Mel Brooks and son Max Brooks made a comedic PSA about social distancing and posted it on Max's Twitter. (SCREENSHOT/TWITTER)
Mel Brooks and son Max Brooks made a comedic PSA about social distancing and posted it on Max's Twitter. (SCREENSHOT/TWITTER)

Jewish stars make coronavirus videos at home … for better and for worse

Cohen in quarantine

Talk show host Andy Cohen, who has tested positive for coronavirus, said he has had his ups and downs. “Yesterday was horrible,” he said on March 25, “but … I have these moments every day where I’m like, ‘Oh, wait, I think I feel totally better,’ and then, like, 10 minutes later, I’m like, ‘Ugh.’” The 51-year-old host of Bravo’s “Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen” said the hardest part is being separated from his young son.

Videos made at home … for better and worse

A goodwill gesture by Gal Gadot has landed with a thud. The Israeli actress and star of the 2017 blockbuster “Wonder Woman” gathered celebrity friends, including Natalie Portman, Zoe Kravitz and Sarah Silverman, to sing John Lennon’s “Imagine” online together. In a scathing article, the New York Times summed it up as an “empty and profoundly awkward gesture.”

On the other hand, people love a video tweeted by Itzhak Perlman in which the 74-year-old worldwide star acts like everyone’s favorite granddad. “I just felt like maybe I should share with you some pleasant stories, amusing ones,” the violin virtuoso said, before telling an anecdote about Jascha Heifetz’s debut at Carnegie Hall in 1917 and finishing with a masterful flourish on the violin.

Another video has come from Mel Brooks (inside a house) and son Max (outside, on the other side of window). “If I get the coronavirus,” explains the younger Brooks, “I’ll probably be OK, but if I give it to him, he could give it to Carl Reiner, who could give it to Dick Van Dyke, and before I know it, I’ve wiped out a whole generation of comedic legends.” The public service announcement on social distancing ends with the 93-year-old Mel shouting through the glass to his son: “Go home!”

Josh Gad, the voice of Olaf in Disney’s “Frozen” movies, is reading stories for kids on Twitter in order to give parents stuck at home with families under shelter-in-place orders a little break. “I’ll try to provide at least 10 minutes of daycare to you and your families a night while we’re going through this unprecedented global event,” said Gad, the father of two.

Elsewhere on Twitter …

What happens when two Israeli journalists start fighting on Twitter over the best Lin-Manuel Miranda soundtrack? The man himself comes in to break it up — in Hebrew, no less. “Moana” … “Hamilton” … “In the Heights” … Which is the composer’s best? To end the conversation, Miranda, 40, sent a joking tweet: “hey, hey, hey, what’s going on here?” he wrote in Hebrew. While not a Jew himself, Miranda has a history with Hebrew as a member of the Mazeltones, an a cappella group at Wesleyan University.

Read the book, watch the show

Something to watch if you’re stuck at home is Netflix’s “Unorthodox,” a story inspired by the book of the same name by Deborah Feldman. Starring Shira Haas, the daughter on the series “Shtisel,” it’s the story of a young girl who cannot find peace in her Satmar community in Brooklyn and flees to Berlin.

Maya Mirsky
Maya Mirsky

Maya Mirsky is a J. Staff Writer based in Oakland.