Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Shana Tova, Jewtopia

I've said many times that I'm extremely blessed by amazing friends, family and family friends. Sometimes, these people even become "famous." One such person is Sam Wolfson, one-half of the creative team behind the hilarious, dead-on, mega-hit, off-Broadway play Jewtopia (Jewtopia Play). Sam and I go waaay back; our grandparents were dear friends and our extended families remain close in our hometown of Jacksonville. It was evident from an early age that Sam wasn't going to be your typical Jewish guy, and I mean that in the best possible way. In high school, he had long locks and fronted a rock band while the other kids in our social circle were, like, shopping or joining pseudo-fraternities. Even back then, he just had that stage presence that so many Hollywood types aim for but never achieve. You're either born with it or you aren't, and he had it from the womb. To this day my dad still talks about this skit that he performed at one of his parents' parties. When I moved to LA, he was doing the stand up comedy thing out there, and I caught a few of his shows when I could.

Those of us who all grew up together always knew he would make it, and with Jewtopia, I think it's safe to say he has. But the best part about watching those you know succeed, is seeing how it doesn't change the core of who they are. Sam is still that goofy, self-deprecating, effortlessly funny, nice, Jewish boy that any mother would be proud of.

And, with the publication of Jewtopia the book, (Jewtopia Book), apparently both his mother and that of his writing partner and costar, Bryan Fogel, have much to be proud of. Or perhaps wary of? Sam tells me that they've put their moms' home phone numbers on the back of all the books that Warners printed for people to call if they have any questions. Apparently, the bubbes have been ringing the moms and leaving their grandaughters' phone numbers! But what I want to know is where is the love, er, press? The play is a monster hit, but I had to find out about the book through my mom??? In an era where slutty bloggers, fake addicts and dog memoirs saturate the media, can't us nice Jewish girls read some stories about some nice, Jewish, hometown boys who've made good? Hello?—The Forward, Heeb, Page Six, The Sun, NYT, Bueller? Sam tells me that the book has gotten so little press, that "we've now sunk so low as to go to Barnes and Nobles throughout Manhattan and sold them to people in the bookstore right there at the new release table." So, see the play, buy the book; I promise you won't be disappointed. And oh, yeah, they're cute too boot.

Bryan on left and Sam on right.