It’s been a tough week for Bradley Cooper.
On Tuesday the trailer dropped for “Maestro,” Cooper’s upcoming biopic about Leonard Bernstein. But instead of focusing on his Oscar-worthy performance or how the movie is black-and-white so we know it happened in olden times, everyone is upset that he’s wearing a prosthetic nose to play the famed Jewish conductor and composer. (ICYMI, the fake schnoz is more than just little on the nose.) Who could’ve predicted this!
But don’t worry, Bradley. I, a humble Jew, completely understand your intentions.
I have to admit, at first I was extremely put off by the fake nose. But then, I saw the light. The other day, in response to a tweet with side-by-side photos of the real Bernstein and Cooper as Bernstein, my friend Iris replied, “oh good, I wouldn’t have realized he was supposed to be jewish otherwise.”
Eureka! You guys, Bradley Cooper isn’t being antisemitic. He just really wanted to ensure that anyone who sees the movie understands that Leonard Bernstein was a Jew!
Brad, mishpacha, the message has been received loud and clear. However, I think we can all agree that the execution was slightly flawed. (No one’s perfect! We all have an antisemitism controversy now and again. But don’t beat yourself up about it! This will in no way affect your career.) So, for the record and future reference, here are all the definitely real ways Bradley Cooper could’ve played Jewish in “Maestro” without that pesky prosthetic nose, compiled by me, a Jew:
1. Horns. If you’re going to invoke centuries-old antisemitic stereotypes at least get a little creative with it, damn.
2. Grubby little hands. A comically large nose prosthetic is offensive, but makeup which would somehow make Bradley Cooper’s mitts smaller and dirtier? That is hilarious.
3. Carry around a matzah ball at all times. Naturally, the role of the matzah ball would be played by Rachel Brosnahan.
4. Make Leonard Bernstein Orthodox. Was Leonard Bernstein an Orthodox Jew? No, no he was not. But non-Jews have an easier time identifying those with payot, large beards and shtreimels as members of the tribe. Just call it an artistic choice.
5. A 10-minute scene in which Leonard and Felicia play Jewish geography. “You went to camp with Reuven Levy?! He’s my cantor’s daughter’s third cousin! We play mah jongg on Saturdays!” I think this would easily get the point across.
6. Lots of yelling and kvetching. Being loud and complaining isn’t specifically a Jewish cultural phenomenon (see: Italian culture), but it would certainly add authenticity that “Maestro” lacks by nature of making its entire audience pretend that Bradley Cooper is Jewish for 129 minutes.
7. Halfway through it just becomes “Fiddler on the Roof.” Now that’s a movie I would actually be excited to watch.
8. A post-credit scene in which Bradley Cooper (as himself) lists all his Jewish friends. This wouldn’t actually affect how Bradley played Leonard Bernstein, but it just feels right, you know?
9. Have him dive into a pool of gold coins Scrooge McDuck-style. I’m not sure which would take more effort: sculpting a prosthetic Jew beak or filling a swimming pool full of money as a nod to stereotypes about Jews and money. But the hair and makeup team and props department should certainly go with whichever dogwhistle is most convenient for them!
10. Make Leonard Bernstein a goblin in the “Harry Potter” universe. Everyone knows that the stewards of Gringotts Bank in J.K. Rowling’s magical children’s books are Jew-coded. But did you know that “Maestro” is actually a sequel to “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore?”
11. The only music he’s shown conducting is klezmer. Nevermind that Bernstein is most well-known for leading philharmonic orchestras. Bernstein was a Jew and klezmer is Jew music, duh.
12. Every other word of dialogue is “oy vey.” Because, as a Jewish audience member, that will also be every other word out of my mouth when I inevitably see this movie.
13. Include Shylock’s “Hath not a Jew eyes” monologue. Just to really drive the point home.
14. Be Jake Gyllenhaal. Really, the easiest way for Bradley Cooper to play Jewish is to actually just have been Jewish actor Jake Gyllenhaal all along. Problem solved!