The Shmooze

Harvey Fierstein Serenades Angela Lansbury At Theater Gala

By Masha Leon

At the 2003 American Theatre Wing Gala then emcee Harvey Fierstein got a roaring reaction to his vow “I’d do anything for [then Wing’s chairman of the board] Isabelle Stevenson even wear men’s clothing.”

At this year’s gala at the Plaza honoring Dame Angela Lansbury, he brought the house down with his rendition of “The Man In The Moon” from “Mame.” The evening featuring a roster of well-wishers and performers including Broadway wunderkind producer Harold Prince who in 2013 accepted his Wings’ award from Lansbury.

During the pre-dinner mingling and red carpet Q&A I mentioned to Ms. Lansbury — whom I had seen in 1979 in” Sweeney Todd” and most recently in the 2012 revival of Gore Vidal’s “The Best Man”— that I had just seen her in a Turner Classic Movies airing of “National Velvet” in which she stars as Elizabeth Taylor’s sister. I also mentioned that in 1942, as a refugee in Canada, I had answered a movie magazine ad looking for a “young girl who is an expert horse rider and spoke English with a British accent. “ I had never ridden a horse and my English fluency was in its infancy — and so I lost out to Liz.” Lansbury laughed heartily.

Masha Leon
Angela Lansbury

Named Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire and promoted to Dame Commander in 2014, Lansbury made TV history as Jessica Fletcher in “Murder She Wrote”— the longest-running detective series in TV history.

Among the glitterati at the gala was Lansbury’s “Best Man” co-star, the extraordinary James Earl Jones. Coming off the red carpet with his stunning blonde wife Cecelia (aka Ce Ce) at his side, he was approached by a trio of young ladies with tape recorders in hand. “What was the name of the first girl you ever kissed?” they asked the multi award winning — including Lifetime Achievement Oscar-winning actor. Blinking his pale blue eyes a dumfounded Jones looked for a quick exit. “I don’t remember,” he began…. I quickly interrupted with “What was your favorite role?” He smiled and in a booming voice he declared, “Of Mice and Men.”

I greeted gala co-chair Sir Howard Stringer with “Men of Harlech” the Welsh national anthem — as I have done in the past. Chatted with Judy Collins whom I first met at the December 7, 1984 “Harold Leventhal Presents” Carnegie Hall event. Chatted with Pia Lindstrom and Broadway producers Stewart Lane, Bonnie Comley and Jim Dale who, as star of the 1980 musical “Barnum” became high-wire walking mentor to Mike Burstyn who followed in his “footsteps.”

There were performances by Glen Close, James More Inglehart, Christine Ebersole and Len Cariou. The award to Dame Lansbury was presented by Harold Prince, James Earl Jones, Sir Howard Springer and The Wing’s chairman of the Board of Trustees William Ivey Long. with the Wings’ president Heather Hichens lauded for her dedication to advancing artistic excellence and nurturing theatre’s next generation on stage, behind the scenes and in the audience. Bravo.


Saying Goodbye to Rabbi Krustofski on 'The Simpsons'

By Anne Cohen

You may have heard by now (and if not, SPOILER ALERT) that there was a tragic death on the last night’s premiere of “The Simpsons.” Rabbi Hyman Krustofski, on-and-off estranged father to Krusty the Clown, has left us for the magical shul in the sky known as “Jewish Heaven.” He was 74 years old.

Voiced by comedian Jackie Mason, Rabbi Krustofski was born and raised in the Lower East Side of Springfield (state still unknown). There, he raised a son, Herschel Shmoikel Pinchas Yerucham Krustofski — better known by his chain-smoking children’s entertainer persona, Krusty the Clown.

Like many a father before him, Krustofski’s dreams of his son following in the family business were dashed when Krusty expressed his desire to become a clown. Unable to accept his son’s decision, Hyman disowns his son and the two are estranged for many years.

(Fun fact: Jackie Mason is descended from a long line of rabbis, and broke with tradition to become an entertainer.)

It takes the combined efforts to Bart and Lisa Simpson to reconcile father and son. In 2003’s “Today I am a Clown” Krusty decides to have a midlife bar mitzvah. Hyman is thrilled — until Krusty, perpetual attention-whore, decides to televise the event in a comback bid.

“Krusty the Klown’s Wet ‘n’ Wild Bar Mitzvah” is a big hit, but Krusty decides to salvage his relationship with Hyman by having a second, more meaningful bar mitzvah at Temple Beth Springfield.

Hyman also appeared in “Once Upon a Time in Springfield,” in which he was to preside over Krusty’s 15th wedding to co-host Princess Penelope. Ultimately, the ceremony gets called off, but not before Rabbi Krustofski slips in an intermarriage joke:

“Friends, loved ones,” he says “we are gathered here today to marry a Jew and — a Congregationalist? Is that even a thing?”

Last year, “Simpsons” producer Al Jean mentioned that a character would die in the season opener. “I’ll give you a clue that the actor playing the character won an Emmy for playing that character, but I won’t say who it is,” he said. Mason won an Emmy for playing Krustofski in 1992.

As befits any Jewish patriarch, Krustofski died mid-sentence, guilt-tripping his son; his last words to Krusty were: “If you want to know my honest opinion of you, you’ve always been… eh.”


SNL's Top 10 Jewish Moments

By Jana Banin

This week marks the season premiere of “Saturday Night Live,” which is entering its 40th season. Happy birthday guys! To mark the occasion, we’ve assembled a list of our 10 all-time favorite Jewish moments on SNL (they’re like butter, so good Coffee Talk and Hanukkah Harry didn’t make the cut):

10. Saving ‘Soviet Jewelry’

Gilda Radner scores as Emily Litella on a Chevy Chase-hosted Weekend Update segment, with her classic talking-head rant trying to figure out what all the fuss is about over Soviet Jewelry.

Best line: “Save Soviet jewelry?! Where are we going to put it? I say keep it over THERE, with all their ballet dancers!”


9. Jonah Hill as Evan Grossman

Meet Evan, a 6-year-old from a broken home who frequents Benihana and communicates entirely via Borscht Belt jokes.

Best line, delivered to the chef: “I love your showmanship but careful with those knives, you’re giving me flashbacks to my bris. I don’t know if I should clap or cover my shmeckle!”


Read more


Shoes by Jews Takes the Tribe by Storm

By Maia Efrem

Are you a nice Jewish boy and want more attention when you’re out at a bar? Perhaps you want a better chance at nabbing that new job? Well, you’re in for a rude awakening. It’s a sad fact of life that members of the tribe are known to be, well, on the shorter side. Why not own it?

That’s where Shoes by Jews comes in.

These stylish, height-increasing shoes stand out from the hoards of other options, with their light and stylish designs that can add up to 3 inches to your height. And with prices ranging from $122 to $199, they won’t break the bank.

Founder Shawn Michael, 33, of San Francisco says the idea for the shoes came to him and his Jewish friends when they were out at a San Francisco bar and they realized they were all 4 to 5 inches shorter than other men there. One joke followed on the heels of another, and before Michael knew it he was 3 inches taller and changing the game for his fellow vertically challenged brethren.

With researchers at the University of Florida finding that with every extra inch of height a man could increase his yearly salary by $789, along with findings from a Rice University and the University of North Texas poll that 55% of women preferred to date taller men, looks like Shoes by Jews is here just in the nick of time to make men average or even a cut above average.

The Forward’s Maia Efrem spoke with Michael about shoes, Jews and why there it’s time to stand taller.

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Lena Dunham Backs Film About LGBTQ-Friendly Jewish Tailor

By Anne Cohen

Getty Images

Attention, suit-lovers — this one’s for you.

According to Vanity Fair, Lena Dunham will be producing an HBO documentary about Bindle & Keep, the Jewish owned and Brooklyn-based bespoke tailoring company whose custom suits and shirts have drawn a following in the transgender community.

“Three Suits” will follow Bindle & Keep clients as they go through the process of having their custom suits made, while “examining the significance of the process for a set of customers with complex gender identities.”

“We were totally blown away when Lena’s team first reached out to us—the art we practice is so specialized that it was hard to believe heavy hitters were taking an interest,” Bindle & Keep founder and owner Daniel Friedman told Vanity Fair.

Dunham’s “Girls” co-showrunner Jenni Konner will also be producing.

Curious? Read the Forward’s Q&A with Daniel Friedman here.


The 'Idiotest' Funnyman Around: An Interview with Ben Gleib

By Margaret Eby

You might know comedian Ben Gleib from his regular appearances as a round-table commentator on “Chelsea Lately,” or from his podcast, “Last Week on Earth With Ben Gleib.” Perhaps you’re familiar with his work on NBC’s “The Real Wedding Crashers” or with his stint on the same network’s “Last Comic Standing.” But now, the 36-year-old Los Angeles native and funnyman, née Ben Nathan Gleiberman, has a new title: game show host.

Named by Esquire magazine in 2007 as one of “the six comedians who could be comedy’s next big thing, ” Gleib started duties as host on Game Show Network’s new show “Idiotest,” gently and not-so-gently poking fun at contestants as he guided them through a series of brainteasers.

On a more serious note, Gleib spoke candidly about the Israeli-Palestinian war on his podcast this past summer, severely critiquing Hamas and lamenting the loss of life on both sides of the conflict.

The Forward’s Margaret Eby caught up with Gleib to chat about the end of “Chelsea Lately” and about the idiocy of everyday life.

Margaret Eby: You just appeared on the last installment of “Chelsea Lately.” What will you miss most about the show?

Ben Gleib: It was the time of my life doing “Chelsea” for the last seven years. I’ll miss the privilege of going on international television and introducing my comedy to the world. It was so immediate and unscripted and raw, and it’s such a rare thing to have. Chelsea [Handler] has the fastest wit on TV; she’s such a raw, honest and unforgiving person. It was a lot of fun to spar with her. And to take my fair share of abuse, which keeps me humble.

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VIDEO: Shimon Peres Needs a Job

By Anne Cohen

Hiring? Shimon Peres is your man.

A newly released video (in Hebrew with English subtitles) from the Peres Center for Peace has the former president seeking help from an unemployment office.

Turns out, the 91-year-old shows an impressive range of skills. from pumping gas to pizza delivery, with a skydiving session or two thrown in for good measure. Given his ability to perform these tasks with a straight face, we would settle for a Shimon Peres TV show (with your host, “Shimi P!”)

The clip, while silly and — at times— actually funny, also offers not-so-subtle messages showcasing Peres’ insights on everything from Israeli technology to the peace process.

Watch the full clip below:



Happy Hobbit Day, the Jewish Way

By Anne Cohen

Every year, a great day dawns on Middle Earth. I’m speaking of course, of September 22 — Hobbit Day, for those who didn’t grow up on a steady diet of tales of rings, angry wizards, and small creatures with big feet.

According to “The Hobbit” and “Lord of the Rings,” both Bilbo and Frodo Baggins are said to be born on September 22, though on different years (Bilbo in the year of 2890 and Frodo in the year 2968 in the Third Age —  yes, I looked it up. This is, sadly, not knowledge I carry in my brain at all times).

In addition to celebrating two of the Shire’s most adventurous citizens, Hobbit Day also launches Tolkien Week, celebrated every year since it was launched in 1978 by the American Tolkien Society.

Which brings us to the Jewish connexion. No, Frodo and Bilbo are not secret Jews (believe me, I tried to make that theory work). And as Seth Rogovoy pointed out in his review of “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”: “Sometimes, a bearded, money-grubbing dwarf is just a bearded, money-grubbing dwarf and not an evil, anti-Semitic stand-in for Jews.”

But J.R.R. Tolkien, creator of Middle Earth, Elvish, Sauron and the One Ring, was something of a Judeophile. When asked to provide verification of his Aryan status for a German publisher that wanted to put out a German translation of his work, Tolkien refused:

“I regret that I am not clear as to what you intend by arisch. I am not of Aryan extraction: that is Indo-Iranian; as far as I am aware noone (sic) of my ancestors spoke Hindustani, Persian, Gypsy or any related dialects. But if I am to understand that you are enquiring whether I am of Jewish origin, I can only reply that I regret that I appear to have no ancestors of that gifted people.”

Describing the incident to a friend, he wrote:

“Do I suffer this impertinence because of the possession of a German name, or do their lunatic laws require a certificate of arisch origin from all persons of all countries?… Personally I should be inclined to refuse to give any Bestatigung [confirmation] (although it happens that I can), and let a German translation go hang. In any case I should object strongly to any such declaration appearing in print. I do not regard the (probable) absence of all Jewish blood as necessarily honourable; and I have many Jewish friends, and should regret giving any colour to the notion that I subscribed to the wholly pernicious and unscientific race-doctrine.”

And so, on this most auspicious of days, we here at the Forward wish Frodo and Bilbo Baggins a very happy birthday! (Pro-tip: If you want to celebrate in a quiet and non-life threatening way, maybe make sure Gandalf’s invite gets lost on the way)


Rabbi Joseph Potasnik Gets Jan Karski Humanitarian Award

By Masha Leon

Welcoming the overflow crowd at the Jan Karski Humanitarian Award 2014 ceremony at the Polish Consulate honoring Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, Executive Vice President of the New York Board of Rabbis, and Polish rescuer Irena Sendler, was consul general Ewa Junczyk-Ziomecka who thanked members of the Polish-Jewish Dialogue Committee — Polish American Congress, the N.Y. Downstate Division and the Polish-Jewish Dialogue Committee —  for their dedication to their noble mission.”

Addressing an assemblage that included a sizeable number of Polish-Jewish survivors, cantor Joseph Malovany and the Forward’s publisher Samuel Norich, the consul thanked The Committee — whose members are predominantly Catholic priests and rabbis — “for their dedication to their noble mission” and amplified that “the Jan Karski Humanitarian Award ceremony is a perfect example of fruitful cooperation between Polish diaspora organizations on the one hand and American-Jewish organizations on the other.” She noted that “Pope John Paul II, who visited a synagogue in Rome and prayed at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, considered anti-Semitism a sin and called the Jews…’Christians’ brothers-in faith,’ During his papacy he encouraged a very difficult Polish-Jewish dialogue” believing that “this dialogue was necessary to overcome stereotypes and prejudices.”

Polish Children’s Choir, Consul General Ziomecka and Rabbi Potasnik // Photo by Masha Leon

Accepting the award from Rabbi Moshe Birnbaum of the Jewish Center of Kew Gardens Hills, Potasnik reflected upon the nobility of some Poles who “at a time when Poles risked their own families’ lives by helping Jews” like “the Polish Catholic family who hid Jews even when their children got scarlet fever sharing all with their Jewish charges.”

There was a video presentation of Janina Zghrzembska “ remembering her mother Irena Sendler who saved over 2500 Jewish children she smuggled out of the Warsaw Ghetto. And a delightful treat was the Holy Cross Roman Catholic Church of Maspeth Queens’ Children Choir whose beautifully articulated Polish repertoire included a song about God and David, one about Noah’s Ark and [in English] “We Are The World.” The assemblage was informed that the choir included Polish children of the Moslem faith.

The Jan Karski award is named in honor of a Polish patriot, a Catholic, and hero of the Polish Resistance, who brought news to the West of the destruction of Eastern European Jewry who had been secretly smuggled into the Warsaw Ghetto by a Zionist and a Bundist to be an eyewitness to the destruction. He is recognized at Yad Vashem as “Righteous Among Nations.”

Contributors to this event included representatives of the Flushing Jewish Community Council, Queens Jewish Historical Society, Father Witold Mroziewski, of Holy Cross Church, Maspeth, Queens and Monsignor Peter Zendzian of St. Matthias Church Ridgewood, Queens who read the invocation.

I would not be writing this were it not for a Polish peasant woman who risked her life and that of her family to hide my mother and me in her hut — next to a Nazi guard cabin! — during our flight from Warsaw. When my mother offered to pay her something she refused and said, ”It is my Christian duty.” She also told my mother that during WW I, as a young girl, someone hid her and saved her life and she felt the obligation to “return the favor.”


Apparently, Kate Hudson Sees Dead People

By Anne Cohen

Getty Images

Kate Hudson and Goldie Hawn have a very special talent — and it’s not acting.

Apparently, the Jewish mother-daughter duo spend quality time together interacting with ghosts.

The subject came up during an interview with British talk show host Alan Carr, set to air later tonight. Here are a couple of soundbites (via The Independent):

Me and my mum Goldie can see dead people,” said a dead pan Hudson.

“It is not really seeing, it is feeling a spirit; a fifth energy.”

“I believe in energy. I believe our brains can manifest into visual things.”

Cue the “Sixth Sense” memes.


4 Jewish Ways To Talk Like a Pirate

By Anne Cohen

Ahoy mateys!

Arrr ye ready? September 19 is International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Aye aye! To celebrate, we’ve rounded up some of the most fearsome Jews ever to sail the seas.

Thar be more than ye think.

1) Jean Lafitte

This French-American pirate, who sailed the Gulf of Mexico in the early 19th century, claimed Jewish ancestry through his grandparents in a journal entry. When the United States passed the Embargo Act of 1807, prohibiting American trade with England France, he smuggled tobacco and sugar into New Orleans.


2) Moses Cohen Henriques

Fueled by a thirst for revenge for the Spanish Inquisition, this Sephardic pirate helped plan one of the biggest pilferages against Spain. In 1628, Henriques and Dutch West India Co. Admiral Piet Hein, boarded a number of ships loaded with gold and silver from the New World off the coast of Cuba. The total haul was worth approximately $1 billion USD in today’s currency. According to the Jewish Journal, Henriques was never caught, and founded his own pirate colony on an island off the coast of Brazil. When the Portuguese reconquered Brazil, Henriques fell in with Henry Morgan, one of the most ruthless privateers ever to sail along the Spanish Main.


3) The Great Jew

Another Sephardic pirate — sensing a trend? Born in Spain, Sinan Reis and his family fled the Inquisition and settled in Ottoman-ruled ruled Smyrna (now Izmir, Turkey), where he sailed as a Barbary corsair under the famed admiral Hayreddin Barbarossa. His victory at the 1538 Battle of Preveza earned him the nickname “Great Jew” by the Spanish. Reis later become Supreme Ottoman naval commander. He is buried in Jewish cemetery in Albania.


4) Jerry Seinfeld, First Pirate of the ’90s

No one can rock the Puffy Shirt pirate look quite like Jerry Seinfeld. We’ll let him explain how he feels about it:



Seth Rogen Hired As Professional Blunt Roller

By Gabe Friedman

Seth Rogen can roll — Shabbos or no.

The 32-year-old Jewish actor has a new job that fits his skill set: rolling blunts for rapper Wacka Flocka Flame.

On Monday, Wacka Flocka advertised for a “blunt roller” on Instagram, offering to pay $50,000 a year.

The next day, he clarified his application instructions:


Rogen, who has starred in movies such as “Pineapple Express” and “Knocked Up” (which feature heavy marijuana use) applied for the “position” by tweeting at Wacka Flocka with the hashtag #icanroll.


There was a lot of competition on Twitter, but Rogen’s experience on and off-screen clearly paid off. And as of today, things seem to be going smoothly.


However, if Rogen doesn’t work out in the long run, Wacka Flocka’s manager told the Huffington Post that they may hire James Franco, Rogen’s Jewish on-screen partner in “Pineapple Express,” as a replacement.



Gloria Steinem to Cameo on 'The Good Wife'

By Anne Cohen

Move over, Alicia Florrick — another badass lady is coming to “The Good Wife.”

Activist and author Gloria Steinem will be making a cameo appearance on the show’s sixth season, The Hollywood Reporter reports.

Steinem will play herself and face-off with Julianna Margulies’ character in the third episode of the upcoming season.

Season six promised to be one of the most star-heavy in the show’s history: David Hyde Pierce, Taye Diggs, Steven Pasquale and Connie Nielsen are also set to make appearances. Previous seasons have seen guest stars like Bill Maher, former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg and current NYC mayor Bill de Blasio.

Steinem, a “Good Wife” fan, has only made two other cameos, including one in the “The First Wives Club” in 1996 and on a 1995 episode of “The Larry Sanders Show.”

In an appearance on Wednesday’s “Live! With Kelly and Michael”, Margulies admitted that that she was starstruck when she ran into Steinem on set. “I made a fool of myself and then had to email her and had to apologize,” she admitted.

Don’t worry Julianna — everyone is a fool where Gloria Steinem is concerned.


Melissa Rivers Thanks Fans For Support

By Reuters

Getty Images

Melissa Rivers, the only daughter of legendary comedian Joan Rivers, who died two weeks ago following complications from an outpatient throat procedure, said her mother would have been overwhelmed by the depth of love people have shown for her.

In her first statement since Rivers’ death on Sept. 4, Melissa and her teenage son, Cooper, thanked fans for the many cards, flowers, messages and condolences they have received from around the world and through social media.

“We are forever grateful for your kindness and support in continuing to honor my mother’s legacy, and for remembering the joy and laugher that she brought to so many,” she said in a message posted on the website WhoSay.

Rivers, 81, was rushed to a New York hospital on Aug. 28 after she stopped breathing during a procedure at a Manhattan clinic. She was put on life support and died a week later.

The cause of her death is still unknown pending further tests and the State Department of Health is investigating Yorkville Endoscopy, the client where she was treated.

Rivers, who was known for her raspy voice, classic put downs and numerous cosmetic surgeries, was a pioneer for women in comedy. During a career that spanned more than 50 years, she worked as a comedy sketch writer, stand-up comedian, actress, talk show host and reality TV star.

More recently she hosted the cable TV show “Fashion Police,” commenting on the red carpet choice of Hollywood celebrities. Melissa Rivers will take part in special tribute show on Friday honoring her mother.

“Fashion Police: Celebrating Joan,” a 90-minute show, will include behind-the-scenes footage of Rivers and cast members and outtakes with celebrity guests.


Mayim Bialik Hates 'Frozen,' Jewish Girls Weep

By Anne Cohen

Oh Mayim.

Mayim, Mayim, Mayim.

Why?

In a post written for her personal blog on Kveller, Mayim Bialik has disavowed the frosty fairytale and instant cult classic that captured all our hearts this year. Yes — Mayim Bialik hates “Frozen.”

In “Why My Sons and I Hate the Movie ‘Frozen,’ the “Big Bang Theory” star and (former) favorite Jewess explains her reasons. Here they are below, with some added commentary by yours truly:

1) The Lack of Female Agency

Sure, it’s sort of hidden, but the search for a man/love/Prince is still the reigning plot line in the movie, as it is with pretty much all movies for young people which are animated. The sister’s desire to marry this guy she just met, and the other sister getting mad at her — we still have a plot about the identification of a woman being based on her desire and search to meet a man … I’ve had just enough already with this finding a man business in most every kids’ movie.”

OK. Fair enough, the plot ends on a love story. But the reason that “Frozen” has garnered such positive praise is that the search for a man plays is secondary to the love between two strong-willed and powerful sisters. Being awkward, impatient, waking up with drool on your face — these are all seen as endearing (and just, well normal) aspects of life that a girl should embrace rather than hide. Anna is every girl who has made a bad decision about a man. It’s only fair that she gets her happy ending at the end.

While I don’t love the fact that there has to be a love interest in just about every movie for it to be profitable, it’s not something that will just suddenly disappear overnight. “Frozen” is one step on that path.

2) Man-bashing

“What happens in Frozen? The Prince/hero turns out to be a scheming villain. He pretended to love her and then he double crosses her and she gets the lesson taught to her not to trust those nasty scheming conniving men. Because you know, men can’t be trusted? Meh.

So, just so I understand — we’re upset that the movie centers around finding a man but also outraged that said man turns out to be an a**hole? Telling young girls that not every Prince Charming that glances their way will turn out to be that great seems like a reasonable life lesson to me. That being said, let’s not forget Kristof, that shaggy, socially inept, adorable lug of a guy that Anna ends up with at the end. There is hope for all of us.

3) Absurdly tiny waists

“My biggest problem with this movie was the way the female characters are drawn and animated,” the 38-year-old star concluded. “The male characters look like cartoon men. They have some exaggerated features, sure. But by and large, they look like they have the proportions of human beings. Not so with our lead ladies. They have ginormous eyes. Like really ridiculously big. Teeny-tiny ski slope noses … Barbie doll proportions of their bodies in general: tiny waists, ample busts, and huge heads. They look like dolls. They don’t look like the same species as the male characters even! What’s up with that?!”

This one I can get behind. Disney princesses, much like Barbie, are known for their ridiculous proportions. Case-in-point: Princess Jasmine. How can she even breathe?


Joan Rivers' Doctor Took Selfie During Surgery

By Anne cohen

Getty Images

Well this is a new low.

It seems that Joan Rivers’ doctor took a selfie with the late comedian’s unconscious body while she was under anesthesia. The 81-year-old was at Manhattan’s Yorkville Endoscopy clinic for a scheduled endoscopy by gastroenterologist Dr. Lawrence Cohen. Once that procedure ended, a biopsy was done on Rivers’ vocal cords without her consent by another doctor, according to a source in the clinic. That procedure led to the heart attack that killed her.

Though Cohen has since been let go from the clinic, the doctor responsible for the biopsy has not yet been identified.

Teary-tributes are still pouring out for Rivers, who died on August 29. Just yesterday, Jerry Seinfeld revealed that Rivers was to be a guest on the new season of “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee”:

“I just came across this heartbreaking text on my phone from August 19th. I had asked Joan Rivers to be our lead guest on the new season of Comedians in Cars, and she was thrilled. Then we got a call saying she was going in for a medical procedure and needed to postpone.” He continued: “I would have loved to have shown another side of her. I wanted to tell her how much I admire all she had accomplished, especially in the latter stages of her career. She was one of the greats. I’ll miss her.”

Fellow comedian Billy Eichner, star of “Billy on the Street,” wrote a moving essay about Rivers in the September 19/26 of Entertainment Weekly:

I’ll remember going to Joan and Melissa’s Passover seder at Melissa’s house in L.A. last year. As she led us through the traditional Passover rituals, Joan sprinkled in a few jokes about Lady Gaga amid the Hebrew prayers. It’s important to note that this was the only seder I’d ever been to where waiters in black tie served you the matzo, and certainly the only one I’d ever been to where I was seated between Rod Stewart’s manager and Lesley Ann Warren.


How About a Swastika With Your Uber?

By Rachel Delia Benaim

JPUpdates.com, DNAInfo

As if Uber hasn’t gotten enough negative press this month, the NYPD is investigating the flyers showing swastikas above the taxi app’s logo that have mysteriously appeared on Bedford Avenue, in Brooklyn.

Officer’s in NYPD’s Hate Crime Task Force division officers are investigating the flyers, posted Monday night, as a potential hate crime.

“Uber is not involved with this disgusting act of hatred” Josh Mohrer, general manager for Uber in New York, said in a statement.

As New York Magazine’s Daily Intelligencer points out, the handouts may very well be a tasteless transportation protest as opposed to an anti-Semitic hate crime. But putting up the flyers in Hasidic Williamsburg — really?

The NYPD investigation is ongoing.


Crashing Fashion Week for a Bat Mitzvah

By Anne Cohen

Marc Jacobs models walk the runway at New York Fashion Week // Getty Images

Many a preteen has done a crazy thing or two for the perfect bar/bat mitzvah.

For Chloe Cornell, that meant crashing the Marc Jacobs show at New York Fashion Week with six of her closest friends, all wearing t-shirts bearing the Chanel logo (Chloe Cornell, Coco Chanel, same dif). Apparently, the 12-year-old from Westchester County just wanted the perfect opening shot for her bat mitzvah reel.

Per The Cut

Hi, Chloe! Tell me about these photographs of you with your friends outside of the Marc Jacobs show, wearing “Chanel” shirts. My initials are CC, so for my bat mitzvah we decided to do a Chanel theme.

Did you design the shirts? My mom and I designed them. We designed different ones so it would look more interesting.

Tell me about what you were doing outside of the Marc Jacobs show. It’s was a video shoot for [the] montage for my entry video before I walk into my bat mitzvah. It’s going to play and everyone is going to see it.

Was there a script? All my friends were pretending to be my fashion followers. They’re wearing all my clothes, and I was supposed to be the fashion designer. They were outside the Marc Jacobs show, pretending they were waiting outside for my show. My videographer person was telling them a script to say that was related to my bat mitzvah and the fashion show, so it would work for both. They were like, I’m so excited! and all this stuff.

Chloe Cornell joins a growing cast of what I like to call the “Bling Mitzvah Kids.” Remember Sam Horowitz, whose burlesque-themed party involved him descending from the ceiling into a crowd of scantily-clad Vegas showgirls?

Welcome to adulthood guys.

[h/t Tablet]


Babs Is Back on 'Tonight Show' — 51 Years Later

By Anne Cohen

Yesterday marked Barbara Streisand’s big return to the “Tonight Show.”

Why is this a big deal? Well, the last time Babs appeared on the show (with Johnny Carson as host), Kennedy was president, America had never heard of the Beatles and the Berlin Wall was still something new. In 1963, and the singer was just 21 years old, with two fresh grammies under her belt for her first album — “The Barbra Streisand Album.”

51 years later, the host is Jimmy Fallon, and Babs, well, is still very much Babs. The two celebrated Streisand’s new album, “Partners,” by singing a medley of duets, with Fallon channeling Elvis Presley, Blake Shelton and John Legend.

He even tried to sneak a kiss.

Check out the clip below:


The Luck of the Yiddish: 'Godot' At First Irish NYC Theater Fest

By Masha Leon

Mingling with the guests at the Origins First Irish Theatre Festival Launch party I spotted Yoel and Avram Weisshauss — two bearded Satmars.

I asked in Yiddish: “Vos epes. farvos zaynd ir do?” (“Why are you here?”) Both answered me with a Yiddish-style shrug.

Held at Mutual of America’s Park Avenue headquarters and hosted by its CEO Thomas Moran, speakers included Origin Theatre Company’s artistic director George Heslin and newly appointed to New York Ireland’s consul general Barbara Jones whose brogue articulation added linguistic charm to the event.

In its seven-year history, Origin — the world’s only all Irish theatre festival —  has presented works by 100 Irish writers and this year — an historic Yiddish production of “Waiting for Godot.”

While Yiddish Godot director Moshe Yassur and cast member David Mandelbaum mingled with guests enjoying a fabulous buffet table, an excited Shane Baker was besieged by admirers and ecstatic about its inclusion as “a new play” in the competition of the Northern Ireland 2014 Origins First Irish Festival in Dublin.

Shane Baker, David Mandelbaum and Yoel Weisshaus // Photo by Masha Leon

Shane — who translated Godot into Yiddish and starred in its original run in New York City last year — as well as in its current production in New York — beamed: “They gave us the theater at the Portora School (founded in 1608 by James I of England) where Beckett and Oscar Wilde had gone to school! The first night there were eight people. The second—seventeen. On Saturday, the house was full. We had ten performances—more than any other show [in the festival] . We had seats in the hall!” Among the theatergoers, Beckett’s nephew Edward Beckett.

At “Godot’s” return to New York as part of the Festival, there have been post-performance panel discussions with, among others, Yiddish theater maven and author Nahma Sandrow and, as I was told, one lady confessing “This is my third time seeing it!.”

As for Yoel and Avram — never got a clear answer as to why they were there — but ever smiling, they were the darlings of the photo corps posing with all the principals and guests.

You can still relish the amazing Yiddish “Godot” experience at the Barrow Street Theatre (212) 868-444 September 18, 19 and 20th at 7:30 with a final performance on September 21 at 2 p.m. For the Yiddish challenged there are superb super titles…. and oh, such tam!


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