Thursday, April 23, 2015

Crazy Jewish Mom

Jewish mothers are a staple of comedy. From Ida Morganstern in RHODA to Beverly in THE GOLDBERGS to Marie in EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND (Yes, the Barones are technically Italian, but don’t kid yourself, she’s JEWISH) Jewish mothers provide a wealth of hilarity, frustration, bizarre logic, and jaw dropping statements. They're easy to dismiss as a cliché, but here’s the thing – they’re REAL. What made Marie so funny was that she was so relatable. How many times did you say, “Ohmygod, that’s MY mom?” Or, “I know someone just like that?”

Generally they’re loving and well meaning but have no censor and feel they need to be proactive. You need conflict in comedy. But ideally you also want your antagonist to be likeable.  No one fits that bill better than Jewish mothers.

They have to ability to say the most outrageous things and still be rooted in reality. Want a real life example?

Kate Siegel is a 26-year-old single urban professional in Manhattan. She is Jewish and has a nice Jewish boyfriend. She also has a “Crazy Jewish Mom” who has learned how to text. Last Fall Kate attended a bachelorette party and received numerous texts from Mom. She shared them with her friends who were on the floor. Kate decided to open an Instagram account in November and share some of these texts with more of her friends. At last count she has 370,000 followers (and I’m sure after exposure on this blog that number will grow to 370,010). She also has a Facebook site.

Here are some examples:




I spoke to Kate last week. She said that she and her mother do have a great relationship. They can poke fun at each other; it’s all in good fun. She stressed these texts are just one aspect of their relationship. And Kate only posted them after clearing it with her mom first. Kate said her mom’s feeling about all this is, “More people will get my advice. It’s all good.”

Here’s what I love most – Kate’s reaction to these texts. Instead of being horrified or enraged she saw the absurdity and humor in them. Kate’s mom truly IS funny. And again, she means well.  Kate’s boyfriend, Superjew, is a good sport too. One of my recurring themes in this blog is that there is great humor out there everywhere if you just allow yourself to recognize and appreciate it.

For now Kate is dealing with her new-found notoriety, career, relationship, and mother. She’s got quite a full plate. I’m sure the offers for book deals and TV adaptations have already started pouring in. I wouldn’t be surprised if Kate’s mother doesn’t wind up one of the co-hosts of THE VIEW or at the very least, Brian Williams’ replacement on the NBC NIGHTLY NEWS.

I’ll leave you with a few more – with thanks to Crazy Jewish Mom and Sane Jewish Daughter.


38 comments:

Hamid said...

"It's widely believed that jack the ripper was a doctor"

"But not a Jewish one"

I genuinely LOL'd at that.

But I'm shocked she used the term "sperminator" in a text to her daughter. Wow.

Anonymous said...

Another "Italian" but obviously-supposed-to-be Jewish family: The Costanzas from Seinfeld. Of course a show couldn't have two Jewish families at the time, that would be crazy!

What's your take on The Goldbergs? As an 80s kid it obviously hits certain sentimental marks with me and as someone with an overbearing mother it hits quite close to home. My mom acts like Beverly but sounds and talks (but does NOT look) uncannily like Sofia Vergara (Mom's from Spain). So Wednesday nights are both pleasant and incredibly uncomfortable for me.

But I do enjoy The Goldbergs and I think it's clever how they went so non-specific with the time and just mashed the whole decade together. Doesn't box the writers in at all, even if it drives some pedants on the internet crazy.

Anonymous said...

I've dated plenty of jewish girls, and Italian girls. The difference in mothers seems to be that jewish mothers are neurotic with no apologies. Neurosis is like a comfy pillow for them.

Italian mothers tend to struggle with their neurotic tendencies, and try to do better next time. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't.

There's other things, like an LA jew is going to be different from a NY jew.
LA jews are less histrionic. Same with LA Italians a lot of the time.

If you're a young goyim, and you must date ethnically, try to stick with dating the LA jews and Italians, if you know what's good for you. Dating NY jewish girls is fun at first. Then it's not. It's really not.

-Goy Dude

Texas Annie said...

Okay, I've just re-entered the dating scene after being widowed. I need this Mom!!!

Oat Willie said...

Mrs Wolowitz RIP

Mike Barer said...

To Anonymous, I think George Costanza was Jewish. Many Sephardic Jews have Latin sounding names. I think Julia Louis-Dreyfus is Jewish, although her character was ironically portrayed as not. The Newman character of course was Jewish.

Anonymous said...

Jewish Mom is the spice of TV shows. I loved their characteristics. Loved it. They are fun and very full of spice.

Another great post Ken.

I got 5 scripts to read to today for the boss. Hope no more come to my desk. Thanks to Starbucks, a readers job is manageable.

Got to finish my own specs, in the evening.

It's hard work.

Remember,
keep writing
keep re-writing
and be kind

Mike Botula said...

Hate to disagree with this line of thinking....but the traits of all "moms" are wrapped up in just one word, "Jewishmom." Everybody's mom is a "Jewishmom." We're simply talking nuances, not ethnic varieties.

Curt Alliaume said...

Don't forget the original Goldbergs, with Gertrude Berg. Some show episodes are floating around on YouTube, and radio episodes are around too.

mmryan314 said...

Kudos to the daughter who brings this stuff to the public but you are exactly right Ken, it is the mother who has a terrific sense of humor.I would love to see her on The View. Maybe I`d watch The View then.

David G. Whitham said...

"Yes, the Barones are technically Italian, but don’t kid yourself, she’s JEWISH"

Having an Italian mother, and quite a few friends with Jewish mothers, I think I say this with experience on the subject - Same upbringing, different side dishes.

PNW Corey said...


Hey Goy Dude,
Ken's NY Jewish girl/wife now has another name on her "don't invite list....."

Anonymous said...

I wonder if Jewish mothers are aware that their daughters love to date athletes when they're away at college, lol.

Breadbaker said...

The daughter is a good straight man, if I can use that term in its universal sense. My mother channels Jewish mom when she describes her friends' reactions to her kids, but we've actually tamed her after all these years never to try it with us. It's what she thinks, but not what she expresses. I'm very fortunate to have such a mother. And she's learned that it helps. She never once asked if my wife would convert and then one day she did and she was over the moon.

Anonymous said...

Hey Ken,

This made my day, --LL

H Johnson said...

I'm not trying to mean but I think you're giving too wide a berth between funny and obnoxious. The typical 'Jewish mother' is changing of course as generations go by and get further away from the immigration. But I guess that goes with all ethnicities.

I don't agree that Marie Barone wasn't playing Italian either. I see the similarity to a Jewish mom, but her heart was definitely Italiano.

Aloha

Scott Cason said...

Am I the only one that read Kate's mom's messages hearing Joan River's voice?

Jerry said...

People have sent me these before. My response was that they were amusing, even though my first thought was that they're fabricated. For some reason, my friends think I'm cynical.

Cap'n Bob said...

The only difference between a Jewish and Italian mother is this: Jews operate on guilt, Italians operate on pity.

Mark P. said...

That was my first thought, too - someone, either the mother or daughter, is trying to make a 50-something woman sound like Joan Rivers or someone else in her era. People my age do not prowl around trying to find rich mates for our kids. The text messages are funny but they're shtick.

Anonymous said...

More on Jewish Mom. She's a Hollywood director.
http://heavy.com/news/2015/02/kim-friedman-crazy-jewish-mom-instagram-advice-viral-hollywood-director-identity/

Porgy said...

Very funny!

normadesmond said...

and nancy walker was not jewish.

Aaron Sheckley said...

So basically, just a Jewish spin on "Shit My Dad Says"?

Hank Gillette said...

But ideally you also want your antagonist to be likeable.

That’s where your premise breaks down. Marie Barone wasn’t likeable. She was a horrible person.

mmryan314 said...

Aaron Sheckly - That was my very first thought 12 hours ago. Very funny book - TV show - not so funny.

mmryan314 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Cap'n Bob said...

"The only difference between a Jewish and Italian mother is this: Jews operate on guilt, Italians operate on pity."

I think you might have that turned around a bit.

Allow me to introduce you to the Catholic Church, otherwise known as "Guilt Central."
You might find the location of the Vatican to be quite a coincidence.

As far as those who collectively operate on pity, allow me to introduce you to "the History Channel."

You're welcome.

Joseph Scarbrough said...

Hey, Ken! I see that May 3, MeTV will be having a special airing of "Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen" and will be including new interviews with yourself along with Gene Reynolds, Alan Alda, Loretta Swit, Gary Burghoff, and Jamie Farr. Why haven't you hipped us to this yet?

Texas Annie said...

Joseph Scarbrough said...
Hey, Ken! I see that May 3, MeTV will be having a special airing of "Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen" and will be including new interviews with yourself along with Gene Reynolds, Alan Alda, Loretta Swit, Gary Burghoff, and Jamie Farr. Why haven't you hipped us to this yet?

Seriously??? New interviews means it's a not-to-be-missed for me!

Jabroniville said...

Funny to read "you want your antagonist to be likeable", because if you go online, you'll see people jumping all over each other with hatred over various RAYMOND characters.

Some people can absolutely NOT cut Debra any slack, and consider her this violently-abusive, smug Omni-harpy who openly-hates everyone. Others see only Marie as this controlling, psychotic woman. Or Frank as a juvenile, boorish bigot. Or Robert as a jealous, simpering manchild. Or Ray as a simple-minded, selfish, lazy fool.

Frankly, their flaws are what make them funny- a lot of people can't get past them, and consider them all unlikeable. To me, they all fit in as likeable antagonists to each other.

Pete Grossman said...

Echoing Mark P - The Jewish mom here sounds like a mom in her 70's and 80's, not her 50's - it's a Joan Rivers era shtick. Unless this mom is channeling her mom, it rings false to me. Nonetheless, I laughed - perhaps that's what's most important.

Greg Ehrbar said...

My mom is Italian, born and bred in New York City and a suburb she calls "Aaaaahds-ley."

Last Sunday, she said these exact word:

"I never lie.
I just don't tell the truth."

We all burst out laughing, and so did she, but she didn't correct herself and we didn't correct her.

But I love her. Really.

Cap'n Bob said...

Sorry, Anonymous, I stand by my statement. I have an Italian mother and she has always played the pity card. They need pity to achieve their goal of martyrdom.

cadavra said...

"The Goldbergs" (the original one) is currently airing weekdays on JLTV.

Anonymous said...

Cap'n Bob said...
"Sorry, Anonymous, I stand by my statement. I have an Italian mother and she has always played the pity card. They need pity to achieve their goal of martyrdom."

Sorry bob, but as just as your mom having a Facebook page, doesn't make her a peer of the Kardashians, just because she plays the pity card doesn't mean she has a cable channel devoted almost 24/7 casting her ethnic group as the pitiable star of WWII. That takes some commitment that Italians collectively cannot match. You should be ashamed of yourself for even trying to make a case. You better bring it up next Sunday at confession, if you know what's good for you damnable soul.

Anonymous said...

This looks like an updated version of Amy's Answering Machine, though online: http://www.amazon.com/Amys-Answering-Machine-Messages-Mom/dp/1451624131

Still, Jewish mothers make for great comedy material.

Anonymous said...

Ken, I can't believe you didn't mention the late Mrs. Wolowitz from The Big Bang Theory on your list of Jewish moms!