If my Bubbee could see me now! Thanks to the folks at JEWS KICK ASS!!! for the awesome questions.
Jessie Beth Kahnweiler: Holy chutzpah means acknowledging the inner spark inside of you buried bellow your ego and letting that lead you through this life.It’s usually the harder, less popular path but it always makes for the best view.
JKA: Which comedians have inspired you?Jessie Beth Kahnweiler: Woody Allen, Larry David, Molly Picon, and above all I love Lucy:)
and Hitchcock is hilarious…for real! so subtle..so confident in what HE finds funny. I really admire that
JKA: Do you feel that women have got a bum wrap in comedy
Jessie Beth Kahnweiler: I don’t even hear that kind of stuff. I just keep talking and only listen when it’s productive dialogue and I mean if you’re laughing at anything on TV movies web a woman had something to do with it.
JKA: It’s your job to be funny. What makes you laugh?
Jessie Beth Kahnweiler: Old baby pictures of myself. what an awkward kid!! every frame of Curb Your Enthusiasm when I hear people having sex next store (bc I’m 12), MY MOM!!!
JKA: Speaking of moms…..Jews feel guilt. Do you think it’s nature or nurcher?
Jessie Beth Kahnweiler: Little bit of both. I think a certain amount of guilt can be healthy it helps me focus on what I want out of life and help keeps me honest or maybe I just drank the Kool Aid…Jew Aid!!!
JKA: That’s funny! Jew Aid. You might want to trademark that. What makes Jews so funny?
Jessie Beth Kahnweiler: We’re open and honest and when it comes down to it life is so damn funny u don’t need a punch line… Life is the punch line
JKA: Do you have any secret talents you we should know about?
Jessie Beth Kahnweiler: I’m amazing at eating all the ice cream before it gets in the bowl.
And I can kill plants like nobody’s business. And I love free style rapping
My rap name is Star of David!
JKA: If you were a superhero what would a. your name be? b. what would your powers be? c. how did you get your powers?
Jessie Beth Kahnweiler: I turn into kosher girl in episode 5! so that would def be my name. I would replace every drop of hate with a hug, make sure no one was hungry or lonely or without the latest Radiohead album and I’d make veggies taste like funnel cake.
JKA: So would veggies be your weakness?
Jessie Beth Kahnweiler: No I love veggies! My weakness is drummers.
JKA: Not the one from Def Leppard I hope.
Jessie Kahnweiler is a 28-year-old filmmaker from Atlanta best-known for her new web series, Dude Where’s my Chutzpah. The series follows Kahnweiler on her quest to find meaning in Judaism after her grandmother dies, leaving her a large sum of money with one caveat: she’ll only receive the money if she can reconnect with her Jewish soul.Kahnweiler is candid and hilarious, and has a way of saying the things you want to say but don’t have enough ‘chutzpah’ to actually say. She was awarded a Six Points Fellowship in 2012, a grant that supports Jewish artistic endeavors, and has a YouTube channel filled with shorts and trailers. She’s at work on a new series, White Noise, in which she infiltrates different cultural communities and breaks down stereotypes.With an unapologetically honest and fresh voice, Kahnweiler is definitely on our radar, and should be on yours, too.
Did you always want to tell stories?
I played dress up until I was like … I don’t know, yesterday. I’ve always been interested in the art of storytelling and using my experiences to tell stories and process my own life and relationships. Since I was a kid I’ve created imaginary worlds in my head and talked to myself. In college we didn’t have a film department but I went to a hippy dippy school where you could design your own major. I took a film class and then just started making documentaries. I drove around the country with truck drivers for my thesis film, because I wanted to learn about truck drivers—I didn’t tell my mom about it until afterwards. It all just all feels like a natural progression.
What was going on before you got the Six Points Fellowship?
That’s the cool thing about this project, it really just found me. I know that sounds super cheesy, but it’s true. After college I moved to LA and started working on bigger Hollywood movie sets like Couples Retreat and Green Hornet, and I would make shorts on the side.Then I was working for Bad Robot, J.J. Abrams’ production company, and one of my mentors told me to apply to the Six Points Fellowship. I was like, ‘Whatever, I’m not Jewy, I’m the last person to ever be able to make a Jewish film. What am I gonna write about, Rivka and having 20 kids?’ But then I just applied and wound up getting the grant. I left the production company and threw myself into this project for the past year and a half.
Did your grandmother really pass away and leave you a sum of money or was that fictional?
My grandmother actually ended up passing away during the making of the series, so it’s very weird how art imitated life. But, no, it was just inspired by real life. I was raised super reform and I dated more non-Jewish guys then I care to comment on. I look at the grant as a metaphor for how it really was. Like I got the grant and was like ok I’m going to make a film about being Jewish. That kind of parallels the actual film, you know what I mean?
Completely. What’s the Jewish culture like down in Atlanta?
Jesus! I don’t even know—lobster waffles? There’s definitely a Jewish community there but it’s not big. I was really good at playing soccer so I played with all the goys. I had a bat mitzvah and did what I was supposed to do but it always felt like an inconvenience—like, ‘Oh, I have to go to temple.’ I equated it with going to the dentist: I’m going to go, but I’m not going to like it.I read that you pictured God as a man, and I feel like a lot of people visualize this big man in the sky running the show.
Has going to Israel and getting more in touch with your roots changed your view on spirituality?
Wow, how much time do you have? No, I think you’re absolutely speaking to the point. I do look at God as a man because God, spirituality, and everything I learned was always an instruction, to believe ‘This is what you should eat, or this is what God is.’ I think we’re given the answers a lot growing up, and it’s so unfortunate, because when you look at the history of Judaism it reveals the complete opposite. Judaism is all about questioning and playing in the gray and being comfortable in the gray.
Doing the project and being in Israel has made religion and spirituality much more of a conversation for me. It’s opened me up in so many ways—last night I went to a Buddhist meditation meeting. In the past I would make fun of myself for doing something like that but now I am much more open.
You’ve been compared to Lena Dunham, another funny Jewish girl. Do you welcome that comparison?
If you’re young and you’re a woman, people need someone to compare you to in order to understand you—so I totally see the comparison and translation of it. I think she has huge balls as a woman and really puts herself out there and has crafted this way to be an auteur and the captain of her own ship. I really admire that and obviously I like to work like that too. We’re different, but I welcome it. Honestly, I think I’m more similar to Penelope Cruz.
Love me some JEWCY read full article HERE
Jessie Kahnweiler’s, a filmmaker who wrote and directed the comedic web series ‘Dude, Where’s my Chutzpah‘ has an artist statement on her website that includes the addendum, “Jessie can’t afford therapy so she makes films.” Although her web series is premised around her searching for her own meaning of Judaism, or more aptly her own ‘innate chutzpah’, Jessie seems to already be more ‘Jewish’ than she thinks. With her quick wit and knack for sarcasm, it’s no surprise that Kahn was selected in 2011 for the 6 Points Artist Fellowship, a two year grant which “selects projects that reflect or embody a thoughtful engagement with Jewish history, values, and issues that resonate with a broad range of audiences.”
After her recently deceased Bubbie left Jessie a large sum of money in her will, Kahn discovers there’s one caveat. In order to receive the cash she must learn how to ‘Live Jewish’ for an entire year. Jessie had a Bat Mitzvah and has been on Birthright, but never felt a pull towards her own Jewish heritage.
The latest episode, #7, “ Israel Kesher” opens with Kahnweiler complaining that “God is too emotionally unavailable” for her. Her grandmother’s Rabbi, who serves as Jessie’s spiritual guide, also acts as Jessie’s whipping post. Jessie compares Rabbi Goldberg to “Ghandi’s twitter feed,” as the Rabbi tells her “To be furious with God should be just as important as loving God.” In this episode, Jessie travels to Israel where she searches for the Kotel and ends up in a danger-zone instead.
Watching Jessica on her journey to “find Hashem” is a hilarious and quirky take on soul searching.
Read full article HERE
Six Points LA (not the one that folded) Fellow Jessie Kahnweiler’s Web series “Dude, Where’s My Chutzpah” has the following premise: Jessie’s Bubbie passed away and left her a surprise legacy that she can claim if she lives Jewish for a year. This plays out over the course of 11 episodes and follows Jessie from meetings with Rabbis, other Jews, an interfaith relationship, the Holocaust and Israel. Jessie was formally brought up Reform, is possessed of a Sephardic heritage and is effectively secular and unaffiliated. In other words, she represents the most desired demographic that gets the organized Jewish community in a tizzy. Turning these people on to Judaism and Jewish affiliation is the holy grail that will save the grand Jewish edifices from being overwhelmed by Orthodox Jews and keep the institutions of Jewish life under the control of “our crowd” type folks. Jewish, but not too Jewish. Jessie just wanted to make a Jewy Web series that was ostensibly Jewish but she seems to have unwittingly wandered into a veritable minefield.I talked to Jessie about this and other stuff, and, as always, she was a hoot. I’ve met Jessie at Shabbat tables and at the Jewlicious Festival and I expected no less:
Read full article HERE
CHECK OUT THE SEQUEL TO “DUDE WHERE’S MY CHUTZPAH?”
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Ever Wonder what I look like before I brush my teeth/jewfro? Check out this awesome interview with The Jewish Week New York. You ask all the right questions…
“Dude, where’s my chutzpah?” has been compared to the HBO series Girls by Jewcy. The web series, created by Jessie Kahnweiler, follows the story of Jessie who must live a Jewish life for one year in order to receive her inheritance from her recently deceased Bubbe. In the second episode, you learn that Jessie’s idea of living a Jewish life includes haggling at a sample sale, shopping at Bloomingdales, going on a date with a Jewish doctor, eating Chinese food, and dancing the Macarena.
Take note, this series is not for the easily offended Jew (at least not at he beginning). Jessie plays off all the typical Jewish stereotypes and jokes on her path to Jewish discovery.
Beneath the crude humor and Jew jokes, there is a level of seriousness to the series. On the series’ website, Jessie posts podcasts of interviews she’s done with members of the Jewish community, including rabbis, concerning their own Jewish journeys. According to a Huffington Post article about the series, we can expect some interesting moments on the show.
Only three episodes have been posted so far, though according to Jessie’s blog the next episode – “Going Ortho”- will be up in the next 24 hours.
Jessie Kahnweiler’s new web series is kind of like ‘Girls’—only way more Jewish.
Move over Jenny Slate, there’s a new web series in town. ‘Dude, Where’s My Chutzpah,’ which premiered this week, features Jessie Kahnweiler on an untraditional quest to find out what it means to live Jewishly (beyond, you know, saying L’Chaim and eating pastrami).
Her job prospects are slim (one regular gig involves dressing like a pickle with an ‘Eat me, I’m kosher’ t-shirt’), her boyfriend is a total dick, and she wore a shiny one-shoulder dress to her grandmother’s funeral (where she eulogizes that her grandmother would be thrilled that she finally was in the same room as so many single Jewish guys). Girl’s a mess. But the news that her late grandmother left her a significant sum of money—with the stipulation that she spend a year living a Jewish life—starts her on an unconventional, and surprisingly entertaining, journey.
The project is Kahnweiler’s brainchild, and her Six Points Fellowship project. The 28-year-old filmmaker has been living in Los Angeles for the last seven years, working in post-production, including a stint at J.J. Abram’s Bad Robot Productions, and writing and filming her own projects on the side (like the web short Baby Love, which features Anchorman’s David Koechner as the older guy who dumps her for being too young, and stars a random baby as the guy she dates next).
She’s like a more Jewish Lena Dunham (“Is it because I’m chubby?”), in the way her ‘Dude, Where’s My Chutzpah’ character exudes an affected, entitled naiveté similar to Hannah, Dunham’s character on Girls. But like Dunham, Kahnweiler is giving legitimacy to the questioning and the curiosity of this 20-something (Jewish) woman, positing that there is something real and important about those struggles, no matter how trivial and self-absorbed they may seem.
“She certainly opened up the door on some level,” Kahnweiler told me. “It was like well, ‘It’s going to be my journey and my story and yeah, I have hair on my chest and love handles, but why shouldn’t I be in it?”
Read full article HERE
Jessie: For me it’s all coming from a natural/authentic place because the journey was so personal. I was treading in such unfamiliar territory I had to just give up any sense of what the finished product was going to be, which is maddening because I knew I had to deliver a finished product at the end of the two years. Insert corny moment: making art is like falling in love, the second you try to define/label it, it turns to sh-t. So I just tried to give into the process, get dirty, make an ass of myself, and know that something greater than me was piecing it all together.
As far as the comedy factor, I’m never going for the joke. I am 100% genuine in my curiosity about learning (trying to learn) about what it means to be Jewish. Of course comedic moments rise from it because any kind of struggle has comedic moments to it, but I’m not trying to make you laugh. Honestly, life is funny enough without the punch lines. During production I was constantly channeling the rich history we as Jews have at poking fun at ourselves, finding the absurdity in the human condition and most of all laughing through the tears. I’m so proud to come from this culture that supports my desire to seek, question, challenge. I’m standing on the shoulders of hilarious giants full of chutzpah.
Read full article HERE
Mainly, though, it’s Jessie Kahnweiler who shines through. She has such an outgoing personality that it’s hard not to enjoy the ride with her. The character she’s crafted (and despite the similarity in names, it is a character. We’ve met — her grandfather and my dad are long-time friends — and though she’s definitely outgoing, she’s also far more lowkey, thoughtful and surprisingly shy) is sort of a cross between Sarah Silverman and Zooey Deschanel — annoyingly likeable. But it’s all Jessie. Adding to the charm is that she clearly has no qualms about humiliating herself, and coming across the goofball, because ultimately the jokes are almost all on her.
More than just her personality and acting, though, what leaps out is how talented she is, all around. Even when everything doesn’t work and needs a bit of reining in, it’s clear that you’re watching someone with her hand on her craft at a young age, who has a strong future. And I do suspect she has a future, because pulling this off, on all those levels, is no easy trick, for anyone, let alone a young woman in Hollywood. Pulling this off, on all these levels — just raising the money, alone, never mind wearing all the hats — suggests that Jessie Kahnweiler is not someone who takes, “No. Get out of my office. Guards, throw her out,” for an answer. And in the end, the webseries is quite well-directed, entertainingly written and richly-produced for such a small budget, and she’s a hoot on screen.
Read full article HERE
Downtown Independent has never had so much Chutzpah…Dude. We packed the house! Thank you for coming out especially the woman who yelled at me during the Q & A…I’m comin’ out swingin’. The world is in need of some chutzpah are YOU ready?
WE made my Grandma Ruth proud.
“You got a little Chutzpah in your teeth.”
” HELL YEAH I DO!”
Wanna rock it Chutzpah style? Share the episodes with your friends and receive a free “Eat me I’m Kosher” T-shirt. While you’re at it sign up for the official “Dude, Where’s my Chutzpah?” Newsletter HERE!!!!! What’s more Kosher than this?
3 bagels away for our world premiere people!!!!
I’ve been on the phone with your mother non stop, she can’t wait for you to send it to her!
Already hard at work on Season 2…..
Better get back to my research….
Want your very own “Dude, Where’s my Chutzpah?” original Pickle T shirt just like Jessie wears in the series? Duh!!! This yummy American Apparel T is YOURS. How? Just Tweet me to find out how! @shegotchutzpah.
I’m speaking of course about the world premiere !!!!! I’m going to try and fit back into my dress from MODERN VINTAGE TODAY and relive this evening all over again. Thank you all for coming and making the evening beyond a dream come true. More pics soon! Check out my dates for the evenings (my Jewfro and Mr. Albert Rosa!)
Major props to THE DOWNTOWN INDEPENDENT for making everything look and sound amazing, The Reuben Truck for giving me the best corn beef breath, and YALA, The Jewish Federation, JCC WithoutWalls, and The 6 Points Fellowship for the unconditional support!!!!
Had a blast this morning on The Titans of Radio GRAND THEFT AUDIO SHOW. Tune is as I pretend that I don’t have an Okcupid Profile, dish on some behind the scenes chutzpahness, talk about the the sequel in the works, and pretend to know all the sports references mentioned. They even brought me some Danish bc they heard somewhere that Jews “were into Danish”… Does being on the radio make me look skinny? Catch the full interview HERE (I start blabbing around 1:15)
I had a blast on THE STORY with ANDY STEINHAUSER! From growing up in Atlanta to gaining the freshman 15 at the Johnston Center for Integrative Studies and every bad outfit in between. You can’t go home again but you can laugh your ass off talking about it. Check out the full interview HERE!!!10 bagels to the first person who can tell me WHY my left boob looks so much bigger….
CHECK OUT THE AWESOME ARTICLE IN HIPSTER JEW AND START CRUSHING on THESE BOYS LIKE I DO.
FOR FULL ARTICLE CLICK ME
So beyond thrilled to premiere DWMC at the one and only DOWNTOWN INDEPENDENT THEATER !!!! Seems like only yesterday I was trying to forget making out with the programmer at the Southern Maryland Asian Pacific Noir Film Festival on the awesome rooftop deck… I’m already at the theater waiting for you! I know I need a life but this is going to be the best night ever forever.
Don’t forget to RSVP @ email@example.com
It’s so funny how trouble finds you when you’re on your hands and knees begging for it.
#1) The Hebrew Warrior
While in Jerusalem, I try to get infamous self-proclaimed Hebrew warrior to be in my documentary about discovering Judaism in order to break stereotype of nebbish image Woody Allen Jew. After a series of texts (yes, even warriors text) he invites me to watch him teach a class, though I’m told to leave my nunchucks at home as women are not allowed to fight with men (for fear our uterus’s may fracture). I walk into the dusty basement and there his is: fierce, strong, kind of like a Kosher Mr. Clean expect for the whole clean part. He speaks straight out of the Old Testament especially when he offers me some of his “herbal tea” drink pouring it down my throat before I even have time to decide wether I want it or not. He rocks sandals and wears a bed sheet and not in a crazy person on Hollywood Blvd kind of way. In a crazy person in Jerusalem kind of way. He’ll totally help get me enlightened on camera before I have to meet my roommate for karaoke at the western wall.
Later that night, we make plans to meet up and I put on the one shirt I have left without pit stains and make sure my camera is fully charged. Around Midnight, my warrior picks me up in a cab with a one eyed driver (though I’m not really sure which eye was missing). 3 cell phones rest atop his hand woven skirt and he screams in Hebrew into his Bluetooth (I’m pretty sure he’s saying “I’m with this filmmaker who bears a striking resemblance to Selma Hayek). He continues fielding calls while motioning for the driver to pull over in this abandoned park outside of the old city. We share a bench and some more “holy” tea as he explains that in order to be in the movie I have to “hold his Shabbos candle.” He promises one night with him and I will no longer be waiting for the Messiah to come. I race back into the taxi and pray to the patron saint of lesbian to save me. He follows me into the cab demanding to know how I can be so selfish to disobey him aka G-d’s plan and also if I’ll split the cab fare…..
Subscribe to my Youtube page HERE for all the latest Chutzpah Videos!!!! And don’t miss the series Launch May 19th!
Need to brush up on your chutzpah? No problem! Go to an NYC street (or any street really) rock those new leggings that make you look like you do Pilates and wait for the putz who didn’t get hugged enough as a child to appear…
It’s not always easy to break out your chutzpah but when life gives you lemons, tell that perverted lemon who’s boss!
I was strolling the streets of NYC this morning looking for my CHUTZPAH when the coolest thing that’s ever happened…happened to ME. I’m so used to being mistaken for Selma Hayek, it’s really nice when the universe changes it up.
So honored to be featured in the You. blog by the one and only Shareen of Shareen’s vintage fame. We got so many one of kind pieces for the web series there. Her clothes are like that perfect boyfriend, they just hug you in all the right places (and even leave room for that Red Velvet Cupcake your soul calls for). There’s no place I’d rather get buck naked in front of strangers knee deep in taffeta. I love you Shareen!
So it finally happened. My dreams pulled a quick one on me and all of a sudden I found myself sitting across from Mel Brooks! In our hour together he imparted me with meaningful deep life lessons, taught me the golden rules of comedy, and even gave me dating advice. (Always date drummers NEVER date guitar players)
I kinda OD’ed on too much awesomeness but one thing I’ll never forget, when asking Mr. Brooks how he got through all the rejection, pain, agony, fear, and overall “AH!!!” of trying to live a life guided by your dreams, he chuckled and quickly fired back:
“Nevermind! Just leave all of that on the bus and keep on going”
As our meeting came to a close Mel showed me to the door and commented that I was “easy”. Unsure if this was a good thing or not (like Trader Joes pre-made dinner “easy” OR Rizzo from Grease ”easy”?) I decided to just ask him.
“I mean you’re easy to talk to…I thought I was going to have to fake a stomach ache after the first ten minutes”
Keeping THAT one on the bus for at least 2,000 years.
Here are some snaps from todays amazing color session with the fellahs @ pre historic digital Thanks for your genius skillz and all the seltzer water. Chutzpah never looked soooo fine!!!
I don’t know how I tricked Nami M. Scott into being my Bff. I must’ve saved some blind orphans from a fire in a past life or something. She struts, blogs, writes, animates, cuts hair, makes you seltzer and listens while all your problems melt away. Twas an honor to be interviewed for her amazing website Nami M. Scott Life Enthusiast I’m really kvelling now…
Nami and I star in our own sitcom “JAPS”
Episode 43 is up! Jessie Kahnweiler, the mind behind the new web series DUDE WHERE’S MY CHUTZPAH? tells the boys all about it. She then sticks around to discuss Liz & Dick, Judd Apatow and Mitt Romney’s love of Twilight. Remember to download, subscribe and rate at the iTunes store.
Don’t worry mom, I’ve finally met a nice Jewish boy. He can really shake his hips (even if they’re not his real one)
Great to chat with my friends at Jspace. Loved chatting so much I almost missed my flight to Israel.
Check out the interview here
Thanks for the love Jspace!