Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Tis the season to be constipated

It’s the Jewish Passover season again. As with most Jewish holidays the theme is “they tried to kill us, they failed, let’s eat”. For eight days we don’t eat leavened bread or we light candles each night, I can never remember which.

This year ABC celebrates by premiering a new version of the TEN COMMANDMENTS (which prompts the question: WHY????). Similar to the original DeMille overblown spectacular except they slip in as Commandment #8: Thou shalt watch us instead of AMERICAN IDOL.

On the first two nights family and friends gather together for sedars, which are dinners preceded by a service that can last anywhere from fifteen minutes to August. For over 25 years now on the second night my wife and I have held a “comedy sedar”. It may be the first religious service to receive a hard R rating. Imagine a bunch of comedy writers and wine.

Highlights include my partner welcoming in Elijah as if he were a guest on the Jerry Lewis telethon and my father re-telling the story of Passover which is usually the last sword & sandal movie he saw so sometimes its THE TEN COMMANDMENTS, a few years ago it was GLADIATOR, last year it was TROY.

We go around the room reading portions of the service and I try to work it so that if there's a non Jewish person they get the part with all the hard-to-pronounce rabbis.

Then there’s the tradition where the “Afikomen” (piece of matzo) is hidden and the person who finds it can negotiate with the leader of the service for its return. That’s why I’m paying some little girl’s tuition at Harvard-Westlake.

And jokes abound. Topics last year included: mold, Paris Hilton, FOX News, Mary Tyler Moore, Nazis, American Idol, Yul Brynner, Ann Baxter (worst acting performance in the history of cinema), colononscopies, Mad Dog wine, “Two buck Chuck”,CAA (we wish it was located in the middle of the Red Sea), contractors, biblical characters' ages and the feasibility of having children at 90 (and subsequent Tony Randall references), Scientology and Celebrity Scientology (two separate religions), Bush, (representing the first five plagues), Jerry’s Deli (representing the next), Trader Joe’s, sending out a search party for Joe Millionaire’s career, the Dodgers, artificial sweeteners, Cadillacs (the official car of the Promised Land), Robin Quivers, film school, Viagra, J-Date, TV pilots, Diana Ross, the plausibility of Jewish slave labor, Party rental people, Halvah, heart disease, restricted golf courses, Matt Lauer’s new hair, Larry David, what happens if you get sick on the Amazing Race, Christ, Easter, kugel, Jewish hookers, Florida, Marie Calendars, Harry Belafante, college applications, the WGA, and those rat bastards at Target. And that was just in the service.

Hope your sedars are half as fun, even if you are Jewish.


Mary Stella said...

I think in the current century, we all need to economize. Do we really need Ten Commandments any more? I'm sure we can survive with seven or eight.

Anonymous said...

Next year, Ken...try to make sure your father watches A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM before Passover.

Julie O'Hora said...

A comedy seder -- now that sounds like fun. If there were any other Jews or people with a sense of humor in Central Florida, I might consider hosting one, myself.

Personally, I have greeting issues on Jewish holidays:

Happy celebration of the day thousands died.

Always a little awkward...

Anonymous said...

ABC must be having a huge identity crisis -- or a huge viewer demographics crisis -- to put us through two bad versions of the Exodus story in the same week... Now I understand what true Jewish suffering is... I wonder what programming genius (please excuse the Seinfeld opening) at the network didst proclaim "Thus let it be written, thus it be done -- and if we don't pull some decent numbers with this ploy, thus is my corporate ass out the door..."

AnnaMartin said...

At least in New York (I'm not sure if it would be different for West Coast ABC stations), the new Ten Commandments premiered on Monday and was continued (or also show, I admit, I watched five minutes on Monday and just saw it on the schedule last night) on Tues.

Anonymous said...

Need SFX? There's a guy on 72nd Street selling the 10 Plagues Finger Puppets. Just thought you'd want to know.

Brent McKee said...

Just remember that the ABC version of The Ten Commandments is actually a remake of DeMille's 1956 version (which basically killed him) which in turn was a remake of the 1923 silent version, made by Cecil B deMille. And from what I know of it neither of the remakes is an improvement.

Michael said...

All I know is the JCC's hours get all screwed up and that sucks.

Rays profile said...

Maybe you could put the matzoah in one of 26 suitcases and try to guess which one, so Howie Mandel can ask:
"Schliemel or No Schliemel?"

Anonymous said...

Almost a tie with, "We're getting together the second night at Hamburger Hamlet."

Then finding out that they're serious.

This message brought to you by ExLax: Letting my people go for over 50 years.