In Linda Richman's Footsteps: 'Ronna and Beverly'
As much as I love the whole Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen, Ben Stiller, Judd Aptaow schlemiel genre I always shudder a bit when finding out, again and again, that their co-star is a semi-serious perky blond. (For the most recent example, see the new movie “She’s Out of My League”, where the real-life half Jew Jay Baruchel pursues yet another, fair-haired and -eyed interest.) Why can’t the woman ever be funny — and not just spunky? Occasionally, a brunette? And, just once, Jewish?
This regular disappointment explains the joy I felt recently when discovering the hilarious comedy act “Ronna and Beverly”, described by many as a Jewish “Absolutely Fabulous” and played by actresses Jessica Chaffin and Jamie Denbo. Ronna and Beverly are two Jewish divorcees who play the authors of the book “You’ll Do a Little Better Next Time: A Guide to Marriage and Remarriage for Jewish Singles” — and they’re the best things to happen to Jewish female characters since Mike Myers did Linda Richman on SNL.
Stateside, you can watch their hi-jinks on the short videos on their Web site or at one of their live performances, most of which are in Los Angeles. They also recorded a pilot for Showtime, developed by “Weeds” creator Jenji Kohan, which has reportedly been passed up by the network and is reportedly being shopped around. And Denbo recently sold her screenplay “Best Buds” to Vendome Pictures, Natalie Portman is reportedly attached to produce and star in the film.
Seeing Chaffin’s and Denbo’s characters getting waxed or discussing their children or pets reminded me a lot of the 50-something Jewish women in my life, and — even while I might be 20 years behind — myself. After decades of Jewish male characters taking all the laughs, it’s a relief to see Jewish women parodied a bit, especially when it is Jewish women doing the parodying themselves.