Alvy Singer’s Bachelorbod and Seth Rogen’s Dadbod: American Schlemiel Embodiments

Woody Allen’s Zelig character showed American audiences that schlemiels come in all sizes, shapes, and colors.  The schlemiel is a chamelon.  His Jewishness – argues Daniel Itzkovitz – demonstrates the fact that the essence of the schlemiel character is non-essence.  The schlemiel is constantly adapting and changing.   And this – argues Itzkovitz, drawing on […]

Seth Rogen’s Body – A Few Thoughts on Seth Rogen’s Latest Appearance in “Neighbors”

In one of the most urgent moments of Judd Apatow’s Knocked Up (2007), we see a desperate Ben Stone, played by Seth Rogen, go to his father, played by Harold Ramis, for advice about whether to become a father and have children. Ramis tells Rogen to go for it and that he wants to have […]

“Travels With Charley: In Search of America,” or John Steinbeck, an American Don Quixote: Take 1

When I was in high school, I realized that to discover America I would have to go off the beaten path. I never thought of my endeavor as comic so much as adventurous.  With a journey in mind, one of the first books I really took to in high school was Jack Kerouac’s On the […]

A Schlemiel and His Mother: Reflections on Bruce Jay Friedman’s “The Good Time”

Bruce Jay Friedman has been writing fiction since the early 1960s. As a novelist, he is most well-known for Stern. But he is most famous for his plays Scuba Duba and Steambath. Both were shown Off Broadway in the early 1970s and were overnight successes. Steambath was adapted for TV in 1973. And Friedman wrote […]

The Schlemiel-as-Criminal? On Woody Allen’s “Take the Money and Run”

While someone like Jean Genet – in books like The Miracle of the Rose or The Thief’s Journal – makes the criminal into a highly masculine larger than life (even priestly) man,  Woody Allen’s “directorial debut,” Take the Money and Run (1969), presents us with a parody of the masculine criminal and the hard-boiled crime thriller.  […]