For the loudest person in the room, Sacha Baron Cohen took a while to find his public voice. Or voices.
From the time I met him as a 16 year old, through our college years and while we lived together, Sacha was always the center of attention and always the funniest person around. But people underestimate his commitment to craft: he would write and rewrite jokes on his antique Mac in the basement and spend hours repeating phrases until he had accents and intonations right.
I’d arranged to meet Sacha Baron Cohen to discuss his new film “The Brothers Grimsby,” which opens in American theaters on March 11. When I arrived at the back room of the bar to which I’d been directed, though, I was greeted by a tall, slightly pot-bellied man, who looked the spitting image of Liam Gallagher. He was holding a beer in his bandaged right hand, wearing an off-brand number 19 England kit, and appeared not to have washed in a couple of days. He greeted me warmly, thrust a beer in my direction, splashing me slightly, and indicated that we should start the interview.
What to do with Shylock? I was pondering this question recently while browsing in a Barnes and Noble, when I noticed that they’d helpfully labeled the Humor shelf, “Books that make you laugh.”
For most people, the middle of life isn’t so much marked by crisis as by a general, if heightened, anxiety. As your body gradually succumbs to entropy and gravity, you realize that history has taken place, and you have barely participated. You weren’t Madonna, you never won Wimbledon, you didn’t stop global warming.
And yet you carry on. You may no longer surprise yourself, but you make the best of the ragtag set of memories, skills and achievements you have. You live your life.
In the most dramatic turn of events at the World Cup in Brazil so far, Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez — one of the most talented players of his generation — has been banned from “all football-related activities” for four months for biting the shoulder of Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini in Uruguay’s June 24 game against Italy.
That means he’ll miss the entire rest of the World Cup.
Here’s why Suarez should use his enforced absence from the beautiful game to join the Chosen People.
1. Chicken soup tastes better than Chiellini’s shoulder.
Sarah Silverman is no accident. Adam Sandler didn’t just happen. Woody Allen is no statistical anomaly. Five thousand seven hundred and seventy four years after creation, the Chosen People have expressed a choice: And they’ve chosen to be funny.
At least that’s what American Jews have told a Pew survey released Tuesday morning. According to the Heebish citizens of the Land of the Free, Moses parted the Red Sea to lead the Israelites from bondage to the promised land not so that they could eat bagels (food=14 percent) or pray (Jewish religious law=19 percent) but so they could have a good chuckle (having a good sense of humor=42 percent).
Here’s a funny fact: Some 42% of American Jews say a good sense of humor is essential to being Jewish. That’s twice the number who think you need to observe Jewish law.
True or not, Eskimos are famed for having 40 words for snow: Jews on the other hand have Yiddish — a whole language for being funny, featuring a vowel combination that is synonymous with hilarity. Comedy, shmomedy.
With little more than a hair’s breadth between President Barack Obama and challenger Mitt Romney, the US election is too close to call. However, whatever the outcome, there is already one certain winner – Jon Stewart.
In this podcast, Forward Managing Editor Dan Friedman talks with award-winning author Naomi Alderman. Her first novel, Disobedience, won her the Orange Award for New Writers and got her shortlisted for the National Jewish Book Award for Fiction and the Sami Rohr Prize. She is in the studio to discuss her new novel, The Liars’ Gospel which set in Roman-occupied Judea, which, as she puts it, “is mostly composed of massacres, riots and shagging.”
While Etgar Keret, the Israeli novelist and screenwriter, was in the country to promote his latest book “Suddenly, a Knock on the Door: Stories,” he went for a walk with the Forward’s Dan Friedman.
Keret — the writer The New York Times called a “genius” and the man Salman Rushdie referred to as “the voice of the next generation” — opened up about the difficulty of leaping over the gender gap to write as a woman and expanded upon his own peculiar theory of literature. On their stroll through Manhattan streets they discussed soccer, cheese, fatherhood, sex with animals and blasting the world to pieces.