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May 22, 1992 - Image 73

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1992-05-22

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

E N TERTA I N MEN T

ENTERTAINMENT

Silbermintz: Jay Leno's biggest fan.

`film' New Jersey To Hollywood

vision and write
"The house we
note to aspiring
down their mono-
comedy writers: liked is very expen-
logues on index
Marvin Silber- sive but we got a
cards," he re-
mintz sent Jay good break when,
called. "Then I'd
Leno 230 jokes be- after the last big
read the cards
fore America's storm out there, it
over and over to
hottest comedian slid into a cheaper
try to find out why
used one."I just neighborhood," he
they were funny,"
never gave up. I loved him," ex- joked.
he said, discover-
His
life
changed
plained Mr. Silbermintz, a 40-
ing that some in-
year-old Orthodox Jew whose when, after watch-
gredients were
ing
Mr.
Leno,
a
persistence has paid off, big time.
even more vital
After several years of con- then-unknown
than the material
comic,
on
television
tributing comedy material to Mr.
itself.
Leno via the fax machine, Mr. Sil- late one night in
Sam Levenson,
1984,
he
told
his
bermintz has moved from Fair-
for instance, a sta-
lawn, New Jersey, to Los Angeles wife the next morn-
ple of "The Ed
to become one of six full-time ing, "I just saw the
Sullivan Show" in
writers for the square jawed co- funniest comedian
the
late 1950s, got
of
our
generation.
median, who officially replaces
GARY ROSENBLATT
by on charm and
Johnny Carson as host of "The He looked perfect,
Editor
warmth, and
his material was
Tonight Show" on May 25.
Jackie Mason was
Mr. Silbermintz is a low-key great and so was
the
master
of
timing
and deliv-
his
timing."
fellow with a nasal, New York
By then, Mr. Silbermintz was ery, according to Mr. Silbermintz.
Jewish way of speaking (as in,
As a yeshiva student at Zich-
"I'm staying by my parents for something of an expert on come-
Shabbos"), but he is clearly ex- dians. He had been observing ron Moshe, Mr. Silbermintz ac-
cited about living "out West," them and analyzing their mate- knowledges that his mind was
where he'll be joined by his wife rial since he was a youngster often far from the Talmud. "I
wasn't a good student. Some-
and three sons (ages 10, 6 and growing up in the Bronx.
"I would watch them on tele- times I'd space out in class and
21 months) in June.

A

arvin
Sithermintz
an Orthodox
Jew, is moving
West to write
for jay Lem

then I'd hear the rebbe say, 'vu is
de platz (where is the place), Sil-
bermintz.' "
But the attraction of enter-
taining remained. "I wrote down
my favorite jokes in a spiral note-
book and when I got to be a
teen-ager, I thought I'd take
the best jokes and get up and
tell them."
It wasn't that easy, he learned,
but he made his way to the stage
first as a magician (as did John-
ny Carson, it should be noted).
Young Marvin apprenticed for
the legendary "Doc" Hurwitz,
whose daughter, puppeteer Shari
Lewis, still uses some of his
tricks.
"I did shows at my yeshiva,
and for Pirchei and Bnos," he re-
called, referring to two Orthodox
youth groups. Soon he was tak-
ing the subway to perform for
synagogues or nursing homes,
sometimes with Doc Hurwitz and
sometimes solo.
"If I wasn't frum (Orthodox), I
think I would have run away
with the circus," said Mr. Silber-
mintz, whose family was less

than thrilled with his interest in
performing. (He acknowledged
that his father never watched
Johnny Carson on television and
has no plans to watch Jay Leno
now.)
Mr. Silbermintz received a de-
gree in art, student-taught in
Harlem, worked as an artist and
puzzle solver for a toy company,
and wrote short stories on the
side, but his career didn't take of
until he saw Jay Leno on televi-
sion eight years ago.
The next day, he sent the co-
median a letter and three jokes.
Mr. Leno called to tell him he
liked one, and to keep trying.
Mr. Silbermintz did, and 230
jokes later, he hit the jackpot —
$50.
"I knew that Jay was fasci-
nated with what he calls 'tech-
nofolly,' improvements that we
don't need. Like a folding tooth-
brush — can you imagine a busi-
ness executive who's about to
miss his plane because his suit-
case won't shut. And then he
folds his toothbrush and every-
thing's OK"

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

73

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