BY JACKIE LOEB. If you believe the common phrase that “Hollywood is run by Jews”, then where the hell is my Jewish nepotism! At the moment, all I am getting is Jewish “nebbishism”.
Like the middle-aged Jewish lady sitting next to me on the international flight, who pitied me and shook her head disapprovingly when I told her I was pursuing an acting career in Hollywood.
Rather than taking an interest in my career, she instead asked me what shul I go to and told me of a good one to meet single Jewish men! Great, but not sure how this is going to help me land a role opposite Brad Pitt!
Where is the modern-day Samuel Goldwyn who takes me under his schmaltzy arm and says: “Stick with me kiddo, I’m gonna make you a star!”
And as for you, Mr DeMille (his maternal grandparents were Jewish) I have been standing by waiting for my close-up for the past 40 years! Are you playing bridge or rummy tiles or something? I’m here in LA!
Why haven’t the Jewish studio executives found me, bleached my teeth, given me a nose job and made me a star yet?
I have met numerous Jewish casting directors. A casting director is responsible for auditioning actors and casting them in films and television shows. They have last names that sound more Jewish than Goldstein and Goldberg put together.
The moment I walk into the room my Jewdar (the inbuilt Jewish radar that informs one Jew when another Jew is in close proximity) goes into overdrive! I am obviously Jewish. I reek of smoked salmon!
Yet I am given no preferential treatment. Maybe I need to be more aggressively Jewish. Maybe instead of sending my resume I need to send matzah balls or my Sunday school report card.
Admit it, each cultural group likes to help its own. There is something comforting about working with people who understand our heritage and culture, and, most importantly, our nuances and neuroses.
We enjoy working and collaborating with members of our tribe who won’t bat an eyelid if we start to haggle over the price or complain about poor service. Come on, we are Jews; we live for this kind of stuff!
If Hollywood is really run by Jews, as so many online blogs declare, where are the jobs for the Jews? When Cecil B DeMille produced The Ten Commandments, he cast a non-Jew – Charlton Heston – to portray one of the world’s most famous Jews of all time, Moses.
What was wrong with casting an actual Jew to play Moses? Jack Benny, George Burns, or even one of the Marx Brothers would have been brilliant. Sure they may have slipped on a banana peel and dropped the Commandments, but those biblical epics are so long and boring, I’m all for a bit of comic relief!
The internet is a scary place full of gross generalisations about our people. I know many Jewish actors and comedians in Hollywood, and let me assure you, collectively we own and control gornisht!
My agent is Jewish, but is she calling me every day to talk shop? No! So far, the only perk to being Jewish in Hollywood is knowing which shul has a free kiddush.
My point is this: every job I have ever booked has been based on merit. I long for the day I get a job based on my faith.
And if Jews run the Hollywood studios, it’s probably because they are good at their jobs.
Come on, do we really want fellow Jews driving taxis and buses? You know what rotten drivers we are!
Jackie Loeb, a Sydney-based actor, writer and musician and stand-up comic, has been working in the comedy business in Australia for 21 years, but for the past two years has been in Los Angeles as she tries to break into the tough United States comedy market. She was among the nominations for this year’s Mo Award as Stand-up Comedian of the Year.
Her solo show Jackie Loeb Sings The Worst Songs Ever Written was nominated for the Best Comedy Award at the 2011 Hollywood Fringe Festival. Jackie Loeb was a cast member and writer on the TV series Full Frontal and appeared in the Comedy Channel’s Stand up Australia.