Nice Jewish Girls Gone Bad
One of the ironies of show business (and by extension American culture) is that the grossest stereotypes are often perpetrated by the misrepresented groups themselves. Exaggeration is the elixir of comedy; liberally mixed with “write what you know”, a heady cocktail results, one that is only partially composed of veritas (despite what the worst among us seem to think)
Thus for over half a century, the wider culture has been on the receiving end of a misconception of Jewish women cooked up by Jewish comedians of both sexes: that they are domineering, materialistic, frigid in the bedroom, and lacking in both self-restraint and taste. Now, your correspondent has enjoyed – no, had – no, been with – uh, no – uh, been involved with – yeah – been involved with approximately a half dozen Jewish girlfriends over his long career as a Hebrewphile, and he is here to tell you that they are NOT frigid in the bedroom. Uh, or the rest of it.
As the great Bert Lahr used to put it, “Where do you get that stuff?” Apparently things are different in Long Island, because in Manhattan (at least my Manhattan) you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting some brilliant, sexy, funny, down-to-earth Yiddische Mama. (I hit one with a dead cat only today, but that was on purpose. It’s a little game we play).Granted, I am in the theater, and the downtown theatre at that. It attracts the crème de la crème of any ethnicity. Nevertheless to my mind, for every Leah in New York there are a hundred Rachels, and I will always strive to be the first in line for their belly-dances. And if you don’t know what that means, we have nothing more to talk about.
Now, as Billy Crystal said (too often) in Mr. Saturday Night: “Look what happened”. Up at the Zipper Factory, Goddess Perlman, a comedienne I’d previously known only by reputation, and because she’s in my new film, has re-launched her long-running Nice Jewish Girls Gone Bad show, a mix of stand-up, sexy dance numbers and funny songs. These Nice Jewish Girls have not gone bad because they are past the expiration date. If anything, they have gone good. To my mind, the show is above all a showcase for Perlman’s talent, which combines comical ability, musical skill, and most importantly, in the best vaudevillian tradition, will power. “Goddamn it, this is me, this about me, I am up here, I exist, I love it, and don’t kid yourself, this why we are all here.” Personally, this is why I go to the theatre; in my view, on some level it’s why the art form exists. I don’t want to see a bunch of people in black leotards breathing at the same time. It may do something for them; it does nothing for me. On the other hand, a Fiddler on the Roof strip number – that’s art with a capital A, a capital R and a capital T. In addition to her own schtick, Perlman presents what she calls “a Pupu platter of Jews…or a JuJu platter of poos.” A rock/Klezmer arrangement called The Foreskins is the back-up band, there is a cast of cute Jewish chickies of vastly different shapes and sizes for the chorus, and the variety bill consists mostly of stand-up comediennes with respectable tv credits – none of whom are remotely like Joan Rivers or Henny Youngman’s wife.
If no Jewish men will date these women, I’m currently available.
I believe the show is up through April and there’s info at nicejewishgirlsgonebad.com.