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Ben Platt Wrote A Yom Kippur Song And It’s Kind Of A Bop

Are we on a pre-fast-electrolyte-binge-Gatorade-high, or is Ben Platt’s Yom Kippur jam the song of the summer?

The “Dear Evan Hansen” star and Ramah summer camp princeling joined together with rising magen-david Molly Gordon for a stirring new edition to the Yom Kippur liturgy: a brief, a capella Yom Kippur jingle.

Come for the tortured-looking Jewish heartthrobs, stay for the eye acting, we say! Platt and “Animal Kingdom” actress Gordon have created a jam we can see ourselves shuckling to. The aesthetic is that of the cover of the book “The Outsiders,” and the perfect eyebrows make us proud to be tribe members.

Jenny Singer is the deputy lifestyle editor for the Forward. You can reach her at Singer@forward.com or on Twitter @jeanvaljenny

The Schmooze

Wonder Why The Emmys Weren’t Funny? Look At The List Of Writers.

The 70th Annual Emmy Awards, hosted by Colin Jost and Michael Che, exceeded all expectations: They were even more egregiously unfunny than detractors could possibly have imagined. Haters of bloated award shows, haters of the Saturday Night Live Weekend Update hosts, and people angry to be awake late on a Monday united in disparaging the desperately unfunny evening that was made occasionally charming by winners’ speeches.

Jost and Che lost their audience weeks, if not years, before taking the stage — “It is kind of fun for us to do something that is not political,” Jost said in a pre-Emmy interview with Vanity Fair. He added that by the time of the Emmys, “People are going to be desperate to give men a chance, finally. It’ll probably be #HeToo by then.”

The main issues here are that this joke has no comedy content and makes light of a movement that exists to relieve centuries of sexual assault and oppression.

Michael Che, of course, shouldn’t be smeared for his co-host’s remarks. He should be smeared for reasons all of his own devising, such as mounting an emotional defense of Louis CK’s “right to make a living” by performing in a top comedy club less than a year after admitting to serial sexual harassment.


So though Colin Jost and Michael Che are powerful, attractive straight men with enormous platforms, the deck was stacked against them at the Emmys. They stacked it themselves by consistently presenting as people who are wildly out of touch with the difficulties and indignities people live with, and then getting up to do comedy about the difficulties and indignities people live with.

No wonder by the time they took the stage, both men looked like funeral chaplains at a federal prison, obligated to conduct a burial for a child kidnapper. With the small-town defiance of little boys called to the principal’s office, their shared monologue hit all the classics laughs: Nazis are bad, the show we’re watching right now is boring and we, the audience, is stupid for watching it, the struggling finances of the National Broadcasting Company, and the hard-hitting critique that “This Is Us” is a sad TV show. It was exceedingly hard to remember that Jost and Che have done live TV comedy before. Indeed, it is their weekly gig.

But it takes a village to make comics like Maya Rudolph and Fred Armisen look bad. In fact, 16 writers collaborated on the Emmys, including Che and Jost. 16 writers, and the greatest comedic performers alive — together they made plenty of topical jokes targeting the current administration and the villains of the #MeToo movement. So why did so few of them land? Why was Hannah Gadsby’s 1.5 minute standup bit about #notallmen so much funnier than Che and Jost’s 7.5 minute droning on about Ronan Farrow and drunken sexual harassment?

Leaving aside the fact that Gadsby has greater comedic skill, the defining difference is in the writers — while Gadsby wrote her own bits, Che and Jost wrote their jokes with an army of almost entirely men. 13 out of 16 of the writers of the Emmys were men. They hired three women and thirteen men to write three hours of jokes, about half of which were about issues of gender parity and other forms of equality.

No wonder the evening’s hosts seemed resentful and bored. That’s the natural consequence of thirteen men getting together to write jokes about feminism that they don’t believe in. Che and Jost did not want to be “political” — i.e., they did not want to make comedy about people other than themselves. They did not hire almost any people unlike themselves, and they did not please anyone. Plenty of attractive, privileged, straight men — even white men! — have proven that they perform gracious comedy by absenting their egos and making room for different voices. Consider Seth Meyers, who does it by hiring a dynamic writing staff and accessing a deep compassion for other types of people, or Jimmy Kimmel, who does it by being so chilled out that he creates plenty of room for other stars to shine.

When Michael Che joked about race, it was sometimes funny — maybe because it seemed like he believed what he was saying, instead of seeming like he was reading nutrition facts off a label.

Jenny Singer is the deputy lifestyle editor for the Forward. You can reach her at Singer@forward.com or on Twitter @jeanvaljenny

The Schmooze

Jews Cleaned Up At The 2018 Emmy Awards

Just about every opportunity Jews had to win Emmy awards at the 70th Annual Emmy Awards on Monday night, they won. Sometimes twice.

The show was clunky, generally humorless, and typically lengthy — but the Jews, the Jews were out in full force. Let’s do this.

1.The gawky, well-meant musical opener featured Andy Samberg, funny and killing the thick-framed glasses game in spite of it all.

2.Hosts Colin Jost and Michael Che somehow surprised even their greatest detractors by being more mournfully unfunny and charmless than widely expected. Their best moments were Che’s references to his mother, who doesn’t like watching white award shows because “you guys don’t thank Jesus enough.” Jewish mothers around the world, half-watching in case of a winner thanking her mother, nodded in understanding.

3.Michael Che, referencing disgraced racist Roseanne Barr and the Middle East conflict in one sentence, somehow managed to be unfunny. “I heard Roseanne is actually moving to Israel — I mean damn how messed up is your life when you have to move to the Middle East just to get peace of mind,” he said.

4.America’s zayde Henry Winkler won his first-ever Emmy at 72 for “Barry.” Beaming, he said, ““Skip Brittenham said to me a long time ago, ‘If you stay at the table long enough the chips come to you.’ And tonight, I got to clear the table.”

5.Tracy Morgan announced, “I’m only rooting for the black people.” Those of us who spend award shows (in fact, all forms of entertainment,) scanning for signs of Semitism, understood.

6.Alex Borstein won Best Supporting Actress In A Comedy for “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” The spectacularly powerful Borstein removed her wrap, shimmied, strode on stage, and accepted her Emmy in a tour de force speech that began with a public restroom PSA and ended with a tribute to her father. “I went without the bra! What a platform! Ladies, when you use a public restroom, sit down. If you sit, we can all sit — stop peeing on the seat — I want to thank everyone at Amazon,” Borstein said in a single breath, before going on to deliver a heart-stopping thanks to her children.


7.Amy Sherman-Palladino became the first woman to win an Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Writing and an Emmy for Directing a Comedy Series in the same year. With back-to-back wins, the consistently unconventional Sherman-Palladino double-fisted golden statuettes, saying, “My father inspired this, weirdly I had to turn a six-foot-two Bronx Jew into Rachel Brosnahan, that’s showbiz.” She went on to carefully, authentically, give thanks to her crew, citing the importance of union workers.

8.Angela Bassett and Tiffany Haddish present Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, looking, truly, like goddesses.

9.Rachel Brosnahan wins Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for “The Marvelous Mrs Maisel.” This is your annual reminder that Rachel Brosnahan isn’t any more Jewish than Kathryn Hahn. But Amy Sherman-Palladino and Daniel Palladino, who Brosnahan “will be thanking for the rest of my life for trusting me with your Midge” is.

10.Michael Douglas delivered one of the funniest bits of the night. With the combination of comic timing and dapper charm that reminds us why we fell in love with him one million decades ago (well, it feels like that), Douglas delivered a message to the night’s losers. “Carry that rage,” he said. “Let it fuel everything you do from this night forward. You were cheated. You were robbed. That’s a fact.”

11.Maya Rudolph and Fred Armisen did a reoccurring bit. Sadly it was not funny, but it was still like seeing God walk on stage.

12.Jeff Daniels beats Michael Stuhlbarg for Best Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie. But Michael still gave Jeff a one-man standing ovation, because that’s just the kind of mensch he is.

13.Rachel Brosnahan and Larry David did intergenerational comedy banter. (The Schmooze puts on her Jewish dad voice:) Make no mistake, the pairing of Larry David and Rachel Brosnahan — his awkward schlumpiness, her crisp aesthetic, his contemporary cringe comedy, her take on Borscht-Belt belly laughs — it was one generation of Jewish comedy wishing a l’chaim to the next! For this, we live.


14.Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer presented John Mulaney with the Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special. The “Broad City” women looked beside themselves. And by the way, Mulaney — who said his wife refused to fly across the country to watch him lose — is married to a nice Jewish gal.

15.Glenn Weiss, in the most unbelievable moment of the evening, called his girlfriend to stage and proposed to her.

16.Tina Fey introduced the moving In Memoriam segment. In an evening that was otherwise gracelessly produced, the memorial was a stirring tribute to the major losses sustained in the world of entertainment. Among the many beloved names, were many, many Jewish ones, including: Anthony Bourdain, Craig Zadan, Dick Enberg, Lee Miller, Bob Schiller, Charlotte Rae, Mitzi Shore, and Neil Simon.

17.Regina King Won Lead Actress in a Limited Series for Netflix’s “Seven Seconds.” King isn’t Jewish, but her tattoo is. Here we hand it over to our friends over at Kveller.

18.Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields won Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series for “The Americans.” This is Fields and Weisberg’s first win in six seasons of the super-nominated show, which aired its finale in May.

19.Joey King rocked a Zac Posen gown. The Jewish breakout star wore a sweeping gown by Jewish designer Zac Posen, so stay in Hebrew school, kids.

20.The chairman of the Academy shared a lovely video highlighting the Emmy’s best moments of representation. It included clips of Barbra Streisand, Sarah Silverman, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who was sorely missed all evening.

21.Lorne Michaels, the grumpiest-seeming man to ever run a comedy show, accepted the award for Outstanding Sketch Series for Saturday Night Live. The show beat out Sarah Silverman’s “I Love You America,” and “Portlandia” among others.


22.John Oliver delivered the best Glenn Weiss joke. Oliver (who is not Jewish — they can’t all be ours) joked, “On behalf of everyone I’d like to thank Glenn Weiss’ fiancee for saying yes, this could have been a really different evening — you really came through.”

23.Ryan Murphy dropped painful stats about hate crimes. Accepting the Emmy for Outstanding Limited Series for “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story,” Murphy said of the miniseries:

24.”The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” won Outstanding Comedy Series, beating “Atlanta,” “Barry,” “black-ish,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Glow,” “Silicon Valley,” and “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.” It’s such a big moment for Jews telling stories about Jews! Only a truly rotten person would observe that as the “Maisel” crew swept off the stage, Kelly Clarkson’s friend said something to her and Clarkson nodded, looking exhausted. Is it possible her friend said, “Let’s go home and watch ‘Blackish’”?

25.”Game of Thrones” won Outstanding Drama Series. We at the Schmooze were all ready to go home, but then a pair of people named DB Weiss and David Benioff accepted the award and thanked someone else called Bernie Caulfield, and we were forced to turn back, like a guest trying to sneak out of bat mitzvah party with a schmear in hand, just as her name is called for the candle-lighting ceremony. You did it, Jews! You won almost everything. Now let us go to bed.

Speaking of endless experiences that stretch on late into the night but vary little year to year, Yom Kippur approaches. Last call for reflection and hydration, folks. Dream of the proud Jewish parents wishing their children mazal tonight, dream of future female hosts, dream of the day Julia Louis-Dreyfus, in total remission and good health, returns to the Emmys where she belongs.

Jenny Singer is the deputy lifestyle editor for the Forward. You can reach her at Singer@forward.com or on Twitter @jeanvaljenny

The Schmooze

Jewish Director Halts Emmy Awards With Historic Marriage Proposal

In a moment of live television that was somehow both shocking and predictable, an Emmy award winner used his 37 seconds of speech time to propose marriage.

Three-time director of the Academy Award ceremony Glenn Weiss paused the entire 2018 Emmy Award ceremony on Monday night when he took the stage to accept the award for Outstanding Directing for a Variety Special and took the opportunity to propose to his girlfriend.

Weiss, accepting his 12th Emmy award, is a veteran of live television, with three Academy Award ceremonies, 16 Tony Award ceremonies, as well as Kennedy Center Honors, BET Award shows, and Emmy Awards under his belt. When his name was called, he kissed his girlfriend, hugged Jimmy Kimmel, and strode onstage, mullet swinging — and who could ask for more? And yet, he delivered — Weiss accepted the award, saying, “I’m really grateful to be here but it’s bittersweet - the person most proud to be here would be my mom, and she passed away two weeks ago.”

Weiss spoke candidly about the depth of his grief, turning from mourning his mother to recalling her instruction to him that one should find “sunshine” and not let it go. “You always wonder why I don’t like to call you my girlfriend — it’s because I want to call you my wife,” he said. As stars’ faces melted from carefully contoured and highlighted apprehension to carefully contoured and highlighted joy, Weiss’ girlfriend Jan (other details still unknown!) nodded violently and strode to the stage, shaking.

“This is the ring that my dad put on my mom’s finger, 67 years ago,” Weiss said, kneeling. “And to my sisters and brothers — I didn’t swipe it, Dad knows I have it, okay?” Telling his almost-fiancee that he was asking for her hand “in front of my mom and your parents watching from above,” Weiss slid the ring onto her finger. The crowd, it hardly needs to be said, went wild. Leslie Jones, specifically deserves a special Emmy for her overwhelming joy and shock in response to the proposal.

Mazel, mazel, mazel tov, David and Jan.

Jenny Singer is the deputy lifestyle editor for the Forward. You can reach her at Singer@forward.com or on Twitter @jeanvaljenny

The Schmooze

Henry Winkler, 72, Wins First Emmy With Ecstatic Speech Written ‘43 Years Ago’

Henry Winkler, joy and graciousness epitomized in a human body, took the stage to accept his first ever Emmy Award at 72 years old on Monday night. Winkler, nominated for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for the HBO show “Barry,” leapt to his feet when his name was called, throwing his arms around “Barry” creator and star Bill Hader.

“Oh my god! Oh my god! Okay! I only have 37 seconds — I wrote this 43 years ago,” he sputtered. “Skip Brittenham said to me a long time ago, ‘If you stay at the table long enough the chips come to you’ And tonight, I got to clear the table.” (Brittenham is a top entertainment lawyer.) “If you get a chance to work with Bill Hader or Alec Berg, run don’t walk,” he shouted, going on to thank “Barry” show writers by name. Winkler saved his most emotional thanks for his wife, Stacey Weitzman, and his children and step-son. “Jed, Zoe, and Max, you can go to bed now, daddy won!”

It’s a speech that would have been over-the-top from anyone who didn’t grow from the nation’s cool older brother to the nation’s beloved Jewish grandfather.


Oh, Fonzie! Ayyyyyyyyy, you won.

Jenny Singer is the deputy lifestyle editor for the Forward. You can reach her at Singer@forward.com or on Twitter @jeanvaljenny

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