Spark Networks’ President Greg Liberman caught up with Christopher Guest and Eugene Levy while promoting a new comedy starring a number of their ensemble’s gifted regulars. “For Your Consideration,” a sometimes biting satire of Hollywood in general and awards season in particular, explores the impact of “Oscar buzz” on a movie’s cast and crew. The film within a film, “Home for Purim,” is a melodramatic weeper about a Jewish family in the South during World War II. The interview, though short, is as funny as you’d expect…
GREG LIBERMAN: Thanks guys, for doing this. I’m a big fan.
CHRISTOPHER GUEST: Sure. So you’re looking for a date?
GREG: I’m actually here to interview you.
EUGENE LEVY: We’re talking about the movie… That’s not why he’s here, that’s just who he works for [JDate].
CHRISTOPHER: Oh, I see. Because I know a couple people…
GREG: We only have a few minutes, so I’ll ask short questions like, “Why Purim?”Eugene calls me every few days and says, ‘The laptop, it opens from the front or from the side?’
EUGENE: Because it is a fun holiday, innocuous enough… with costumes, and yet there’s no religiosity attached to it.
CHRISTOPHER: It’s not a heavy hitter among holidays, so that’s why we picked Purim.
GREG: Eugene, you recently told The Jewish Week that there was a lot of Jewishness that comes through in the writing and, indeed, many of the funniest moments in this movie were about Judaism and the Jewish characters. How do the two of you think Judaism has influenced your style of comedy?
CHRISTOPHER: Well, there are two different things. You’re talking about Judaism, as opposed to Jewish humor, which is a cultural thing and different than talking about an entire religion affecting the way you make movies. So I would say that in the culture of anyone working in comedy, Jewish humor has been a huge thing from the very beginning, and we’ve been influenced by that.
EUGENE: Influenced, yes, absolutely. We’re old enough to kind of go back a ways, watching some of the great Jewish comedians and performers in the business. So, you know, through osmosis, it comes through your skin a little bit.
GREG: Who are some of your favorite Jewish comedians?
CHRISTOPHER: Well, we’re old enough to have seen a lot of stand-ups on Ed Sullivan in the ‘50s, and Jackie Mason, obviously.
EUGENE: Jackie Mason would be up there. He makes me laugh, but I remember laughing at Alan King and Jan Murray…
CHRISTOPHER: Don Rickles.
EUGENE: Rickles, of course. [Richard] Belzer.
GREG: In the movie, one of the turning points comes when Marilyn Hack learns that someone has written a blog on the Internet about her potentially being nominated for an Oscar. How does the Internet influence you, or has it influenced you in any way?
EUGENE: Well, I think Chris uses the Internet a lot, but I don’t know whether he actually goes into the show business sites…
EUGENE: And I don’t actually go to those places where, you know, you hear people use group discussion things, that’s a little too–
CHRISTOPHER: Eugene calls me every few days and says, “The laptop, it opens from the front or from the side?” I’ll say, “There’s a little latch and it just opens straight up.” I read newspapers on the Internet and I email people, but I don’t go into the blogosphere at all.
GREG: The family in “Home for Purim” was gathered for a holiday meal and also you, Chris, were eating a corned-beef sandwich in the movie that looked quite good.
CHRISTOPHER: You know what; it was not as good as it looked. Without literally plugging – although I will – it wasn’t from the Roll ‘N Rye, which is my favorite deli. That was where I asked it to be sent from – seriously – and they couldn’t get it in time. But if it had been, it would have been better. It was corned beef on rye – corn rye with Swiss going through it and a little Russian.
GREG: What are some of your favorite Jewish foods?
EUGENE: Favorite Jewish foods? Well…
CHRISTOPHER: Don’t say Jell-O, ‘cause that’s more of an international thing.
EUGENE: We used to have that when I was a kid and I thought it was a Jewish food.
CHRISTOPHER: I understand. It was cut into the shape of the Star of David, but he’s talking about fairly–
EUGENE: It had the same kind of wiggle as the gel that goes on gefilte fish.
CHRISTOPHER: He likes chicken in a pot. He orders that sometimes.
EUGENE: Well, with soup.
CHRISTOPHER: Right, that’s the pot part of it.
EUGENE: Yeah, no, no. You don’t just put a chicken in a pot, look at it and say, “Well, how is it done?”
CHRISTOPHER: No, I understand.
EUGENE: Yes, chicken soup.
GREG: Each of you has been married for a number of years, do you guys have any relationship–
CHRISTOPHER: Not to each other though. We each have separate wives.
GREG: I did read that somewhere. Do you have any relationship advice for our members?
CHRISTOPHER: Advice. Yes, right. So as married people, you want advice for single people?
CHRISTOPHER: Keep plugging away, although your prospects are dim.
EUGENE: You know – think twice about it [marriage].