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All the Jews That's Fit to Print ... and Then Some
They are the anti-Borat.
If the Kazakhstan Kutup of a reporter truly believes that "No Jews is good news," then this jerk of a journalist better not scan today's headlines.
Because there they are front-page news, headlining the ongoing arts fest on Nov. 9 at the Katz JCC in Cherry Hill: Bryan Fogel and Sam Wolfson, creators/stars of the smash hit "Jewtopia," authors of a new book of the same name and, now, screenwriters, adapting their off-Broadway bris of a spoof in a broad way, renaming it "Chris O'Connell and Adam Lipschitz Lose Their Religion."
It's enough to make Borat reach for the fermented horse urine.
Meanwhile, nice Jewish boys Fogel and Wolfson reach for the Stars ... of David ... proving that a fountain pen is a great Bar Mitzvah gift, but a check from a producer and publisher to write it on is even better.
And what better write stuff than "Jewtopia" has been for the two erstwhile earnestly struggling actors now earning enough to go Hollywood?
Don't discount the two mischief-makers -- even if their book is on sale. (How much? Twenty-five dollars. "But, for you, $24.99!")
No joke: Jewish jokesters who have turned the Jewish dating game -- to get a good job as a husband, get a good Jewish education -- into one of theater's most surprising tsimmises.
Offers! Offers! The book deal is only part of the package, say the twosome Jew-some who concede that the last book they read -- or maybe skimmed -- was Where the Sidewalk Ends.
With a career on the pavement, who knew "Jewtopia" would lead to a road of such riches? "Oh, my God!" says Wolfson of his initial reaction to the good reviews and revenues coming from a play they initially self-produced and self-parodied.
And, now the book tour ... even Lance Armstrong would be shocked at this tour de farce. "People are buying five, six copies" -- and that's not just his parents, exclaims Wolfson. "They say it's the ultimate coffee-table gift book."
Make that caffeinated, as the two authors are perking along in a role they never envisioned. "It's like we're rock stars," rocks on Wolfson. "It's like we're Jewish rock stars."
Not that the two have special demands for their dressing rooms, like only blue halvah or water bottled solely in the Galilee. And their book is not exactly chapter and verse from the show; nowhere on stage, for instance, is there a segment on "Stereotypes: Look, Ethel, I Found a Penny!" to coin an example out of Chapter Seven.
Oh, for Christ's sake ... no, that's Chapter Two.
Yup, says Wolfson, "We took Jesus to some crazy places," and here he thought the Garden of Gethsemane was no garden party.
And did you know that death through fasting on Yom Kippur was why 8 percent of Jews have left the religion while 12 percent remained committed because they "heard if you stood near the Burning Bush, you'd catch a wicked high"?
Are they going to burn for this? Not likely, since Fogel and Wolfson are only in Jersey for the day. But the two who discovered making military body armor as an alternative use for matzah are armed with wit and wacky wisdom, such as this explanation for the pushke: "It has ... become the tradition in many Jewish households to follow every near-death experience by putting money into the pushke box.
"Since the introduction of these little blue boxes, the JNF has raised enough money to plant over 240 million trees in Israel!
"This is because Jews count everything from driving in the rain to sneezing as a near-death experience."
Ach--oo your weapons, gentlemen. Some may be offended by such blooming blasphemy, like the suggestion, in Chapter Three, that Jews control the world: "Well, uh, we do," reveals Wolfson.
And if many think of the two as the "South Park of Jews," they have company: Sounds good to them, too, says Fogel.
"We have a dream list for directors, and Trey Parker and Matt Stone," the creators of that Comedy Central phenomenon of a series, "are at the top of our list," says Fogel.
The film, which they've already written and which has generated interest and many meetings, is, he adds, "different from the play. It's a different environment."
Comedic environmentalists? Have Fogel and Wolfson gone Green? Or Schwartz? Or Cohen? "We've made the movie a lot less 'Jewy,' with a million more characters," concedes Fogel.
Only about 20 lines remain from the comedy on stage, but the two hope the line will still form at the right when the box office opens at the bijou near you.
As for alienating audiences, some stereotypes can be true; take those about aliens, fulminates Fogel. "Stereotypes happen because of a reason; there's nothing wrong with that. Sure, it's not true to say that all Mexicans are illegal, but 90 percent are."
A penny for their thoughts? (See above, Chapter Seven): "Society has this thing where you have to be p.c.; it's so silly," says Fogel.
"Silly me," think those who read up on ways to slip security checks at airports. Here they've been going by the book, and all they had to do was read this book and discover:
"In these post 9/11 times, security lines have gotten out of control. Our advice: Walk to the very front of the security line and discreetly tip the guy in the front of the line 20 bucks. If by chance you get busted by an industrious security guard who's working for seven dollars an hour, slip him 20 bucks, too.
"Yes, worst-case scenario you're now down 60 bucks, but you'll be enjoying a Starbucks cappuccino in the lounge while the gentiles are having their shoes checked for bombs."
Check this out -- tips on earning free fares. Sure, you can earn 10,000 miles for signing up with Northwest, but, "Who flies Northwest? Are Jews even allowed on it?"
Are they really allowed to have a whole chapter devoted to "Match the Nose to the Jew"? (Oy, Bob Dylan is "I.") And, who knows, maybe "B. Going Outside" really is the answer to "Which of the following do you think is most likely to give you cancer?" in their "All Jews Are Neurotic" test of stereotypes?
As for the more unorthodox ways to use an Orthodox staple (and not so Orthodox, too): "To You a Mezuzah Is: D. That thing your mom gave you for your apartment that you now stash pot in."
Potshots at Jewish moms? Nah! Is this any way for nice Jewish boys to act ... write ... produce? Just who do these Jews think they are?
"We are the George Lucas of Jews," says Fogel of the Star of David Wars trilogy they hope to complete with the film.
Was that Jar-Binks at the bimah? Replies Fogel: "If you can't laugh at yourself, who are you going to laugh at?"
Laugh at this -- the two see themselves as planting fields of dreamers: If they build it, they will come and break it down.
"We have broken down a lot of barriers," Wolfson proudly points out.
Such as? "Such as getting Jews into show business. We are the ones responsible for opening up the entertainment business to Jews."
And if Mel Gibson ever wanted to make nice with the Jewish community, he would be well-served going out for dinner with these two Jews
And the menu? Forget passion of the rye bread: How about gefilte fish -- or as the "Jewtopians" like to call it under its "goyish name, Spam."
And for those who think these moguls of movies, these theatrical thespians, these book auteurs aren't serious, well, let all the world be mad at Madonna; these two Jews aren't scared of doing good.
"Yes," Fogel exclaims, "we have gone to Africa and adopted an Ethiopian Jew."