Sunday, May 10, 2009

what rocks? (totally non-jewish stage names)

totally non-jewish stage names
('berg is for the b-listers)

why they rock: they say that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but apparently nothing smells sweeter than a totally non-jewish rose. ("they" being romeo, shakespeare, rabid english teachers and parrots who commonly quote 16th century literature). in the jungle that is acting, it’s easy to understand the desire for a most memorable moniker, but it's notable that achieving this goal so often results in jewish men and women with very jewish men and women’s names choosing to "ditch" or "eighty-six" their aforementioned very jewish names for very not jewish surrogate surnames. so not jewish that you'd think these lovely men and women couldn't pick a latka out of an appetizer line-up. 

this isn't merely a one time occurrence. it happens all the time. almost every day. sometimes even twice a day! one cannot deny, then, that it happens quite a bit. to honor these brave men and women, please meet our totally non-jewish alias all-stars:

the starting five
jon stewart (leibowitz
natalie portman (hershlag)
jason alexander (greenspan)
albert brooks (einstein)
brad garrett (gerstenfeld)

6th man
michael ian black (schwartz)
woody allen
(born Allen Stewart Konigsberg; circa December 1, 1876)

paul rudd
(rudnitzky; paul's name was actually changed by his family before he was ever conceived, but it’s likely that his ancestors predicted unborn Paul would one day grace the silver screen with his likeable averagejoeness and, as such, they altered his name accordingly)

one can't help but admit that above lingers an impressive squad. in fact, i'd venture to wager that they would most likely kick the crap out of the harlem wizards. in acting. not basketball. but perhaps a short film about basketball. 

why else they rock: let’s face it: we live in an enormous world. and anyone and anything that can help us condense the infinite bits of data that swirl around us into bite-size pieces ought to be rewarded and perhaps even given a key to the city. and let’s also face it: jewish names are long. they make mississippi look monosyllabic. it’s for this reason that we must take a moment and pay homage to those bold souls who had the guts, gall and balls to take a sharpie to their birth certificate. the members of the alias all-stars (and, also, the less successful people who didn’t make our list deserve and live off unemployment and have a stack of unused headshots haunting their desk), they’re the folks who are making the world a better place. they give us the gift of brevity and catchiness, and they give us this gift on a daily basis. all of this, though, begs the question: why is it that jewish names, then, tend to be so un-catchy? why must they so often lack panache? and, ultimately, is anti-semetism really just pro-panache? 

seriously, what's the deal with their rocking: once upon a time there was an exuberant young lady blessed with a sly smile and hair that would have made medusa stare at the mirror in jealousy. her name was caryn elaine johnson. caryn was a revolutionary, a rebel, a radical and defied the trend of opting for aryan stage names. caryn elaine johnson moved in the opposite direction and tacked on a jewish name, a really jewish name, perhaps even the most jewish name of them all: goldberg. As mentioned above, caryn elaine goldberg was smart. some might even say she was a smart cookie. i don’t quite understand the etymology of that phrase, but i do like the image it invokes and must admit that her next decision certainly earns her smart cookie status. caryn elaine goldberg faced the same problem that the artists later known as jon stewart and natalie portman faced: her name lacked panache, and it lacked it real bad. so she once again took matters into her own hands and this time took the first name of her favorite practical joke item: the whoopee cushion. her name: whoopi goldberg. whoopi stands as sort of a cautionary tale. she goes to show that if you want to make it with a ‘berg you’re probably going to have to go big with your first name, preferably dubbing yourself after a practical joke item. and i for one, as a jew, a writer, a consumer of pop culture, admit that i don’t think the daily show would be nearly as popular if it starred chinesefingertrap leibowitz. i mean, would you watch that?

are you an unsuccessful actor in need of a gimmicky jolt?
here’s how you can come up with a totally non-jewish stage name!

take your first name and add one of the following:
-your first pet’s middle name.
-the street that your favorite cartoon family lives on.
-the name of poplar root beer bottler.
-your favorite kitchen utensil.
-your favorite winter olympic athlete’s nickname.
-a socially acceptable curse word and/or ethnic slur
-your favorite onomatopoeia.

congratulations, you now have a non-jewish stage name!
nothing can stop you now…except perhaps mosquitos and bureaucracy.
but hey, almost noting can stop you now!

1 comment:

  1. An interesting entry.....Good job, Blake!!