Once upon a time, in an innocent era when people thought the worst thing that could ever happen to the U.S. was the president getting head from someone who wasn't his wife, I was living more or less like a gypsy in the wilds of Van Nuys. No health insurance. No credit line. Toyota with 199,992 miles on it that I drove relentlessly all over tarnation to audition for indie films (the rule: if it paid, I didn't get the role). Hilariously inappropriate boyfriend. Sketchy job. Producing theater the only way I knew how, by posing more or less nude on the flyers. (Seriously, it takes a fucking act of God to get L.A. people to go see live theater. They're, all like, "But where will I park?" "But the neighborhood!" "But they're doing a 90210-a-thon on SoapNet!")
I remember walking into a bookstore around this time and picking up a copy of Kierkegaard. I read a line that basically broke down to the following sentiment: when a certain kind of guy works his ass off to convince himself he's not in a state of despair? The state he is in is precisely one of despair.
I was like, oh, shit. I thought I was a happy-go-lucky unemployed actress ... but I'm so that guy! I'm in despair!
So I searched my soul for answers, and I heard a voice. It might have been God, but more likely it was my inner upper-middle-class Jew.
The voice suggested I pursue a career in writing (which I secretly liked better than acting anyway, but no way would I have admitted it before that moment, because one's early 20s are a fun-filled time motivated almost solely by the desire to prove every single person who thought you wouldn't make it totally wrong wrong wrong as can be and then not invite them to the Oscar party).
Sure, breaking into the writing business was hard, but, come on. Couldn't be as hard as auditioning. Auditioning is the level of Hades below the one where Sisyphus pushes a rock up a hill for all eternity.
I decided to seek wisdom from this lady I knew who was a successful writer. She was this bogglingly sexy Jewess. You know those people like, say, Angelina Jolie, who prompt you to say, "If I was gonna go gay, it'd be for her?" If I was gonna go gay, it would be for this smoldering tribeslady. She wore rocker t shirts and straw cowboy hats and wrote funny, dirty, personal stuff that got published in books and aired on TV, and she had just bought the cutest house ever — and then renovated it. I went to visit her and when I peed in her bathroom I stared at the shiny new tile on the floor, imagining how much money it cost, imagining being paid enough to risk putting money into your bathroom tiles.
(At this point I'm going to stop the story for one second just to say, this entry is supposed to be about the fabulous Jewish lady I am describing to you. Yet, it is turning out to be mostly about me instead. In this way, it is reminding me of an episode of the Tyra Banks Show. So, yeah, I know it seems maybe slightly narcissitic. But my intention is to get real personal with y'all, so you can feel close to this person we're discussing. There's probably a way for me to do that without coming off quite so much like an asshat, but probably not without doing a rewrite, which I would classify as work. So I won't be doing that. I'll be talking about myself instead. I mean, it's a blog, people. There's a reason my friends and I call updating one's blog "blogsturbating.")
So anyway. I asked that lady what to do to become a writer just like her. That lady proceeded to talk to me about TV writing for over two hours.
She was sweet and not condescending and wished to help in any way she could. Little did I know — people asked her for exactly this advice all the frickin' time. So often that eventually she wrote an entire chapter about it in her book so that she could finally stop repeating herself and instead tell people to go buy it. But that day, she sipped iced tea with me and explained what a spec script is in generous detail.
It didn't stop there. When my writing partner and I wrote a screenplay that you could tell was misguided before you even opened it (because, um, the title was Genie In A Bong), this lady nevertheless passed it along to her agent. And even though her agent must have told her I was the crap-assiest writer ever to load Final Draft software onto my computer, she still believed in me enough to recommend me to a different agent a couple of years later, who did sign me and then got me tons of work. (And health insurance! And I can totally buy as many tiles as I want!!) She continues to do many things on my behalf and on behalf of many, many other people. Yes, she is my friend, and she is also a Jew performing her mitzvot-- and, by helping out another Jew, sticking it to Hitler. But ultimately? I think maybe, just maybe... underneath it all, she's a saint.
Still on the fence? What if I tell you she wrote and produced four seasons of the best TV show ever in the history of ever?
Yeah, I thought you'd climb on board. Because that lady is Jill Soloway.
Six Feet Under, author of Tiny Ladies In Shiny Pants, creator of Los Angeles comedy institution Sit 'n' Spin, writer of a short story entitled "Courtney Cox's Asshole" that will make you pee yourself laughing, devoted mother, generous friend, and owner of rack so stupendous it makes Katherine Heigl weep with envy.
I have been trying to nominate her for canonization, but the Vatican has yet to return my calls. So in the meantime, I interviewed her for our ongoing investigative report into the origins of Hebraic Hotness. It is my profound pleasure to present to you:
Profiles In Hotness: Jill Soloway
Were you always a hot Jew, or did you go through an awkward phase/convert?
I was awkward from about eleven to twenty-two with my hotness and about zero to forty with my Jewishness. I am so excited to finally be able to be both.
When others praise your hotness, what particular attribute do they most often talk about?
People think I have lovely Jewish skin, which I hope doesn't mean they think it would make good lampshades. The people also enjoy my breasts.
What do you believe is the key to your hotness?
Did you have a Bat Mitzvah?
No. I didn't know from Hashem at that age.
Since you didn't go the whole Bat Mitzvah route, how did you get whatever knowledge you have about Jewish tradition?
Jewish dinners at Aunt Ruth and Uncle Howard's house. All I ever need to know about Judaism came during their basement slide shows of their family vacations.
What kind of Jew are you, besides hot?
I am a Rejewvenation Jew. It's like Renewal and Reform with some gay disco thrown in.
Who is your favorite Hot Jew, besides us?
My boyfriend Josh, Sacha, Jessi Klein, Raelle Tucker, Natalie Portman and Lake Bell. I used to like Rachel Weisz but she dropped out of my movie.
Have you ever experienced antisemitism? If so, what was your very hot response?
In college I found my boyfriend's letters to his best friend where he had drawn 3-D swastikas in the borders and referred to a third party as a jew bitch. I confronted him, cried, then wrote a bad essay about it in a creative writing class years later.
Was your family observant?
Only of the religion of Jewish Melancholy.
How would you describe your religious or spiritual feelings, if any?
Last week, I would have said I was simply "spiritual". This week, however, after a number of freaky coincidences, I am certain I believe in Hashem's power and am awed every day by it. This may or may not be due to having recently figured out how to get a prescription for medical marijuana. (It's a lot easier than it looks!)
Do you think your (hot) Jewishness played a role in your career path?
Every writer's room needs one hot jew bitch.
How frequently do you pepper your speech and/or writing with Yiddishisms?
Do you have children? If so, what specifically Jewish neuroses are you helping them cultivate?
I have one son. I am teaching him to fear other races.
What is your Most secret Hot Jew Fantasy?
Sex on Shabbos.