French comedian Dieudonné, who went on trial this week accused of using antisemitic racial insults, claims that the offending section of the performance was only a joke: “l’attentat humouristique” (“humorous attack”). The charge, as previously reported by the Forward, was brought after an incident that took place during Dieudonné’s performance in Le Zenith Theater, Paris, December 22, 2008.
During that show Dieudonné invited academic and Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson to join him onstage. Faurisson was then presented with an award for “social unacceptability and insolence” by an assistant wearing striped pajamas and a yellow star with the note ‘Jew.’
Dieudonné, previously a popular mainstream comic, has achieved more recent notoriety for his increasingly irrational antisemitic and anti-American slander.
He has been repeatedly sued for inciting racial hatred, describing Jews in one newspaper interview as “former slave traders who have turned to banking, show business and, today, terrorist action” through support of Israeli policies.
In front of the tribunal this week, he claimed of the episode with Faurisson, “it was a spectacle, a humorous work, it was a game with the media, I gave them a humorous attack” before adding: “their hysteria on seeing antisemitism in everything seems to me suspicious and obscene…I am the barometer of freedom of expression.”
If found guilty of the charges held against him, Dieudonné could be sentenced to one year in prison or a fine of 10,000 euros. The tribunal will reach its decision by October 27th.
Legendary insult comedian Don Rickles took home an Emmy tonight for “Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program” for the documentary “Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project,” which is, of course, about him.
“It’s a mistake,” Rickles said. “I’ve been in the business 55 years and the biggest award I got was an ashtray from the Friar’s in New York.”
Rickles has been on a roll lately. Last year, he came out with a book, titled “Rickles’ Book,” which was, of course, about him. (Notice a pattern here?) It did quite well.
“Five weeks on the New York Times best seller list was quite a treat for me,” the octogenarian funnyman told the Atlantic City Weekly. “I call myself the Jewish Mark Twain. I never wrote anything in my life.”
Comedian Jackie Mason — former rabbi, self-proclaimed “ultimate Jew” and possessor of the world’s schmaltziest Borscht Belt accent — is topping the bill at Britain’s “Israel at 60” gala show at Wembley Arena. Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg of the New North London Synagogue, for one, thinks he’s “a terrible choice.”
Writing in Britain’s Jewish Chronicle, the rabbi explains:
His love of Israel is unquestionable. He abandoned his show to stand with the Jewish state while the Scuds descended in 1991. He will be funny and robust. He will draw the crowds and, with so much venom about Israel, solidarity matters. But solidarity with what?
The authors of the Declaration of Independence asserted that the Jewish state would “be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel”, ensuring complete equality for all its inhabitants. They espoused the same idealism as Isaiah when, in a Jerusalem surrounded by the Assyrian army, he spoke of the redeemer who would come not with the sword, but with righteousness and justice. Twenty-seven centuries later, in 1948, with Jerusalem again under siege, my father’s uncle, a jurist who had fled Nazi Germany, died for that same vision. Those values are far removed from the kind of stereotyping of which Jackie Mason’s work is full.
I think Rabbi Wittenberg is way off base: I rarely find Jackie Mason funny.
The rabbi goes on to note that Mason isn’t exactly Mr. Compassionate when it comes to his views on Israeli-Palestinian relations. Nor, I might add, is he Mr. Sensitivity when it comes to interethnic and interreligious affairs in general.
In any case, I’m sure Europeans will love his shtick. And if, perchance, they don’t, well, thankfully, their support for Israel is unshakable.
While we’re on the topic, check out Jackie Mason’s interview with the Jewish Chronicle, in which he explains how he’s like a piece of furniture, suggests that he may be bigger than Benjamin Netanyahu and shares his thoughts (if they can be called that) on the upcoming presidential election.
Among the other revelations in Heeb’s profile of Hines: Her character on “Curb” was originally supposed to be Jewish, in real life Larry apparently doesn’t dig pig, Hines learned about Passover from coloring books she bought for Rob Reiner’s kids, and some folks in the actress’s hometown of Tallahassee apparently thought she was David’s wife in real life.
Will we be seeing much more of Borat, Sacha Caron Cohen’s uproariously un-P.C. Kazakh journalist character? It seems unlikely, judging from an interview that Baron Cohen gave to The Daily Telegraph.
“When I was being Ali G and Borat I was in character sometimes 14 hours a day and I came to love them, so admitting I am never going to play them again is quite a sad thing,” Baron Cohen said. “It is like saying goodbye to a loved one. It is hard, and the problem with success, although it’s fantastic, is that every new person who sees the Borat movie is one less person I ‘get’ with Borat again, so it’s a kind of self-defeating form, really.”
No more Borat could mean less business for Baron Cohen’s lawyers, what with all the people who sued the comedian for duping them in his 2006 film, “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.”
“Since last year I’ve been sued by about 3,000 people,” said Baron Cohen. “Some of the letters I get are quite unusual, like the one where the lawyer informed me I’m about to be sued for $100,000 and at the end says, “P.S. Loved the movie. Can you sign a poster for my son Jeremy?’”
Then again, Baron Cohen has a new film in the works in which he gives his hilarious gay Austrian reporter Bruno a turn on the silver screen. So his attorneys shouldn’t kick off their wingtips just yet.
Hat tip: Max Gross
Daily News gossip Ben Widdicombe reports:
Preview copies of the next season of “The Sarah Silverman Program,” to air next month, are already raising eyebrows.
In one of the first installments, the comedian gets a rise out of wearing blackface.
“The theme is, Sarah is rejected from a club because she’s a Jew,” says a source familiar with the episode.
“She says to her black waiter, ‘There’s nothing harder than being a Jew.’ The waiter says, ‘Oh yeah? Try being black for a day.’ So they switch places.”
Let’s hope it’s funnier than when Ted Danson tried it with Whoopi Goldberg.
For one night, at least, MTV may as well have been the Jewish Television Network. Yesterday’s MTV Movie Awards had an unusually large number of young, hip celebrity Jews taking center-stage.
The show was hosted by comedian-of-the-moment Sarah Silverman, who, in typical faux-innocent fashion, mercilessly roasted Paris Hilton (conveniently in attendance). Silverman noted — to vigorous audience applause — that the hard-partying socialite was headed to jail, before lobbing an off-color barb that can’t be printed on a family blog. Of course, the camera, after each blow, cut to Paris, who did not seem pleased. For perhaps the first time ever, it was easy to feel sorry for the self-aggrandizing socialite. (Watch the video here.)