WELCOME TO HOLLYWOOD

written by Molly Shilling

Welcome to Hollywood is Molly's first attempt at an experimental meditation on Judaism and the media.

FADE IN:

 

 

INTERIOR. 113 CARNEGIE BUILDING - NIGHT

 

Molly Shilling walks down the aisle on HOUSE LEFT and bounds up the stairs. She sets her notebook on the stool and steps up to the microphone.

 

MOLLY

 

So, my name is Molly Shilling.

This is my first time performing

here. This is my first time

performing anywhere, but I'm so

excited to be giving it a try

with all of you. Now, my

grandmother's name is Rachael

Rosen. I know what you're all

thinking, yes, I'm Jewish.

(Molly pauses.)

And, it's hard to find a name

more Jewish than that, well,

except for my friend Rebekah

Rosen-Green-Goldberger-Stein.

(Quiet laughter.)

Now, I'm very proud of my religion and culture. My family even fought in WWII, and I have a dagger to prove it. But a bunch of ignorant people like to erase our accomplishments by saying that our only achievement was taking over the entertainment industry. Obviously, I'm not helping.

 

(She pauses.)

But I do have an explanation for why our people seem to flock to Show-Biz.

MOLLY

 

How many of you have ever heard of the story of Passover? Or, the basic plot of the DreamWorks movie, The Prince of Egypt?

 

 

 

MOLLY (CONT'D)

 

Basically, at this point in

history, the Jewish people have

been enslaved in Egypt for

thousands of years. The story

goes that God, through

Moses, sent ten plagues to Egypt

to aid in the freeing of the

Israelites. If you're ever

wondering what makes us so

dramatic, go no further than

looking at Moses. It's that guy's

fault. I mean, the first plague

made sense. His opener was

turning the river to blood. It

was a good way to show off God’s

power without hurting anyone.

But then, Moses gets annoyed with

Pharaoh and starts getting petty.

His pettiness outranks anyone

else's in history.

 

 

INT. 113 CARNEGIE PROJECTER SCREEN - CONTINUOUS

 

MOSES

 

Okay, Pharaoh is really pissing

me off now. I mean, this is

getting ridiculous. What should

my next move be?

 

GOD

 

Boils.

 

MOLLY

 

Isn't that kind of mundane? I

mean why not send disease or

famine?

 

MOSES

 

No, no, no. I totally get it.

Let's hit them where it hurts.

Their complexions.

 

MOLLY

 

You petty bitch.

INT. 113 CARNEGIE BUILDING STAGE - CONTINUOUS

 

MOLLY

 

I truly wish that I could've

talked through the idea behind

the plague of the boils with them. It is

the most random. Besides

darkness, which was just

inconvenient. In case you didn't

know, one of the plagues was

literally just getting rid of the

sunlight so everyone had to work

in the dark. I mean, I know that

God is probably a busy person,

but darkness? Lame. If God is

really all-knowing, why not just

start with the final plague,

Death of the First Born?

(She shakes her head.)

I'm not sure how much you guys

know about the holiday of

Passover. Basically, to celebrate

escaping Egypt, we aren't allowed

to eat leavened bread of any kind.

Let me tell you something about

me:

(Molly takes a

dramatic pause.)

Bread is all I eat.

(Getting increasingly

angrier and louder.)

And if God had just gotten to

the freaking point, and killed

the Egyptians faster, I wouldn't

have to be so damn hungry and

grouchy every spring!

(muttering.)

No pasta, no wraps, no pizza, no

croutons, (which is the best part

of a salad), no pancakes, no

waffles, I do not eat healthy food.

And now I have to eat potatoes for

eight days. Trust me, it gets

old. Anyway, where was I?

(She pauses.)

Oh! We are an overly dramatic

bunch because of Moses and God.

What can I say, we were truly

made in his image.

 

 

 

MOLLY (CONT'D)

 

Let me elaborate: Everyone has

made that dumb decision to skip

the tutorial for a new game or

program. Be honest. We've all

done it. What if I told you, that

God did it too?

INT. 113 CARNEGIE PROJECTOR SCREEN - CONTINUOUS

 

GOD

 

(Humming and working

on a little MacBook.

Yes, heaven has

those.)

Okay, okay. I think I've got it.

(He scratches his

beard.)

Oh, that little guy looks like me.

Yeah, who needs that stupid time-

waster? Not ah-me. Now, let's see

how everyone's doing...

(He clicks the little

arrow at the bottom,

and the screen shows

the growing of a

civilization.)

Ooh, here we go. Wait what?

(He observes theft,

murder, and cruelty

among his people.)

Oh, shit.

INT. 113 CARNEGIE BUILDING STAGE - CONTINUOUS

 

MOLLY

 

And, we all know what happened

from there. God sent a flood to

wipe out the people he had

created in His image. And thank

god he did, because we don't have

any theft, murder, or general

cruelty now!

 

 

I choose to believe that

it was the stories we were told

that influenced our people's

flock to the Entertainment

Industry. Unfortunately, the true

story is not as fun.

 

 

 

MOLLY (CONT'D)

 

We lived in Eastern Europe in the

19th century and we loved to tell

jokes and stories in Yiddish

Theaters. These types of

professional theaters exploded

across Europe, with professional

acting and producing jobs opening

up too (Yentob, "Now that's what

I call chutzpah: the Jewish

contribution to the entertainment

business"). Although, it wasn't long

until the government noticed Jews in

large numbers in their cities. They

decided to ban Yiddish theater, and effectively shut down the Jewish

people’s only source of income. But,

what're you gonna do?

(Molly shrugs and

looks down.)

Well, if you come from a people

who have been kicked out of

nearly every nation they've gone

to, you know that all you have to

do is find someplace that hasn't

met you yet. So, they went to the

United States. Land of the Free

and home of the Brave. As long as

you’re not African American or

Muslim or Mexican or LGBTQA.

About 2.5 million Jews

moved westward and settled in

America. With them, they brought

their storytelling traditions and

their self-deprecating style of humor

and satire with them. And we’ve

been improving the media industry

ever since. You're welcome.

 

MOLLY

 

“Their [Jews’] greatest danger to

this country lies in their large

ownership and influence in our motion

pictures ... ” Charles Lindbergh said

that (Lipiner "American Jews: The True

Hollywood Story"). Even if that

was true, it'd still be ridiculous

how many stereotypes still make it on

the screen.

INT. 113 CARNEGIE PROJECTER SCREEN SHOWS MOLLY'S HOME, LOVELAND, OH - DAY

 

Molly is sitting on her couch watching TV and eating Somoas, (the BEST Girl Scout cookies).

 

TV SHOW SECRETARY

 

(Running up to the

Judge and flailing

her arms as if she's

on fire.)

Judge Rosen-Greenberger! I need

your signature on this

immediately!

 

MOLLY

 

(Looking at the

audience like she's

on the Office.)

I mean are you kidding me? We're

not all lawyers!

 

MOLLY'S BROTHER

 

Mom's a lawyer.

 

MOLLY

 

(Without missing a

beat.)

Withdrawn.

INT. 113 CARNEGIE BUILDING STAGE - CONTINUOUS

 

MOLLY

 

But seriously, I love when there

are honest portrayals of Jewish

people in TV. For instance, in

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Midge

may seem over-dramatic. But she's

dead-on. I swear I've said the

phrase:

(In exaggerated New

York accent.)

“Nobody’s happy, it’s Yom Kippur.”

 

 

MOLLY (CONT'D)

 

Her character is scary accurate. And

If you haven't seen it yet, you need

to. Midge's mother, is my

grandmother. Both are lovely

people, who blow everything out

of proportion in the most

hilarious ways. Only a Jewish

mother can smile at her daughter

on her wedding day, and also tell

her that her earrings look like

they belong on a prostitute. It's

truly magical.

 

Someone asked me recently why I

talk so much about the Marvelous

Mrs. Maisel.

                (Beat.)

That is a stupid question.

                (Molly laughs.)

I never stop talking about this

show because it’s the first show

I’ve ever seen about Jewish

characters where their religion

isn’t the butt of a joke.

Let me explain; on friends, three

of the six characters are Jewish.

Not that the viewers would ever

know except for the brief mention

of Hanukkah during the Christmas

episode.

                (Beat.)

Or how Schmidt on the show New Girl is

one of my favorite Jewish characters

on TV. Which is pretty sad. The writers

make fun of his religion every so often,

but they never allow him to celebrate

his religion. One of the ‘jokes’ on the

show has Schmidt asking his friends if he looks “too Jewish” and then he says,

“I mean like, good Jewish or bad Jewish?”

(Friedman 7 Strangest Jewish Jokes on 'New Girl').

                (She pauses.)

What?

 

Although, this does lead me into a

theory. I agree with the writers. I

believe that there is a thing as ‘too

Jewish’ and that the Jewish people walk

a fine line in the media. Because, on

one side of the line there are the

nut-jobs who are just looking for

another excuse to hate us. But on the

other side, are the people who

genuinely enjoy our type of humor.

So, when making a show like the

Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, you need

your actors to look stereotypically

Jewish, but not actually be Jewish.

Let me explain: I am Jewish. Yet,

I have blue eyes and (fake) blonde

hair. But if I were an actor, I

would never be cast as a Jewish woman

on the show. Yet, Tony Shalhoub? I

received a comment from someone saying

that he passed as Jewish because he

would be considered Ashkenazi. As in,

he’s from the correct part of the world.

                (She pauses.)

Fun Fact. I’m Ashkenazi. And, I’m

confident that he was cast because he

looks stereotypically Jewish. Not

because of his heritage. Audiences

would get uncomfortable to see someone

like me portray a Jew because I don’t

fit the typical description.

 

Okay fine. But what about Natalie

Portman?

 

First of all; How dare you speak her

name in my presence.

 

So, true story. I’ve never met Natalie Portman. But her grandmother and my grandfather died on the same day. And

my grandfather was an amazing man.

He was called “The Marrying Judge” and

married 1,262 couples in his years in

office (Knippenberg, “Jack Rosen, the 'marrying judge'”). Over 400 people

came to his funeral. Well, not the

original funeral. His first funeral was

bumped for Natalie Portman’s grandmother.

                (She pauses.)

All I’m saying is they could’ve at least

given us an autograph.

 

MOLLY (CONT'D)

 

Sarcasm, self-deprecating humor,

honesty. These are all trademarks

of Jewish humor. All the best

rabbis use them. My favorite

comedian, John Mulaney, uses them

too. Mulaney is a beautiful

shiksa who finally found himself

a decent woman. He's Catholic,

but loves Jewish women. He said

in his stand-up routine, New In

Town, that he likes how upfront

we are with our emotions. Which,

is true. I'm a crier. If I'm

happy, sad, angry, hungry, I'll

cry about it. It's kind of my

thing. But wow, that is a weird

thing to brag about! I mean yes

we're hilarious people who argue

for fun, but lots of people do

that. Side-note, the whole

arguing thing is not a

stereotype. It is absolutely

true. We have a version of the

Torah, which has commentary on

every page from Rabbis arguing

with each other about what God

really meant. It's what we do.

 

 

But I mean, we have done such

amazing things, as a people. Why

focus on how we convey our

emotions, John? We have mastered

the art of stand-up, and

standing-up. Seriously, we have

done it all. In 1811, the phrase

'stand-up' was first used to

describe a courageous person in a

fist fight. It then developed to

mean holding your ground in a

battle. And in 1966, it was first

used to describe comedians "stand-up|

Origin and meaning of stand-up by

Online Etymology Dictionary”). But,

it also describes my favorite

moment in modern Jewish history.

MOLLY (CONT'D)

 

On March 25, 1965, Dr. Martin

Luther King Jr. and his

supporters marched from Selma to

Montgomery. Marching next to

King, was Rabbi Abraham Joshua

Heschel (Schulweis "Two Prophets,

One Soul: Rev. Martin Luther King

Jr. and Rabbi Abraham Joshua

Heschel). When the Jewish people

were persecuted during WWII, and

survived, they vowed 'Never

Again'. It makes me so proud to

be able to say, we meant it. The

Jewish people stood by the

African Americans, and even

today, Jewish people across the

nation protested the Muslim ban.

Some Jews perform stand-up. The rest,

stand up.

 

MOLLY

For instance, the great Lenny Bruce

used his platform to fight for

freedom of speech to apply to the

obscenity he used in his acts. Some

of which included occasionally using

Yiddish phrases such as “schmuch”

(Brewster, "Remembering Lenny Bruce

and a First Amendment controversy").

 

Jon Stewart spoke about politics on

his show every episode! Of course,

he was playing a character on satirical

news show, but even today he’s still

standing up for his beliefs. On March

5th, Stewart stood on Capitol Hill and

demanded that the 9/11 healthcare

program be left alone (CNN "Jon

Stewart slams 9/11 health program

proposal”).

 

Or Sarah Silverman who, in her 2018

Stand Up show; A Speck of Dust,

quietly referenced the Cheeto in Chief

in her act.

INT. 113 CARNEGIE PROJECTOR SCREEN - CONTINUOUS

SARAH SILVERMAN

“I tweeted something and it made

people feel the need to express,

um, wanting to kill me… When you’re

a comedian now, you really have to

think things through before you post

them, you know, on twitter. Who do

we think we are, presidents?”

 

INT. 113 CARNEGIE BUILDING STAGE - CONTINUOUS

  MOLLY

I’ve tried to speak up, but it’s hard.

I really admire what these people do.

It takes a lot of courage to fight

back.

 

INT. 113 CARNEGIE PROJECTOR SCREEN SHOWS LOVELAND MIDDLE SCHOOL HALLWAY – DAY

 

BEGIN FLASHBACK:

 

Molly and her classmates were lined up against the wall, waiting for the classroom to empty.

 

JOHNNY

 

Hey

 

MOLLY

 

Yeah?

 

JOHNNY

 

(Pointing to MOLLY's

forehead.)

Where are they?

 

MOLLY

 

What?

 

JOHNNY

 

Aren't you guys supposed to have

horns?

 

 

END FLASHBACK.

 

 

INT. 113 CARNEGIE BUILDING STAGE - CONTINUOUS

 

MOLLY

 

The summer of my sophomore year in

high school, my family went to

France. It was the first time in

my life that I had to take off my

Star of David necklace.

(Molly holds out her necklace.)

 

I got this necklace as a gift for

my B'nai Mitzvah. I never take it

off. But when we went abroad, it

was the summer of the Je Suis

Charlie protests and what some

people were calling Kristallnacht

2.0. A bunch of Jewish shops had

been vandalized and broken into.

It was really unnerving to take off

my necklace. It really made me realize

just how vulnerable I really am.

Also, just how little it takes to set

some people off.

 

Fortunately, the fear passed quickly

and I was able to forget about the

rising antisemitism around the world.

I just enjoyed my vacation.

 

 

I thank God that I have never faced any

substantial harassment or

violence due to my religion. Just

the normal stuff:

 

 

INT. 113 CARNEGIE PROJECTOR SCREEN SHOWING LOVELAND HIGH SCHOOL - CONTINUOUS

 

BRIANNA

 

Why'd you kill Jesus?

 

MOLLY

 

He never brought me what I wanted

for Christmas.

 

COLE

 

Go back to Jew-land.

 

MOLLY

 

Aw yes, Jew-land. I've heard

they're finally updating the wave

pool and adding a new roller

coaster. I can't wait to check it

out.

 

 

JOHNNY

 

Aren't you supposed to have a big

nose and curly hair?

 

MOLLY

 

(She puts her fingers

up to her lips.)

Shhh, don't tell anyone.

 

 

INT. 113 CARNEGIE BUILDING STAGE - CONTINUOUS

 

MOLLY

 

In reality, I only made the

snarky comment to Cole. That was

awesome. I'm still proud of that

joke. But it really sucks that in

2018, we still have antisemitism

alive and well. There are police

that guard my synagogue and a

swastika on the playground. But

at least we run the media, right?

No, but, it's a weird era to be

in. We have a KKK endorsed

president in office and the alt-

right is making a comeback.

Well, they call themselves the

alt-right. We call them Nazis.

INT. 113 CARNEGIE PROJECTOR SCREEN - CONTINUOUS

 

LT. ALDO RAINE (FROM INGLORIOUS

 

BASTERDS)

"And once we're in enemy

territory, as a bushwhackin'

guerrilla army, we're gonna be

doin' one thing and one thing

only... killin' Nazis. Now, I

don't know about y'all, but I

sure as hell didn't come down

from the goddamn Smoky Mountains,

cross five thousand miles of

water, fight my way through half

of Sicily and jump out of a

fuckin' air-o-plane to teach the

Nazis lessons in humanity. Nazi

ain't got no humanity. They're

the foot soldiers of a Jew-

hatin', mass murderin' maniac and

they need to be dee-stroyed."

(Tarantino, “Inglorious Basterds”).

 

2017 RACIST PROTESTOR IN

 

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA

(He holds a Walmart

tiki torch.)

Jews will not replace us!

 

LT. ALDO RAINE

 

Son, are you aware that you are

sympathizing with Nazis?

 

2017 RACIST PROTESTOR

 

No. I am with the Alt-Right. We

are not Nazis.

 

LT. ALDO RAINE

 

Explain.

(He crosses his arms.)

 

2017 RACIST PROTESTOR We focus on "America First", like President Trump. What this means is that we need to be focusing on Americans in the United States before working on other nations. We need to help our own citizens before sending aid to Puerto Rico.

 

LT. ALDO RAINE

 

As I am told, that is a U.S.

Territory.

 

2017 RACIST PROTESTOR

 

(He pauses.)

No.

 

LT. ALDO RAINE

 

From what you're tellin me,

you're not a Nazi. But, you've

adapted a Nazi slogan from

"Germany First" to "America

First". An, you seem to hate the

Jews and other marg-een-o-lized

groups. Now, tell me, do y'all

wear a uniform?

 

2017 RACIST PROTESTOR

 

No?

 

LT. ALDO RAINE

 

Then, we're gonna have to mix

things up a bit.

(He pulls out his

knife and begins

cleaning the blade

with his shirt.)

You see, without the uniform, how

will w'ever tell y'all apart?

 

 

INT. 113 CARNEGIE BUILDING STAGE - CONTINUOUS

 

MOLLY

 

For those of you who don’t get the

reference, in the movie, Lt. Aldo

Raine doesn’t like the idea that

once WWII is over, the Nazis get to

take off their uniforms and nobody

will ever know what they did. But, he

has a solution. When his team captures

POWs, they carve a swastika into their foreheads so that they can’t forget what they’ve done. And neither will anyone who

sees them. It’s an excellent film with a relatively happy ending with a little

Jewish vengeance thrown in there, too.

 

But, that’s one of the problem with

the Nazis coming back. There are no

uniforms.

      (She looks around wildly.)

They could be anywhere! In this room

even! And even though John Mulaney

isn’t Jewish, I think he summed it up

best when he said, “Jews don't daydream

'cause folks are always after 'em and

they gotta stay sharp, you know what

I mean? They have to be there They

haven't let their minds wander

since Egypt!” ("JOHN MULANEY: NEW IN

TOWN (2012)”).

                               (Molly pauses, lost in thought.)

 

                     There’s a famous Yiddish joke about

an old Jewish man and his bowl of soup

that makes every Hebrew student groan.

Lucky for all of you, I updated it a

little bit.

 

So, an old Jewish man comes into Panera every day for broccoli cheddar soup.

And one day, he goes back up to the

counter holding his bowl.

 

INT. 113 CARNEGIE PROJECTOR SCREEN - CONTINUOUS

 

OLD JEWISH MAN

 Taste the soup.

  DISGRUNTLED EMPLOYEE

 What?

  OLD JEWISH MAN

      You heard me. Taste the soup.

   DISGRUNTLED EMPLOYEE

     Listen, Dude. That’s weird. No.

     OLD JEWISH MAN

Are those really what you want your last words to me to be?

   DISGRUNTLED EMPLOYEE

    What?

    OLD JEWISH MAN

(Staring the kid down and

holding out his bread bowl.)

 DISGRUNTLED EMPLOYEE

  (They go to try the soup.)

     There’s no spoon.

     OLD JEWISH MAN

      Aha!

 

INT. 113 CARNEGIE BUILDING STAGE - CONTINUOUS

 

    MOLLY

      I wish I had the courage of that

old Jewish man. I would’ve just

drank the soup out of the bowl.

     (She smiles.)

    Well, that’s my time. Thank you so

much, everyone. You’ve been a great

audience! Have a great night!

Gutn ovnt!   !גוטן אָוונט