Home
In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 16, 2006 / 16 Adar, 5766

Humorless Hollywood: A post-script on Jon Stewart at the Oscars

By Julia Gorin


Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Did Jon Stewart actually get some negative reviews for his brilliant Oscar night performance? While I'm not normally a fan, I found Stewart to be the funniest, smartest Academy Awards host since Bob Hope. Many were expecting a night of jokes ridiculing the current administration in Washington, but Stewart went in precisely the opposite direction and turned the tables on Hollywood.


What we found out is that while Hollywood expects straight, white, middle-class Americans to laugh at themselves every time they step into a theater, the glitterati couldn't even laugh at themselves for one night. When critics say Stewart's jokes fell flat, the blame belongs with the not-so-sharp, humorless audience.


Steven Spielberg is probably considered among the more intelligent people in the Hollywood community, yet he couldn't even appreciate Ben Stiller's self-effacing sarcasm when the latter came out as a disembodied head atop a not-so-special-effect green suit and said, "This is blowing Spielberg's mind." Spielberg actually answered, "No, it's not." This didn't bode well for the rest of the evening's far more intelligent humor from Stewart.


The first surprise political joke was: "The Oscars is really, I guess, the one night of the year where you could see all your favorite stars without having to donate any money to the Democratic Party. And it's exciting for the stars as well. This is the first time many of you have ever voted for a winner."


For Red Americans, this was not only refreshing, but jaw-dropping. Then Stewart hit us with "Capote addressed very similar themes to 'Good Night, and Good Luck.' Both films are about determined journalists, defying obstacles in a relentless pursuit of the truth. Needless to say, both are period pieces." He even got the journalists! Then back to the glitterati:


"A lot of people say this town is too liberal. Out of touch with mainstream America. An atheistic pleasure dome. A modern-day beachfront Sodom and Gomorrah. A moral black hole. Where innocence is obliterated in an endless orgy of sexual gratification and greed. I don't really have a joke here. I just thought you should know a lot of people are saying that."


Nor did Stewart shy away from broaching "the Jewish thing." First it came in a fun cultural context that the non-Jewish majority in Hollywood isn't normally exposed to: "Now I know the Three 6 Mafia is gonna get into it with Itzhak Perlman's posse. I know it. And then they have only one way to solve it: dreidel-off." Then came the dark humor: "Steven Spielberg is here. ...From the man who also gave us Schindler's List. Schindler's List, and Munich. I think I speak for all Jews when I say I can't wait to see what happens to us next! I'm thinking, 'Trilogy!'"


Despite the common wisdom that "Jews run Hollywood," these jokes qualify as risky because they actually "outed" Hollywood Jews, who generally like to hide among the stunning gentiles and hip ethnics who stud their world yet still aren't too sure what a Jew is. (We're the one minority that doesn't quite fall under the politically correct protections that other minorities enjoy, since we're perceived as privileged.) But since that stereotype isn't going anywhere, we might as well just own it. Let's not be wimpy, but more like other minorities, who "Represent!"


And Stewart did. He also "represented" for comedians who still do their job as society's sages, reminding the country what "edgy" sounds like. Because Hollywood lost its edge decades ago.


This year's Oscars host took risks -- something that Hollywood fancies itself as doing, but doesn't. Therein lay the lack of chemistry in the room. For a crowd that prides itself on making average folks shift uncomfortably in their seats, they clearly didn't welcome their turn.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Julia Gorin is a widely published op-ed writer and comedian who blogs at www.JuliaGorin.com. Comment on by clicking here.

Julia Gorin Archives

© 2005, Julia Gorin.

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles