn interviewer in the business,” Branum said. “She goes out there, and asks what she wants to ask, and says what she wanted to say. That made it fun. It meant that people like T.I. and Gene Simmons would have a moment in their chairs where they would actually have to think.”
The comedian has worked with a slew of powerhouse showrunners, from Mindy Kaling (who direct-messaged Branum on Twitter offering him a writing gig on “The Mindy Project”) to Billy Eichner, the creator of man-on-the-street comedy series “Billy on the Street.”
Branum doesn’t write for Eichner, but sits in on meetings, pitching ideas and fleshing out concepts.
“That show is really about a specificity of voice,” Branum said. “For an extended period of time, I was researching a game that was going to be called: ‘Has Roseanne Barr Argued With This Person On Twitter About Israel?’”
The comedian added that — major plus — the “Billy on the Street” writer’s room is extremely Jewish.
“It’s like, look, I’m Jewish, but only on my mom’s side, and I’m from California. That essentially just means I believe in Sephardic pronunciation,” he quipped. “But, [Eichner] is from Queens, [producer] Julie Klausner from Scarsdale. It’s also a very gay space. Normally you’re in a writer’s room and you’re probably the only gay person in the room. There, it’s the majority. And, who’s gayer than Julie Klausner?”
Few comedians can say they’ve had the opportunity to hone their joke-writing skills quite like Branum can. The comedian spent a year working in the ultimate training ground for comedy — Joan Rivers’ living room.
Branum nabbed a job writing for “Fashion Police” while he was, quite begrudgingly, working on “Punk’d,” a practical joke show run by Ashton Kutcher.
“That was a show that was so much about…what are we going to put in the gas tank of this girl who was in ‘Twilight,’” he recalled. “I would leave that job and then go with my list of mean one-liners to Joan Rivers’s house and it was so much better. It was so much more satisfying.”
He recalled feeling completely intimidated when he met Rivers for the first time. She was in her house coat, surrounded by deli food, and he had to start pitching jokes.
Much to his relief, she laughed.
“Joan could remember jokes you had pitched six hours before, and she talked them out in a flawless fashion,” Branum recalled. “She was a person who, if you made a joke and she didn’t know the cultural references that made it funny, she would find out the cultural references that made it funny. She understood that it was her job to be relevant and to be a survivor.”
Branum added that Rivers reminded him a great deal of his Jewish mom — both because of their nurturing instincts, and and their boatloads of neuroses.
“She was a person who was always waiting for life to fall apart and for everything to get terrible again. And that’s my mom,” he said. “One of my theories is that every Jew that said ‘this is fine, this will blow over,’ will die horribly. The only genes that remain in our gene pool are fear, terror and ‘I should swallow my rings and cross the border.’”
“Talk Show the Game Show” is on truTV Wednesdays 10/9 C.
Is “Twin Peaks,” the famed surrealist crime drama, really Jewish? Not overtly, but the Forward’s Seth Rogovoy, returning to the original series in advance of this weekend’s premiere of its reboot, found a plethora of Jewish characteristics. Read about them here, and catch the first episode of the new series on Sunday.
If you’re feeling more sit-com than surreal, on the other hand, check out season 3 of Netflix’s “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.” The season promises guest appearances from “Hamilton” star Daveed Diggs, Maya Rudolph, and Rachel Dratch. And on the big screen, prepare to have your heart broken by young adult novel adaptation “Everything, Everything,” which stars Amandla Stenberg, who first stole our hearts in “The Hunger Games.”
If you’re feeling nostalgic for your youth, perhaps Jonathan Cott’s new book “There’s a Mystery There: The Primal Vision of Maurice Sendak” will help you return. Based on a long-running series of interviews with the late, beloved author and illustrator, Cott’s book examines what made Sendak tick. For more troubled evocations of childhood, look to Michael Frank’s new memoir “The Mighty Franks,” which chronicles his complicated relationship with an adoring aunt, or Francesca Segal’s new novel “The Awkward Age,” which follows two teenage step-siblings as they rebel against their recently-married parents.
In New York, check out the many offerings of this year’s Vulture Festival: Highlights include a tour of the Whitney Biennial led by art critic Jerry Saltz, a conversation between Senator Al Franken and Robert Smigel, and a cooking demo and conversation with Chelsea Handler and Jose Andres. If you’ve been looking for an opportunity to make art, instead, check out Queens Writes Weekend, with writing-focused gatherings across the borough and a Friday night kickoff reading.
In Washington, D.C., check out the first weekend of the Edlavitch DCJCC’s Washington Jewish Film Festival. Good bets include the film adaptation of Nicole Krauss’s novel “The History of Love,” as well as the documentaries “Angel Wagenstein: Art is a Weapon,”which tells the dramatic story of the titular filmmaker, and “Keep Quiet,” which follows former anti-Semitic far-right Hungarian politician Csanád Szegedi after he discovers that he is, in fact Jewish. If that’s not enough to keep you busy in the capital, The Theatre Lab’s production of “The Crucible” is promising; before you go, give some thought to what, exactly, constitutes a witch-hunt.
In Chicago, don’t miss the Spertus Institute’s “Israel: Many Voices” on Sunday afternoon. The one-time-only event will feature Chicago storytellers sharing tales of their experiences in the Holy Land. And in Los Angeles, catch pianist and conductor Jeffrey Kahane at one of two Mozart-oriented concerts with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra.
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