The Shmooze

Zac Efron Proves He's Jewish By Unzipping

By Anne Cohen

Zac Efron is Jewish. Really. He can prove it.

In fact, he did.

In a new video for Comedy Central’s “Workaholics,” Efron and Seth Rogen (his co-star in “Neighbors”) interview for a job with Adam (Adam DeVine), Blake (Blake Anderson) and Ders (Anders Holm).

“I think if you add a Jewish person, you’d probably be more edgy because you’d have a minority in your group,” Rogen says, in an effort to play the diversity card.

And then Efron drops the bombshell: Diversity, shmiversity — he’s Jewish too.

The guys then pressure Efron to prove it, chanting: “We’ve got to see that d–k. We’ve got to see that d–k.”

Which he then does, saying: “There, see? Full circumcised.”

Reaction: “Oh my god, it’s amazing. It is f–king gorgeous,” Rogen says. “Did Leonardo Di Vinci circumcise you? It’s beautiful. Your balls have a six-pack! Put it away! Put it away, it’s too nice!”

Watch the full clip above.

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James Franco Calls Out New York Times Critic

By Anne Cohen

James Franco is good at lot of things (acting, directing, teaching, writing, selfies) but taking criticism isn’t one of them.

The actor took to Instagram to post a positive review by Variety praising “Of Mice and Men,” in which he currently stars with Chris O’Dowd. He also used the opportunity to call New York Times theater critic Ben Brantley “a little bitch.”

Brantley had apparently called the play a “respectable, respectful and generally inert revival” of the John Steinbeck classic.

The comment has since been deleted but here’s a screenshot, per Gawker (also included in Franco’s instarant):

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Does Grover Speak Yiddish?

By Masha Leon

It was Elmo, cameras, and applause at WNET’s Annual Gala at Cipriani 42nd Street at which community leaders, philanthropists and celebrated personalities toasted the innovative partnerships, which have brought cutting edge programming to millions for decades.

Emceed by husband-wife team Deborah Roberts, correspondent for ABC News’ 20//20 and Al Roker co-host of NBC News’ Today Show, honorees Kathryn and Kenneth Chenault and Cheryl [a vice chairman of WNET ‘s Board) and Philip Milstein were lauded by WNET Board Chairman James Tisch “for their significant efforts and civic contributions.”

“For years WNET has pioneered programming and cultivated partnerships that have enriched the cultural landscape of the New York community and beyond,” Neal Shapiro WNET president and CEO told the 350 guests who helped raise $2.7 million. “Collaborating with community leaders, organizations and supporters dedicated to our mission…is what ensures a dynamic and fertile future for the station for years of growth to come.”

Karen Leon
Tony Bennett

Adding pizzazz to the evening’s Red Carpet blitz were Tony Bennett (who did NOT sing but posed with Elmo,), Charlie Rose (a past honoree) tennis legend Billie Jean King, filmmaker Abigail Disney (granddaughter of Walt Disney), Merryl Tisch, and Cookie Monster.

Mentally revisiting WNET’s decades’ long intellectually –enriching, entertainment feasts, I realized how bereft we’d all be without its TV buffet whose eclectic menu included “Masterpiece Theater,” “Nova,” “Nature;” such musical extravaganzas as “Live from Lincoln Center,” “Live Performances” plus conscience-ticklers such as: ”The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow,”(2002) and “Srebnica — A Cry from the Grave” (1999).

Though since its launch in 1969 Muppets now have multi-language worldwide provenance, at the December 10, 2007 National Yiddish Theatre-Folksbiene Benefit at New York’s Manhattan Center, longtime “Sesame Street” host and recording artist Bob McGrath accompanied by Grover was among a roster of stellar guests. These included Peter Yarrow of Peter Paul and Mary renown and Bebe Neuwirth, yet it was Grover’s hand that adult and senior guests wanted to shake and pose with for photographs. Someone asked the Grover if he spoke Yiddish. No doubt a joke. Puzzled, Grover looked at McGrath — McGrath looked at Grover and both shook their heads. “Not to worry,” said a guest. “[They] speak international.”

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Celebrities, They're Just Like Us: Passover Edition

By Anne Cohen


For once, it doesn’t matter if you live in an L.A. mega-mansion or a tiny New York apartment – you’ve still got to clean out your hametz. A happy Passover from all your favorite Jewish celebrities.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: william shatner, twitter, tavi gevinson, mayim bialik, jewish, jon favreau, celebrities, Passover2 2014

Mila Kunis, Best (Pregnant) Villain

By Anne Cohen

Getty Images

Mila Kunis puts the va-va-voom in villain. And now, everybody knows it.

The 30-year-old actress looked amazing as she accepted the golden popcorn for Best Villain in “Oz the Great and Powerful” during last night’s MTV Movie Awards.

“Listen, you guys, you just made my 12-year-old self dream come true,” she said. “This is by far the coolest award and I just realized I was the only woman nominated and I won!”

Kunis and fiance Ashton Kutcher, 36, are reportedly expecting their first child ). Though the couple has kept silent on the subject, multiple sources confirmed the news in late March.

The name game hasn’t started yet, but RadarOnline reported in December that the two planned on raising their prospective children in the Jewish tradition (Kunis is a Ukrainian Jew).

Pregnancy agrees with you, Mila. Keep rocking it.

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Russian Billionaire Books 111 Hotel Rooms for Israel Passover Bash

By Anne Cohen

Roman Abramovich intends to celebrate Passover in style.

For the Jewish Russian billionaire, this involves booking 111 hotel rooms in a Negev desert hotel, to celebrate the holidays with friends and family. Quaint. Understated. Intimate.

Abramovich is a repeat Passover bash offender. In 2009, he rented an entire floor of the Royal Beach Hotel in Eilat.

The Chelsea soccer club-owner will be occupying the Beresheet Hotel from Sunday to Thursday next week, and plans to hold a traditional Seder banquet in a large tent in the desert.

The Times of Israel reports that this latest seder adventure will cost Abramovich roughly $450,000. Apparently, he wanted to get a “feel for the desert in the area where the story of the Jewish Exodus from Egypt took place.”

I’m sure a lavish desert tent party is exactly what Moses had in mind.

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Watch the Trailer For Zach Braff's 'Wish I Was Here'

By Anne Cohen

Jewish indie fans, rejoice!

The teaser trailer for Zach Braff’s Kickstarter-funded movie, “Wish I Was Here,” is, well, here.

The film tells the story of a father (Braff), who pulls his kids out of Jewish day school after his father (Mandy Patinkin) gets sick and can no longer foot the bill. The movie, reportedly inspired by Braff’s own “very strong Conservative/Orthodox upbringing,” also stars Kate Hudson and Josh Gad.

The trailer doesn’t reveal much, but it promises a movie filled with whimsy (pink wig!), and a “Garden State” redux soundtrack.

What’s that song, you ask? Come on. It wouldn’t be Zach Braff without the Shins.

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Lena Dunham Celebrates Her Sister in Moving Speech

By Anne Cohen

Lena Dunham gave a moving speech on Monday night, when she was honored by the Point Foundation, an organization devoted to helping LGBTQ students overcome obstacles.

Speaking at the New York Public Library, the creator and star of “Girls” thanked her family and her sister, Grace, who came out at age 17.

“I have always felt a strong and emotional connection to members of the LGBTQ community. It was actually a huge disappointment for me, when I came of age and realized that I was sexually attracted to men. So when my sister came out, I thought, ‘Thank God, someone in this family can truly represent my passions and beliefs.’

My sister Grace coming out as a gay woman at age 17 was a huge turning point for me in my understanding of the issues facing LGBTQ people. We were raised in an environment—the art world of downtown Manhattan—where no one hid their sexual orientation, and a common question from four-year-old me was ‘Mom, are those ladies gay together?’ I was always very jealous of any child who had two dads. And because of our parents’ deeply held commitment to acceptance and equality, my sister’s process of coming to terms with her sexuality was as angst-free as anything involving sex can really be. She was assured by the adults in her life that she was not only accepted, but adored for who she is. I am so happy that this is the way she was able to enter the world as a woman and an LGBTQ person.”

According to Vanity Fair, Dunham donated $25,000 to the Point Foundation.

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Scarlett Johansson Really Hates Her Nickname

By Anne Cohen

Uh oh. Turns out we’ve all committed a major faux-pas when it comes to Scarlett Johansson. And no, it’s not questioning her political correctness over the SodaStream debacle.

In an interview for the April cover of Glamour, the 29-year-old actress complained that she really, really hates it when the media calls her ScarJo.

“I associate that name with, like, pop stars. ‘It sounds tacky. It’s lazy and flippant … There’s something insulting about it,” she said.

Point taken.

So, on behalf of all media, I want to formally apologize to JLo, JLaw, KStew, the Biebz and anyone else we’ve bestowed a character-saving nickname upon — you know, the age of Twitter and all that.

It’s not the first time Johansson has come out against her moniker. In 2012, she told USA Today: “It’s a laziness … People can’t actually say the whole name? It’s just bizarre … so Cate Blanchett is not, like, ‘CaBla’? Why is that? Why do I have to get stuck with [ScarJo]?”

It’s because we love you. Promise.

Which Jewish celebrity names can we butcher next? I vote for NPort.

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Paul Stanley Calls KISS Members Anti-Semitic

By Anne Cohen

Turns out there was a lot going on behind all that KISS makeup.

In his new memoir, “Face the Music: A Life Exposed,” KISS frontman Paul Stanley (born Stanley Eisen) recounts that band member Ace Frehley had a collection of Nazi memorabilia.

The New York Post also reports that Stanley accuses both Frehley and Peter Criss of resenting himself and Gene Simmons (born Chaim Witz in Israel) for their dominant roles in the creation process (and probably because they’re the only two whose names you remember).

“As a result, the two of them tried to sabotage the band — which, as they saw it, was unfairly manipulated by [us] money-grubbing Jews.”

Stanley added that these accustations of anti-Semitism were “based on years and years of interactions.”

Frehley’s rep. blew off the claims: “Let’s just say that Paul is trying to sell some books,” Frehley’s manager, Dave Frey, told The Huffington Post. “It’s definitely not true.”

For more glam-rock inside dish, check out Stanley’s book, available April 8.

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Peaches Geldof Dies at 25

By Anne Cohen

Peaches Geldof, daughter of Bob Geldof and Paula Yates, has been found deadin her home. She was 25.

The police, called to an address in the village of Wrotham, Kent, released a statement saying they were treating the death as “unexplained and sudden.”

Though not Jewish herself, the writer and presenter was married to musician Thomas Cohen, with whom she had two sons, Astala, one, and Phaedra, who will turn one at the end of April. The English heiress was also spotted wearing a magen david at a fashion event in London last week.

“My beloved wife Peaches was adored by myself and her two sons,” Cohen said in a statement.

“I shall bring them up with their mother in their hearts everyday. We shall love her forever.”

Her father, who confirmed her death, added: “We are beyond pain. She was the wildest, funniest, cleverest, wittiest and the most bonkers of all of us.”

“What a beautiful child. How is this possible that we will not see her again? How is that bearable?”

Her last tweet, posted Sunday, was a picture of herself as a baby with her mother.

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Buzzfeed, Torah-Style

By Anne Cohen

Have you ever scrolled through Buzzfeed thinking, ‘If only this could be a little more Jewish?”

Someone in the wide netherworld of the Internet has heard your prayers and answered them. The result is BuzzTorah, a spoof of the news site that launched a thousand listicles created by Yeshiva University students.

The website self-describes as a “Torah and Jewish Life website featuring quick and comprehensive content like lists, pictures, GIFs, and short articles. We believe the internet can be a strong tool capable of affecting change and spreading Jewish values.”

Some of the content — like “7 Charosets from Around the World” —  could actually be featured on Buzzfeed, which has been known to publish a Jewish-themed article or two (“35 Signs You Were Raised By a Jewish Mother,”, “32 Things Jewish Girls Can’t Resist, “ and “The Official Ranking of the 51 Hottest Jewish Men in Hollywood,” being recent examples).

But BuzzTorah’s appeal comes from the posts that most average BuzzFeed users wouldn’t quite relate to. “5 Rashis You Don’t Want to Miss This Week,” for example, is touted as “Rashi always has great stuff to say. Here, we choose 5 of his commentaries that you don’t want to miss.”

The Orthodox-geared website ironically gained mass attention when Buzzfeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith, himself a member of the tribe, tweeted out a link on April 4.

Once you’ve delved into Rashi’s mind, you might want to know where he came from. For that, try “15 Ancient Cities of our Sages Revisited”.

Is your mom bugging you about those Skittles you’ve been chowing down on? Show her “9 Greatest Things to Become Kosher in the 21st Century,” (and get some new snack ideas in one fell swoop.)

The list(icle) goes on and on.

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Introducing JCrush, the Kosher Tinder

By Anne Cohen

There’s a new Jewish dating app in town. And it’s like Tinder. For Jews.

Launched about a month ago, JCrush uses similar location-tracking technology as Tinder. According to the Jewish Chronicle, the app now boasts over 5,000 users in the U.S., Israel, the U.K. and Australia.

“The global Jewish community lacked a modern tool that specifically catered to its demographic with a way to connect,” founder Sonya Kreizman, 28, told the Jewish Chronicle. “I believe that having an app at your fingertips will revolutionize the way Jewish singles meet.”

According to Kreizman — who developed the app with 38-year-old Israeli entrepreneur Itay Koren — JCrush stands out from the pack of similar dating devices because of its uniquely Jewish features.

When users view a match, they have the following options: Oy Vey! (no way) Maybe, (self-explanatory) or Crush (it’s on).

Referring to the “maybe” option, Kreizman added: “We made that because the Jewish pool is limited. It allows you to go away and think about someone and look around before deciding if you like them.”

Basically, it’s the online equivalent of your mother telling you: “Try it out. What’s the worst that can happen?”

JDate better watch its back.

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Regina Spektor Welcomes Baby Boy

By Jana Banin

(JTA) — Mazel tov to Regina Spektor on the birth of her son — on keeping the details and photo evidence away from the prying eyes of the media (although we have to admit we’re dying to see a shot of the munchkin).

The only public proof that the Jewish songstress and her musician husband Jack Dishel recently brought a life into this world is a cheery post from Spektor’s Facebook page.

“Hi everyone! I wanted to let you know that Jack and I have been happily hanging out with our new little son and that all is going great!” she wrote.

If you’re hoping for more info soon, you’ll be disappointed.

“As you may have noticed, we’re pretty private so we won’t be posting any pictures or updates about him….but we can report that he’s super CUTE!!!” she added.

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Muppets and Bar Refaeli Too Racy for Israeli TV

By Jana Banin

(JTA) — A risqué ad featuring Bar Refaeli in bed with a purple, mustachioed Muppet has been banned from running before 10 p.m. in the holy land, Walla!, Israel news website reports. Per a governmental council called The Second Authority for Television and Radio, the ad for local fashion brand Hoodies has “too many sexual insinuations” to be seen during prime time.

The spot opens with a post-coital shot of the Israeli super model and her puppet friend, a guy named Red Orbach, with whom many Israelis are already familiar. For some background on the swarthy Muppet, we turn to The Hollywood Reporter:

The character Red Orbach emerged locally from an all-puppet classic rock group called Red Band and his stereotypical persona is that of an aging 1960s American rocker. This past year, Red Orbach co-hosted late-night The Red & Dvir Show with actor Dvir Benedek on Channel 2’s franchiser ReshetBroadcasting.

Anyway, the purple rocker/TV host/skilled lover goes on to imagine what it would be like to be dating not one, but THREE Refaelis. This involves sexy scenes from a car wash (referred to here as a “Bar wash”), a photo booth and a game of strip poker.

R-rated, weird or both? You decide.

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The JDate Haggadah

By Anne Cohen

Do you want your Seder to be “the talk of the town through the end of 5774?”

Of course you do. And JDate has your back (though you may have to cling to the thought that “all publicity is good publicity”).

For the second year in a row, the online answer to all Jewish mothers’ hopes and dreams has come up with its very own Passover haggadah, available on iTunes and as an iBook, compatible with smartphones and tablets, for the hip Jewish single on the go.

So, how is this haggadah different from all other haggadahs, you may ask? Well…

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Pat Robertson Says Jews Don't Mow Lawns

By Anne Cohen

Pat Robertson has succeeded where thousands of years of Elders of Zion-style conspiracy theorists have failed.

He’s figured out why Jews are all so darn successful.

It’s simple, the televangelist explained in a recent discussion with Rabbi Daniel Lapin, head of the American Alliance of Jews and Christians — Jews don’t tinker with their cars or mow their own lawns, which leaves them with all the time in the world to pursue their true passion: Polishing diamonds.

Whew. Glad we cleared that up. Now back to counting my gold dubloons.

[h/t Gawker]

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Sorry Guys, No Amy Winehouse Hologram Tour

By Jana Banin

(JTA) — If you thought rumors of a concert tour featuring a hologram version of the late Amy Winehouse seemed too good to be true — or perhaps creepy — you would be correct.

Last week, the UK newspaper The Sun reported that billionaire Alki David was planning to use 3-D computer technology plus an orchestra to bring the singer back to the stage.

The same high-tech method was used to resurrect murdered rapper Tupac Shakur for the Coachella festival in 2012. Unfortunately for Winehouse fans, her dad, Mitch, who controls her image, made it very clear on Twitter they won’t get to watch her perform “live” anytime soon.

Sorry, guys.

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This Is What Joan Rivers' Bedroom Looks Like

By Anne Cohen

Joan Rivers is the Queen of Mean. And we love her for it.

But for all of her “Fashion Police” style dos and don’ts, the snarky diva made one heck of a decor faux-pas when she designed this particular room.

Picture courtesy of Christie’s Images, Ltd. 2014.

Yikes.

On the off-chance that frothy pink upholstery is your thing, head on over to Chrisitie’s New York on April 1-2, where property from Rivers’ country house in Connecticut will be up for auction. This particular monstrosity can be yours for the low, low estimated price of $2,000-3,000.

[h/t Vanity Fair]

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Julianna Margulies Can Really Lay on The 'Jew Guilt'

By Jana Banin

What to do when a key player on your hit series has one foot out the door? Invoke your bubbe at her most manipulative. At least that’s the route “The Good Wife” star Julianna Margulies took when trying to convince co-star and friend Josh Charles to stay on the show, Entertainment Weekly reports.

Last night at a Charlie Rose-moderated panel discussion, the conversation turned to Charles and his ”Good Wife” contract, which expired at the end of the fourth season. Charles was feeling “fried” and ready for something new. Well, that didn’t exactly sit well with Margulies.

“I called Josh, and I gave him terrible Jew guilt,” the Jewish actress said. “I knew he was about to get married and I said, ‘Josh, how about this? Fifteen episodes? Think about it. Money in the bank for 15 episodes. You’re about to get married. Do you know how expensive it is to have a baby in New York?’ I went right to the kid thing.”

And the school thing: “We were looking at kindergarten for our son at the time, and I was like, ‘Do you know how much private school is in New York?’ I went on this whole thing about kids and family, and he was like, ‘Well, 15? Let me think about that.’ And I said, ‘And two directing slots!’

It worked. Now Margulies can start pressuring her friends to make that baby.

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