Tag Archives: Joan Rivers

Does Sarah Silverman Have a Point About Hollywood’s “Jewface” Problem?

In today’s media environment, representation is key. After too many years of the Caucasian, Christian, heterosexual male dominating our screens, the call for diversity has only gotten louder and will continue to do so.

Last week, comedian and actress Sarah Silverman called out Hollywood for “Jewface“. In laymen’s terms, it is when a non-Jewish actor plays a Jewish character (ala Kathryn Hahn playing Joan Rivers in the upcoming biopic). Her description of this phenomenon is as follows:

“It’s defined as when a non-Jew portrays a Jew with the Jewishness front and center, often with makeup or changing of features, big fake nose, all the New York-y or Yiddish-y inflection. And in a time when the importance of representation is seen as so essential and so front and center, why does ours constantly get breached even today in the thick of it?”

In response to Silverman’s comments, actor Tony Shalhoub, who plays Rachel Brosnahan’s father in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, (neither of whom are Jewish) said the following:

“We were trained to — at least I was — to not play myself, to play characters and so it’s troubling to me that they’re limiting actors.”

He is right. An actor’s job is to pretend to be someone else. As long as they can play the role, it shouldn’t matter what their ethnicity or family background is. The problem is that too often, a character who is a minority is either ground down to the base stereotype or the actor is Caucasian, but the person they are playing is a POC.

I think she has a point. The problem as I see it is both in casting and the writing. If every performer was hired solely based on their race, religion, or where their ancestors came from, dramatized fiction would be severely limited. While it would be nice to see a Jewish actor playing a Jewish character, I have to be realistic. For me, it comes down to the script. The person I am seeing on screen must be fully drawn. If the writer(s) rely on how they think a Jewish person (or anyone) thinks or feels without making them human, that is where the problem lies.

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Filed under Misc, Writing

Flashback Friday-Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best? (2011-2014)

Mothers and daughters, if we are lucky, have a rock solid relationship.

Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best? aired from 2011-2014. This reality show took the viewer in the lives and careers of the late Joan Rivers and her daughter Melissa.

It was a standard reality show whose focus is the private lives of celebrities. What made it slightly stand out was it’s stars. There was only one Joan Rivers, which helped in a genre that is mostly brain dead.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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Filed under Flashback Friday, Television, TV Review

Throwback Thursday-Fashion Police (2010-2017)

Some might argue that Hollywood fashion is nothing but a waste of time. There are more important things to deal with than critiquing the clothing of Hollywood celebrities. But for others, it was appointment television.

Fashion Police aired on E! from 2010 to 2017. This weekly television program was hosted by a number of on air commentators (among them the late Joan Rivers) who discussed and critiqued the clothing worn by celebrities.

What made this show fun was not just the fashion being discussed, but how irreverent and funny the show was. Not taking themselves too seriously, the hosts had fun, as did the audience.

Do I recommend it? I am leaning toward yes.

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Filed under Television, Throwback Thursday, TV Review

The Book of Joan: Tales of Mirth, Mischief, and Manipulation Book

The mother-daughter relationship is a unique and complicated relationship.

In 2016, TV personality Melissa Rivers published The Book of Joan: Tales of Mirth, Mischief, and Manipulation, a memoir about her relationship with her late comedian mother, Joan Rivers.

Joan Rivers was not an ordinary mother. She was mouthy, un-pc like at moments, uninhibited and walked over boundaries as if they were nothing. But she loved her daughter fiercely. In this non-linear memoir, Melissa tells the story of her mother’s life and their unconventional relationship as only she can.

I really enjoyed reading this book. It gives the reader an insight to Joan Rivers as only her daughter can.

I recommend it.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Feminism, History, Television

Flashback Friday-Muppets Take Manhattan

There are some movies that are so much a part who we are as people, that the moment we sit down to watch it, we are taken back to that place and time.

One of these movies, for me at least is Muppets Take Manhattan, premiering in 1984. The Muppets have a musical in which they want to take to Broadway. But, as anyone who has tried to make it on the great white way will tell you, constant rejection is par for the course.

In addition to the cast of Muppet characters that we all know and love, this movie is filled with cameos. Linda Lavin, Joan Rivers, Liza Minnelli, Gregory Hines, Brooke Shields, etc.

How do I love this movie and recommend it? Let me count the ways…..

 

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Filed under Flashback Friday, Movie Review, Movies

RIP Joan Rivers

Joan Rivers died today at the age of 81.

Born Joan Molinsky, she was a barrier breaker and an icon. Gutsy, honest and ball breaking to the point of being almost rude or insensitive to some, she passes into history as a legend.

She was widely known for her red carpet and fashion commentaries with her daughter, Melissa.

The clip above is from my earliest memory of her, a cameo that she had in 1984 movie, Muppets Take Manhattan.

Sometimes, we don’t see the trailblazers until they are no longer with us. Joan was without a doubt a trailblazer. Without her influence, we would not have the women in comedy that we do today.

My thoughts and prayers are with those who knew her best.

RIP.

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Good Job, World (Not!)

Dear World

While you were pointing the fingers at Israel and making all sort of accusations, you were ignoring the real human rights abuses.

  • Christians in certain Middle Eastern countries are facing an agonizing decision. Convert to Islam or die.
  • The Yazidi’s, an ethnic minority have been forced out of their homes by ISIS. The lucky ones have escaped to the mountains, where they are receiving airdropped supplies from the United States. The rest have been kidnapped or killed.
  • Lebanon continues to take in more Syrian refugees.
  • The girls kidnapped in the spring by Boko Haram have not been returned to their families.
  • The LGBT community in Uganda have seen an anti-gay ruling overturned, but that does not mean they are free to live as they wish.

Shall I go on?

Israel is not perfect and never will be. The government is run by human beings, as imperfect and susceptible to mistakes anyone else in the world is.  However, it is the only legitimate democracy in that region. All citizens have the same rights and are equal in the eyes of the law, regardless of the labels they use to define themselves .

To the celebrities  and journalists who mindlessly use their status and social media to spread the lies, I suggest you do your research. To my co-religionists who either remain silent or have supported the Palestinians, I would like to remind you that the Hamas charter clearly states that one of their objectives is to kill the Jews and destroy Israel. Not some Jews, but ALL Jews. Their goal is to complete what the Nazis started 70 years ago.

I’m going to end this post with the video below, because Joan Rivers, in her own Joan Rivers way, hit’s the nail on the head.

Sincerely

A concerned world citizen

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