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TravelGuides – Tony Shalhoub hits back at Sarah Silverman’s ‘Jewface’ comments

TravelGuides – Tony Shalhoub hits back at Sarah Silverman’s ‘Jewface’ comments

Tony Shalhoub doesn’t have any issues with non-Jewish actors playing overtly Jewish roles.

The Maronite Christian actor, who plays a Jewish professor in “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” defended his casting when asked about recent comments by Sarah Silverman denouncing Hollywood as having a “Jewface” problem.

“I always feel that we’re actors,” the “Monk” star, 67, told Page Six at the premiere of “Mass.” “We were trained to — at least I was — to not play myself, to play characters and so it’s troubling to me that they’re limiting actors.”

“I just don’t know,” he continued. “If we start to go down that road, I don’t know where it ends. Are people who are members of the Mafia, are they going to be upset that people who haven’t actually committed those types of crimes are playing those roles?

“When you extrapolate it all the way out the way lies complete chaos.”

Last week, Silverman, 50, noted that Kathryn Hahn, a Catholic-raised actress, has been tapped to portray Joan Rivers, who was Jewish, in an upcoming limited series.

Tony Shalhoub in "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel."
Shalhoub plays Abe Weissman in “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.”
©Amazon/Courtesy Everett Collec

“There’s this long tradition of non-Jews playing Jews, and not just playing people who happen to be Jewish but people whose Jewishness is their whole being,” the Jewish actress said on her podcast, adding, “One could argue, for instance, that a Gentile [a non-Jew] playing Joan Rivers correctly would be doing what is actually called ‘Jewface.’”

She continued, “It’s defined as when a non-Jew portrays a Jew with the Jewishness front and center, often with makeup or changing of features, big fake nose, all the New York-y or Yiddish-y inflection. And in a time when the importance of representation is seen as so essential and so front and center, why does ours constantly get breached even today in the thick of it?”

Katrina Lenk and Tony Shalhoub in "The Band's Visit."
Shalhoub won a Tony for his portrayal of an Egyptian Colonel in “The Band’s Visit.”
Ahron R. Foster

Silverman also pointed out that Rachel Brosnahan plays fictional Jewish character Miriam Maisel while Felicity Jones played Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Shaloub added that he’s “thrilled” and a little surprised by the success of “The Marvellous Mrs. Maisel.”

“I think when we all started we thought, well this will have a limited appeal because of the time period, the subject matter, we love the subject matter, we just didn’t know it was going to be embraced.”

TravelGuides – Tony Shalhoub hits back at Sarah Silverman’s ‘Jewface’ comments

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