Curb Your Enthusiasm’s Jeff Garlin headlines UJA celebration


Tickets to October 27th event at Royal York Hotel are going fast

By Daniel Horowitz--“A Frenchman, an Irishman and a Jew are walking through the desert. The Frenchman says ‘I’m so tired; I must have a glass of wine.’ The Irishman says ‘I’m so tired, I’m so thirsty, I must have a glass of beer’. The Jew says, ‘I’m so tired, I’m so thirsty, I must have diabetes.’”

The above is Jeff Garlin’s favourite Jewish joke and just a sample what attendees of a special United Jewish Appeal 2011 Campaign event on Wednesday, October 27th, can expect. That’s when, at Toronto’s Fairmont Royal York Hotel at 7:30 pm, UJA presents Garlin, the Jewish 48-year-old co-star of HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, as the keynote speaker in a celebration of its 2011 Campaign.
UJA Campaign 2011 – chaired by Sherry Firestone and Jeff Rosenthal - has already raised more than $33 million toward its goal of over $66 million in the wake of threats to our children, our grandchildren and our way of life created by the global movement designed to delegitimize Israel as a Jewish state.

Campaign 2011 dollars will continue to fund transformative change for Jews in need here in Toronto, in Israel and around the world. At the same time, dollars raised beyond last year’s campaign total will support initiatives designed to instill a strong Jewish identity in our young, including a deeper connection to Israel. In the course of doing so, UJA will provide the next generation with the tools they need to successfully answer the challenges posed by those who attack the core of the Jewish people through their efforts against Israel.

In addition to Curb Your Enthusiasm, which launched its eighth season just last week, Garlin is a respected writer, producer, director and stand-up comic. He began his career in stand-up while at the University of Miami, before eventually dropping out, honing his comedic skills on the stage of Second City in Chicago. He was part of the cast of NBC’s Mad About You and in the film Daddy Day Care with Eddie Murphy. His other film roles include the voice of The Captain in Disney Pixar’s Wall-e, and as Buttercup the Unicorn in Toy Story 3.

“My background is that I always was the class clown,” says Garlin, who plays the fictional Larry David’s henpecked manager, Jeff Greene – and the perpetually scolded husband of Susie Essman - on the television show.  “I went to Hebrew school, had a bar mitzvah, used to go to Temple with all the old Jewish men and then have lox and bagels. I married a Jewish girl; my boys will be bar mitzvahed, and I’m very proud and happy to be Jewish and I think that everything I do is naturally Jewish.”

Regarding Curb Your Enthusiasm, and his role on the popular show, Garlin states: “Originally, I approached Larry David with the idea for the show, and my intent was to direct it, and not even be in it,” he says. “He’s the one that insisted that I play his manager and be an executive producer. It totally has changed my life, and I’m indebted to him forever, and every time I work on that show, not only am I lucky, I laugh my ass off and I have a great time. And it’s probably the most fun I’ll ever have as an actor, ever.”

Garlin is a Chicago native whose father had a plumbing supply business and whose mother was active in community theatre. He also authored his first book this year titled “My Footprint: Carrying the Weight of the World,” in which he describes a 10-month period spent testing every pound-shedding strategy imaginable: exercise regimens, 12-step programs, diets, workouts with Richard Simmons, saw him reduce his weight from a high of 320 pounds to 260.

For readers who regard him as a likeable, fun guy, Garlin expects that they will be surprised by the desperate, relentless side of himself presented in his book.
“I’ve always been the kind of unhappy person who didn’t bring others down with him,” he told the New York Times in an interview.  “Even if you worked with me and spent time with me, you’d never know. I was the jolly fat man.”

Even today, Garlin, who counts Richard Pryor as his all-time favourite comedian, also lists Jack Benny, Shelley Berman (who plays Larry David’s dad on the HBO show), Woody Allen, Albert Brooks and George Carlin as other favourite comedic influences, still enjoys the company of “old Jews.”

“Both my children went to Jewish nursery school, so I was at the Temple almost every day picking them up and dropping them off,” he says. “Here’s the thing – my Temple doesn’t have this, but I would love to go to one where they have a big lox platter after the service on a Saturday morning. And I love being around old Jews. My great-grandparents lived in London and I went and saw where they lived and went and saw the oldest synagogue in London.”

This event, chaired by Joel Feldberg and Leslie Salmons, is open to all community members who commit to making a gift to the current UJA Campaign 2011. Tickets are $30 and include a dessert reception.

To register, please call Michelle at 41.631.5685 or visit ujaevents.com/registration/JeffGarlin.

To make your Campaign gift, call 416.631.5700 or visit ujadonations.com

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