Put enough Jewish talent and Hollywood brass in a room and you’re bound to create some memorable Jewish sound bites — and the 2016 Emmy Awards on Sept. 18 proved no exception to this rule. From a shout-out to New York Jews to a tribute to late Jewish stars, here are some of those moments from TV’s biggest night.
• Jeffrey Tambor used Hebrew to tell the house band to shut up
In accepting his speech for best actor in a comedy series for his role as a transgender woman in Amazon Prime’s “Transparent,” Tambor spoke about some of the social issues the show tackles. When the band began to play, signaling that his time was up, Tambor said, “sheket bevakasha” (“quiet please!” in Hebrew) so he could continue, saying transgender actors should be given more jobs in Hollywood.
Jill Soloway of “Transparent” won the Emmy for best director of a comedy series, and grabbed media attention backstage when she said Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump was like Adolf Hitler because he “other-ized” women, Muslims and others.
• “Veep” producer dedicated win to “chubby” Upper West Side Jews
It might not be so surprising that David Mandel, an executive producer of “Veep,” dedicated the satirical show’s win for best comedy series to “chubby Jews from the Upper West Side or wherever you are.” Mandel was formerly a producer of Larry David’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and was a “Seinfeld” writer during some of the show’s late seasons.
• “Game of Thrones” creators cleaned up
The “Game of Thrones” books may be written by George R.R. Martin, but the massively successful HBO series based on the fantasy novels is spearheaded by a pair of Jews: David Benioff and Daniel “D.B.” Weiss. The pair helped make Emmy history, as the lauded series overtook “Frasier” for the most wins in Emmys history: 38. Benioff mentioned his wife Amanda Peet, who wrote a children’s book last year about a Jewish girl who feels left out on Christmas, twice in an acceptance speech.
• Some legends were honored
Gene Wilder (“Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory,” “Young Frankenstein”), Anton Yelchin (“Star Trek”), Abe Vigoda (known for his roles in “Barney Miller” and “The Godfather”) and Fyvush Finkel (a star of the Yiddish theater world and winner of a 1994 Emmy for his role in “Picket Fences”) were all mentioned in the show’s poignant “In Memoriam” segment.
• Jewish Danish director had her day
Susanne Bier is best known for her Danish feature films, which have garnered Academy Award nominations (“In a Better World”) and spawned American remakes (“Brothers”). But on Sept. 18 she won an Emmy for best directing for a limited series for her work on “The Night Manager,” an AMC miniseries.
Bier’s father fled Germany in 1933 for Denmark, where he met her mother. When Nazis began rounding up Jews there, her parents fled to Sweden in a boat. She has said her Jewish upbringing instilled in her a strong sense of family.