Female comedians recently claimed that non-Jewish celebs shouldn’t play Jewish roles in film and television
Tony Shalhoub is speaking out in protest of Sarah Silverman’s latest “Jewish” comments.
The actor, who is a Maronite Christian, defended her casting as a Jewish professor in “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” after female comedians recently expressed concern over non-Jewish celebrities taking on Jewish roles.
Speaking at the premiere of “Mass,” Shalhoub told Page Six that he believes the whole point of being an actor is to play a character who isn’t himself.
“I Always Think We’re Actors,” Starr told the outlet. “We were trained – at least I – not to play ourselves, to play characters and so it’s troubling to me that they’re limiting actors.”
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Without calling Silverman by name, Shalhoub suggests that the idea of limiting casting based on a person’s religious beliefs would constitute a slippery slope.
“I just don’t know,” he continued. “If we start going down that path, I don’t know where it ends. Will people who are members of the mafia be bothered that people who didn’t actually commit these kinds of crimes Are they playing those roles?”
“There’s utter chaos when you take it all out,” he concluded.
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Last week, Silverman voiced her distaste for Kathryn Hahn, a raised Catholic, who landed the role of the late Joan Rivers, who was Jewish, in an upcoming series.
Speaking on his podcast, Silverman said, “There’s this long tradition of Gentiles playing Jews, and playing not just people who are Jewish, but people whose Jewishness is their entire being. For example, one might argue that a Gentile [a non-Jew] Playing Joan Rivers correctly would be doing what’s actually called ‘Jewface’.
“It is defined as when a Gentile portrays a Jew with a Jew front and center, often with changing makeup or features, large fake nose, all New York-y or Yiddish-y inflection. And At a time when importance representation is seen as so essential and so front and center, why does our part still constantly break today?” she added.
Hahn’s casting for “The Comeback Girl” on Showtime was announced in September. Rivers’ daughter, Melissa and Hahn, did not return Granthshala News’ requests for comment.