Celebrity Jews


Bob Mankoff

A newly updated “Chanukah Song” by Adam Sandler, 49, can be seen on YouTube (“Chanukah Song Part 4”). As usual, Sandler’s song mentions well-known Jews, but not all are identified by name, so if you watch the video: “Olaf” refers to the snowman character in the animated movie “Frozen,” voiced by actor Josh Gad, 34; “Punky Brewster” was a sitcom character played by Soleil Moon Frye, 39; “Google founders” are Larry Page and Sergey Brin, both 42; Harry Potter references Daniel Radcliffe, 26; and Idina Menzel, 44, is the voice of Elsa in “Frozen.”

On Friday, Dec. 11, Netflix will premiere “The Ridiculous 6,” a comedy that marries Mel Brooks’ “Blazing Saddles” with “The Magnificent Seven” (and uses that film’s great score by the late Elmer Bernstein). Sandler plays an outlaw called “White Knife,” who was raised by Native Americans and goes on a mission to rescue his father. He’s assisted by his five half-brothers, all of whom share the same father but come from different ethnic backgrounds (black, Hispanic, etc). Co-stars include Harvey Keitel, 76, and Bay Area native Rob Schneider, 52.

Other TV highlights

ESPN’s “30 for 30” documentary series will premiere “The Four Falls of Buffalo” at 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12 (right after the Heisman Trophy presentation). The film looks at the Buffalo Bills during the early ’90s, when the team made it to four straight Super Bowls (1990-1993), then lost all four. Prominently featured is head coach Marv Levy, now 90. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2001.

Bob Mankoff

The documentary “Very Semi-Serious: A Partially Thorough Portrait of New Yorker Cartoonists” premieres on HBO at 9 p.m. Monday, Dec. 14. I’m not surprised that the film, which Variety called “delightful,” screened at a number of Jewish film festivals, including this past summer’s San Francisco Jewish Film Festival. Many of the New Yorker’s past and present cartoonists are or were Jewish. Bob Mankoff, 71, the cartoon editor since 1997, has often talked about how the “anxious” Jewish experience led to humor as a coping mechanism. The first chapter of his 2014 memoir is subtitled “I’m Not Arguing, I’m Jewish.” Also prominent in the film are chief editor David Remnick, 57, who personally reviews all the cartoons, and cartoonist Roz Chast, 61. CBS News recently profiled Remnick and did a joint interview with his wife, former New York Times reporter Esther Fein. Remnick strikes me, in the words of a 2011 GQ profile, as a likeable mensch. Read more here: www.cbsnews.com/news/inside-the-new-yorker-magazine.

Lisa Edelstein

The second season of the hit Bravo series “Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce,” starring Lisa Edelstein, 49, began on Dec. 8. Edelstein said on NBC’s “Today” show that it is empowering at her age to take off most of her clothes for the series’ many sex scenes (no nudity, though). Edelstein also talked about her husband, painter Robert Russell, 42, a handsome, cool-looking guy who was standing just off stage. (They wed in 2014. It is Edelstein’s first marriage). She said they met at a Los Angeles museum, where he was talking to someone she knew. She then described how he fit her “prerequisites” for a husband: “I wanted an artist who lived in my neighborhood, who already had kids, who would be willing to live in my house, because I have a really beautiful house, and who would ask me out on a really specific date and not be wishy-washy. And he was Jewish!” I guess it was beshert, or destiny. (See the interview at www.tinyurl.com/lisa-edelstein-today-show.)


Nate Bloom

Nate Bloom writes the "Celebrity Jews" column for J.