18 Things to Know About Jewish Actress Ari Graynor

The "Surface" actress was once personally offered a job by fellow Jew Rashida Jones.

Ari Graynor is one of those millennial actors who’s been around forever.

She came onto the scene in the early 2000s, but over the last decade she’s becoming a leading lady in her own right.

So, to celebrate her lengthy career and future projects, let’s learn a little bit more about the Jewish actress.

Here are 18 things to know about Ari Graynor:

1. Ari was born in Boston in 1983 to a Jewish family.

2. She was born on April 27, making her a Taurus!

3. Ari’s mother comes from an Ashkenazi Jewish background and her father comes from a Polish Catholic background, however he converted to Judaism.

4. She got her start in acting at age 7 by doing community theater.

5. Her first ever job was doing a sponsored video for the Lutheran Church.

6. Ari attended Buckingham Browne & Nichols, a private school in Cambridge, and went on to attend Trinity College.

7. She went to prom with a Kennedy!

Listen to her discuss how she nabbed Congressman Joe Kennedy III as a date:

8. Ari first rose to prominence as Caitlin Rucker, Meadow’s college roommate, in “The Sopranos.”

You can get a sense of Caitlin and Meadow’s rapport in this clip from the show with a very click-baity thumbnail:

9. She made her Broadway debut in 2005 in “Brooklyn Boy.”

In an interview with Broadway World Magazine, Ari revealed that despite doing both TV and film, she prefers the stage.

“Theatre is where I feel the most at home…I’m able to come alive on stage,” she said.

10. In 2008, Ari starred in “Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist” alongside fellow Jewish actress Kat Dennings.

She played Norah’s (extremely drunk) best friend, Caroline. You can see just how drunk her character is in this clip:

11. Another fellow Jewish actress, Rashida Jones, personally offered Ari the role of her character’s best friend in “Celeste and Jesse Forever,” also starring Andy Samberg.

It was literally like the cutest, most popular boy in high school asking you to the prom,” Ari remembered in a Vanity Fair interview. “I was like, ‘Oh, my god. I can’t believe she’s asking me to be in her movie!”

Check out Ari in the trailer:

12. Ari thinks she should be compensated for “how Jewish” she comes off:


Rabbi Ari Graynor does have a nice ring to it!

13. For the movie “For a Good Time Call…,” which is about two roommates who run a phone-sex hotline out of their apartment, Ari had to do some risqué voiceover work in front of her mom.

“I was moaning, doing these horrid fake orgasms, and being like, ‘Throw it in my ass! Throw it in my ass!’ With my mom there,” Ari told Vulture.

Ari, you are braver than we are.

14. In a 2015 interview with Vulture, reporter Rose Maura Lorre introduced Ari to Jewish singer Dean Friedman with his song “Ariel.” (Ariel is Ari’s full first name.)

Here’s the full interaction:

RML: Are you aware of the song?
AG: Am I aware of the song?
RML: The song “Ariel.”
AG: What song is this?
RML: It’s a kinda weird, Jewish singer-songwriter from the ’70s named Dean Friedman. I’m gonna change your life. I’m gonna tweet you this song.
AG: I couldn’t be more excited for anything. A weird, Jewish singer from the ’70s?
RML: It is hilarious. You will love it, I promise. He kind of looks like Bob Ross, the PBS painter, and he rocks a corduroy blazer.
AG: Ahhh! I can’t wait!

You too, can check out the song below:

15. To prepare for her role as stand-up comic Cassie Feder in “I’m Dying Up Here,” Ari actually tried stand-up!

“There was a weekend where [costar] Michael Angarano and I went around to a couple of open mics in L.A. ,” Ari told Entertainment Weekly. “It was, like, 3 o’clock on a Saturday at a coffee shop, and we did one on a Sunday afternoon in someone’s yard with a mic that was not hooked up to anything at all. I actually signed up under my character’s name and did her whole routine. I added some stuff and fleshed it out. I don’t want to say it killed, but it was not so bad that I was afraid to ever do it again. It felt like a badge of honor.”

Listen to her discuss Cassie here:

16. Never seen the movie “The Room,” which the more recent movie “The Disaster Artist” is based on?

No worries! Ari, who starred in “The Disaster Artist,” will explain it to you!

17. In 2020, Ari portrayed Brenda Feigen-Fasteau in “Mrs. America.”

Check out this clip where Brenda and her husband Marc (portrayed by Jewish actor Adam Brody) debate the Schlaflys:

18. Ari is slated to star in the upcoming Apple TV+ show “Surface.”

Per Variety, “‘Surface’ is an elevated thriller about a woman’s quest to rebuild her life after a suicide attempt and her struggle to remember — and understand — everything that led up to the moment when she jumped.”

Can’t wait to see what you do next, Ari!

Evelyn Frick

Evelyn Frick (she/they) is a writer and associate editor at Hey Alma. She graduated from Vassar College in 2019 with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature. In her spare time, she's a comedian and contributor for Reductress and The Onion.

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