Jewish actors grace the small and big screens this summer

By Nate Bloom

TV Catch-Up

The original Showtime series, “I’m Dying Up Here,” premiered on June 4. The first episode is free to view on the Showtime website. The show is set in 1970s, with the action centering around a Hollywood comedy club, Goldie’s, modeled a great deal after “The Comedy Store.” That L.A. club was founded by MITZI SHORE, now 86, and  the mother of comedian PAULY SHORE, 49.

 Like Shore, Goldie (Melissa Leo) rules her club with an iron hand. She doesn’t pay comics anything, but she has a great eye for talent and bringing comics along—from playing her cellar, to, when she thinks they’re ready, the club’s main stage. The pay-off is experience and Goldie’s sway with talent bookers—bookers who can turn an unknown into a star overnight with the right TV booking (especially “The Tonight Show” starring Johnny Carson).

 Goldie, we learn early on, is Jewish. Two Jewish comedians are prominent characters: Eddie, a comic from Boston (Michael Angarano) and Cassie Feder (ARI GRAYNOR, 34), a funny Jewish woman from a small Texas town. Graynor is a great talent who may have finally found the right vehicle to turn her into a star (her character is largely modeled after comedian ELAYNE BOOSLER, now 64).   

 On June 13, Netflix began streaming a recorded version of the stage play, “Oh, Hello on Broadway.” It stars comedian NICK KROLL, 39, and John Mulaney as two elderly men and features a lot of improvisation. Kroll and Mulaney have playing these characters for over a decade,  introducing them first in “Comedy Central” sketches and then touring them (in “Oh, Hello”) to packed theaters in 2015. This acclaim propelled “Oh, Hello” into a Broadway theater last fall. The duo did a bit of comic shtick at the recent Tonys.

 On June 23, Netflix begins streaming “Glow,” a new series. It stars ALISON BRIE, 34, as Ruth, an out-of-work actress who seeks stardom by entering the glitz-and-spandex world of 1980s pro-woman wrestling. Ruth and 11 other Hollywood misfits are managed by a washed-up Hollywood “B” movie director (MARC MARON, 53).

 Comedian T.J. MILLER has had a huge career boost in the last few years: He co-starred in the mega-hit “Deadpool (playing Jack Hammer/the Weasel)—and everyone loved his performance as the wacky tech entrepreneur Erlich Bachman in “Silicon Valley” on HBO. His first HBO stand-up special (“Meticulously Ridiculous”) began airing on June 17. Miller, 36, shocked “Silicon Valley” fans when he announced in late May that he was leaving the show at the end of its current, fourth season (June 25). It’s his choice, he said. He wasn’t written out of the show. His explanation?: “It’s just the time to go.” 

At the Movies

“Rough Night” is a very Tribe-heavy black comedy, which opened last Friday (June 16). The plot: Things go badly for five old girlfriends at a rowdy bachelorette party when one of them accidentally kills a male stripper. The friends are played by SCARLETT JOHANSSON, 32, ZOE KRAVITZ, 28, ILANA GLAZER, 30 (co-star of “Broad City”), Jillian Bell and Kate McKinnon. 

 “The Little Hours,” co-starring the busy Alison Brie, and DAVE FRANCO, 32, opens in limited theater release on June 30. This comic romp is set in a medieval nunnery. Brie plays a nun who is very bored and looking for irreligious fun. Franco plays a new, “hot” groundskeeper who pretends to be deaf. “Hours” got good reviews at Sundance. Brie and Franco, the children of Jewish mothers, wed last March.

Hall-of-Famers in Israel 

Eighteen members of the Pro Football Hall-of-Fame arrived in Israel on June 15 for a week-long stay (read more on page 7). The delegation was lead by New England Patriots owner ROBERT KRAFT, 76, a big supporter of American football in Israel. They were scheduled to view Israeli high school football games, greet American and Israeli fans, and answer their questions in “break-out” meetings.  

 The 18 included household names like Joe Montana, Jim Brown, and Roger Staubach. Marshall Faulk, a St. Louis Rams star player from 1999-2005 was a delegation member. There was one Jewish Hall-of-Famer among the 18: ANDRE TIPPETT, 57, a great Patriots’ linebacker from 1982-1993 and currently the Patriots’ Community Affairs Director. An African-American who was raised Baptist, Tippett converted to Judaism in 1998.  In 2009, his daughter had her bat mitzvah in Jerusalem.

Email columnist Nate Bloom at [email protected].