The Schmooze....

Catching up with Jason Alexander

Jason Alexander image

While he may be best known for portraying George Constanza on Seinfeld, Tony- and Emmy-winning actor Jason Alexander has an impressive repertoire of roles outside of that lovable schlub. 

Alexander is a veteran stage actor, appearing on Broadway in shows like Merrily We Roll Along,Jerome Robbins' Broadway , and The Producers . He has also appeared in dozens of movies and TV shows, including The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel , Young Sheldon , and Curb Your Enthusiasm

 In 2020, the proudly Jewish star presented Saturday Night Seder, a humorous retelling of the story of Exodus, alongside a slew of other celebrities. The show, which streamed online on the fourth night of Passover, raised $2.9 million toward fighting the spread of COVID-19. 

He also recently participated in a video campaign with his fellow celebrities, speaking out on behalf of child hostages held captive by Hamas. Alexander advocated for Ohad Munder-Zichri, a nine-year-old Israeli boy who has since been released. 

This month, he'll make his Chicago stage debut in Judgment Day , as Sammy Campo, a corrupt, morally bankrupt lawyer. Learn more at chicagoshakes.com. 

What was the last book you read? 

Completely Mad by James R. Hansen, a non-fiction book about two men who completed solo journeys across the Atlantic Ocean in a rowboat. It is a testament to what a person can aspire to, if they are meshuga enough. 

What's your all-time favorite movie? 

I have favorites within each genre: Field of Dreams, which never fails to make me cry; The In-Laws, one of the greatest comedies; The Greatest Showman-the music is thrilling; and Network, one of most verbally dazzling and prescient scripts. 

What's your favorite Jewish food? 

Years ago, [I dined at] Sammy's Roumanian Restaurant in New York. The first course was challah, with chopped liver, topped with gribenes, onions, and glazed with chicken fat. I would call it "Jewish Death." I had never eaten something so fabulously delicious, but, later, I could feel my heart-every beat seemed to scream, "Help me." 

What are you listening to these days? 

My podcast, Really? No, Really!, with Peter Tilden and Jason Alexander. We explore anything that makes us cock our heads like a confused dog and think, "What the hell is that about?" Then, we find experts to give us answers. 

Who was the last person you texted on your phone? 

I have been part of a men's group for five years. It includes actors and names you know. We have a text thread with news, musings, reviews, memorabilia, jokes, and love and support of one another. 

If you could invite three people (famous or not) to a Shabbat dinner, who would they be? 

The yogi Sadhguru--his teachings have been inspirational and aspirational. Ricky Gervais--because a good Shabbat needs a brilliant comic atheist. And Margot Robbie--how else am I going to meet her [and] offer her wine and gefilte fish? 

If you could have any other occupation, what would it be? 

I've been teaching actors for about 25 years now and I love it. I would have wound up teaching history or literature. 

Who are two of your biggest role models? 

One would be Fred Rogers--he was kind and gentle, with tremendous grace and real interest in people. He looked for the good in everyone and he evoked it with his profound decency. Another would be my friend, Daniel Lubetzsky, a shark on Shark Tank , the founder of KIND Bars, and founder and president of Start With Us. 

If you could offer the teen version of yourself one piece of wisdom, what would it be? 

Work harder at math. You think you won't need it. You're wrong. 

 


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