Shalom Life | December 26, 2014

Breakthrough Jew - Mendy Pellin

Pellin was referred to by The New York Times as “Stephen Colbert with a beard and a black hat."

By: Sara Torvik

Published: November 27th, 2014 in Culture » Society » News

Breakthrough Jew - Mendy Pellin

Hot, hip, and heady, the next wave of Jewish artists and influencers has already arrived. This is Breakthrough Jew, your weekly showcase of those on the verge of discovery and ready to be a regular figure in pop culture; setting trends, redefining genres, and simply getting it done-whatever ‘it’ is. These days, it’s not enough to know what’s hot now; you need to catch someone when they’re just starting to simmer.

Featuring those in film, fashion, food, and beyond, we’ll find the story before substance is obscured by style, before hype meets backlash, and before talent and purpose gets lost in a maze of Internet chatter. See an artist in the cozy bar before they hit the amphitheater, dine at a chef’s new restaurant before the line begins, and catch a young writer’s work before the demands of ratings and longevity encroach.

Follow our lead and we’ll follow yours – send us tips or suggestions via email, comment below or tweet us @ShalomLife, as we explore the Jewish landscape for pop culture pioneers.

Name: Mendy Pellin

Age: 32

Hometown: Denver, Colorado and Crown Heights, New York

Breakthrough Cred: Web-based satirical news series ‘The Mendy Report’

Mendy Pellin is not your typical Jewish rabbi. Over the past few years he has been aiming to change the perceptions of Orthodox Jews with his brand of comedy that blends Hassidic spirituality with out-of-the box humour. He was even referred to by the New York Times as “Stephen Colbert with a beard and a black hat,” which is definitely not a bad reputation to have.

Pellin was born in Denver, Colorado but his family soon moved to New York and much of his childhood was spent in the neighbourhood of Crown Heights, which was home to the Hassidic Jewish movement, Chabad-Lubavitch. Even as a child he loved to make people laugh and first learned the tricks of the trade at a local puppet theatre.

The comedy bug followed him into adulthood and he began to incorporate it into another passion of his, filmmaking. He created his first comedy video over a decade ago when he was working as counsellor at a Jewish Ukrainian summer camp program. In the video, Pellin filmed himself traveling around the Ukraine on a bike, behaving as a homeless man, trying to hitchhike, and entering public fountains in the center of town. At the end of the summer he posted the video to the summer camp’s website and it went “viral,” an impressive feat since this was still in the pre-YouTube days.

Since then his career as a comedian and filmmaker has grown to extraordinary new heights. His stand-up has been seen all over the world, he has appeared as a guest on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and he has worked with an impressive array of celebrities. In 2011, he appeared alongside Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Robin Wright, and Phillip Seymour Hoffman in the Academy Award nominated film Moneyball.

Pellin also has his own web-based satirical news show called The Mendy Report, which puts an ultra-Orthodox twist on the day’s top news stories and is likely where all of the comparisons to Stephen Colbert come in, as well as a YouTube channel called Jewbellish where he posts all of his signature comedy routines and spoofs. One of his most popular videos on his channel is “Talk Yiddish to Me, a music video parody of the hit Jason Derulo song, “Talk Dirty.” To date, the video has 273,300 views and over 2000 likes.


But not everyone is such a fan of Pellin’s work. He has been criticised by some leaders of the Hassidic community, and some of his videos have been dubbed offensive to the faith. Pellin, for his part, recognizes people’s objections to some of his material but says that it won’t stop him from continuing to put his material out there. Ultimately, he hopes to challenge people’s perceptions of what Hassidic Jews are like. “People think Hasidic Jews don’t have a sense of humor,” he says. Also adding that, “there is a certain percentage of people who can’t take a joke. Here I am making fun of the stereotype rather than feeding into it.”

Pellin will be hosting the Orthodox Jewish All Stars party on Dec. 2, 2014 at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City. All of the information about the event can be found here.


The Ten Best Jewish Albums of 2014 The Ten Best Jewish Albums of 2014 TrendingNatalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson Debate "Is The Gaza War Really Over?" Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson Debate "Is The Gaza War Really Over?" TrendingTop 50 Hottest Jewish Men of 2014 (50-41) Top 50 Hottest Jewish Men of 2014 (50-41) Trending
 

Top 50 Hottest Jewish Men of 2014 (40-31)

December 25, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
Top 50 Hottest Jewish Men of 2014 (40-31)

oin Shalom Life in celebrating the 50 most talented, intelligent, funny, and beautiful Jewish men of the year.

Read More

Jewish Hall of Fame: Dinah Manoff

December 24, 2014 | By Caitlin Marceau
Jewish Hall of Fame: Dinah Manoff

Manoff will forever be remembered for her iconic role in 'Grease'

Read More

The Ten Best Jewish Albums of 2014

December 24, 2014 | By Caitlin Marceau
The Ten Best Jewish Albums of 2014

A look at the best LP's delivered by Jewish artists, musicians, singers, rappers, etc.

Read More

Helena Bonham Carter and Tim Burton Split After 13 Years

December 24, 2014 | By Sara Torvik
Helena Bonham Carter and Tim Burton Split After 13 Years

The famous couple have two children together.

Read More

James Franco Celebrates 'The Interview' Release By Thanking President "Obacco"

December 24, 2014 | By Sara Torvik
James Franco Celebrates 'The Interview' Release By Thanking President "Obacco"

Franco poked fun at the President's name flub at a press conference for Sony leak last week

Read More

Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson Debate "Is The Gaza War Really Over?"

December 24, 2014 | By Sara Torvik
Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson Debate "Is The Gaza War Really Over?"

Thanks to the Sony leak, we have access to an email conversation about Israel and Palestine.

Read More

The Love Jewce: Let's Not Forget the Golden Rule

December 24, 2014 | By Andria Kaplan
The Love Jewce: Let's Not Forget the Golden Rule

"Do to others as you would have them do to you"

Read More

Adam Sandler Tops Forbes List of Most Overpaid Actors... Again

December 24, 2014 | By Sara Torvik
Adam Sandler Tops Forbes List of Most Overpaid Actors... Again

For the second year in a row, Sandler comes out on top as the most overpaid actor in Hollywood.

Read More

More Headlines