We Aren’t Who They Thought We Were
by Jason Diamond
I may or may not work for the popular actor, director, playwright, screenwriter, producer, and author, Tyler Perry. But for sake of argument, let’s just say that there is a really good chance that he employs me under the (un) official title of “His #1 Jew.”
It would be nice if my weekly paycheck of $1,000 dollars—plus a generous per diem–was thanks to my degree obtained at Brooklyn Law, but if I do actually work for the man that many know from his work cross dressing as the sassy Mabel “Madea” Simmons, it’s solely based upon the fact that my mother’s reproductive parts are 100% of Hebrew origin.
This isn‘t my first time being in this position. In fact, I’ve been a professional Jew for several gentlemen in the entertainment world. For Alex Trebek, I was more of a buddy who carried him to bed when he had a little too much to drink. Alex was something of a lightweight, who after one or two Labatt Blues, would begin getting belligerent, and begin saying things like, “So Mr. Jew thinks he’s smarter than me because I don’t write the questions. Well I can write the goddamned questions, and when we negotiate my next contract I’m gonna include a stipulation that I get to write two categories and one Daily Double per episode.” He rested his head in my arms and his voice lowered several notches.
“Hey Jew, name a game show host who is going to have a horrible hangover in the morning.”
“Alex Trebek?” I answered, playing along.
“In the form of a question,” he shot back.
“Who is Alex Trebek?”
He got quiet for a moment; a tear formed in his left eye and began to roll down his cheek.
“I don’t know anymore,” he said as he began to fall into a drunken sleep.
I greatly enjoyed working for Alex for several months. He’s a brilliant man, and hearing him prank call Will Ferrell as retribution for what he said was a terrible Saturday Night Live impression of him, was always hilarious.
The good times lasted for nearly a year, until one night Alex had too much punch at one of Merv Griffin’s famous “rum balls,” and started becoming the Mr. Hyde version I feared.
“Hey Jew, dare me to shave my fucking moustache. Fucking DARE ME.”
I went along with my employer; daring him to go ahead and do it, shave his trademark facial hair.
“Okay wise guy,” he said as he pulled a straight razor out of his pocket, “a lot of ladies are going to miss the Trebek tickler because you had to get cocky.” He then proceeded to shave the hair off from above his Canadian lip without any cream or lube. I could only sit and watch as a national treasure fell to the floor.
Two days later, I sat in a nondescript office along with two fat producers, and Alex, who wore a pair of aviator glasses and a bandage wrapped around the lower part of his face – almost as if he’d been in an accident that left him horribly deformed.
“This is a dilly of a pickle,” the first fat producer said as he shook his head, causing little goblets of sweat to fly onto the table.
“The fans might start mistaking you for Pat Sajak,” the other fat producer said with a chuckle.
“Either way,” he continued, “we’re gonna have to come up with some sort of excuse as to why Alex’s face is as bare as a newborn baby’s nutsack.”
It got quiet for a moment – save for the wheezing sound that accompanied every labored breath that came out of fat producer #1. Then I had an idea.
“Let’s say he did it for a charity.”
All eyes in the room looked upward at me. One of the fat producers let out a “weeee doggie,” and clapped his fat hands together.
“See, they say having a Jew around is a waste of money, but Alex, this fucking kike is worth his weight in the pounds of flesh he probably collects!”
There was a lot of backslapping and handshaking. Then we got up to leave.
“Uh, hey Jew. Could you stick back for one second?”
Alex nodded his head for me to sit back down. He left the room without saying a word.
Fat Producer #2 started.
“Listen, uh, we don’t know how to say this, but, uh, you can’t keep working for Alex anymore. We don’t know exactly what it is, but he gets too crazy when you’re around. Like he’s got a good luck charm or something.”
Fat Producer #1 interrupted. “We’re gonna give you a handsome severance package, even though we really aren’t sure what your real job is, other than, well, being a Jew.”
I took my sacking with dignity, and a “thanks for the opportunity,” but what the shortsighted producer failed to recognize, was that being a professional Jew is a full time job. I didn’t need schooling for it, but to reach the consigliare-like position takes a special sort of Hebrew, and according to not just the person who might or might not be Tyler Perry and Alex Trebek, but also Heather Graham, Steve-O, and R. Kelly, who have all employed my services at one time, a Jew is a very important thing to have in your entourage. But as the old saying goes, a good Jew is really hard to find. And people will do anything to get one.
How I came to work for my current employer is a perfect example. I’d been living a somewhat charmed life, being at the service of one Michael Cera. Michael was a sweet boss. He didn’t yell at me, drink too much, or urinate on the faces of underage girls, like R. Kelly did. He was a peaceful soul, and asked very little of me, aside from shooing away teenage fans, and saying “no comment” when people asked him about the Arrested Development movie.
We had a good run, albeit a short one that came to an end one morning when I found Michael sobbing softly into his pillow.
“What’s wrong buddy?” I asked Michael as I ruffled his hair.
“I fucked up badly,” He answered.
“There’s nothing you can fuck up that can’t be fixed,” I said as I gently patted him on the back.
“Don’t be mad at me, but I lost you in a card game last evening. I must have had one too many daiquiris, and, well, your new boss will be here to pick you up in two hours.”
I had no time to reply as Michael continued.
“Go pack your things. And if you ever need a reference, don’t hesitate.”
I walked out of his room with my head down, trying to make sense of what had just happened, but Michael called to me one last time, stopping me dead in my tracks.
“Hey Jew,” he called out. “I’ll never forget you.”
I turned around, ran to the bed, and squeezed Michael’s tiny pink body. I hugged and I hugged, until the Escalade came, and it was time for me to go. Michael and I had such a special relationship that I was crushed that it had come to an end.
It’s been eight months, and I really can’t complain, my new job isn’t so bad. Unlike my time spent with Steve-O, the checks never bounce, and I don’t have to do any post-meth-binge clean ups. I don’t have the pseudo-intellectual conversations I had with Alex, and unlike my time with Michael, I don’t have to always lie and say his films are good to spare his feelings.
“I know they’re crap,” my current boss tells me. “But people keep spending millions of dollars to see them.”
Then he gets real quiet and contemplates his next thought.
“But you know what? It gives me all the money I need to waste on things like having a professional Jew at my service.”
Jason Diamond is the founder of Vol. 1 Brooklyn. While he realizes it’s a bit tacky to post one of his own stories on here, he’s doesn’t care. He’s also the editor in chief of Jewcy.com, and has written for various outlets such as Vice, The Chicago Tribune, The Rumpus, The Faster Times, Impose, and a bunch more he can’t think of.
Illustration by Margarita Korol.