What would an episode of Seinfeld or Curb Your Enthusiasm be like if two central characters conversed in Yiddish? This is one of the first observations The Suburban made after screening episodes of the hilarious new web series starring Montreal actors Jamie Elman and Eli Batalion called YidLife Crisis.
The four part series went live at www.YidLifeCrisis.com via YouTube yesterday and it is rated Chai or 18 plus due to its edgy nature. It features Elman and Batalion engaging in rip roaring funny dialogue in Yiddish, with English sub-titles. There is also some great music featured. The duo graduated four years apart from Bialik HighSchool in Côte Saint-Luc where Yiddish was part of the curriculum.
“At one point we were looking at shows like Seinfeld and Curb and agreed that they both have a real Yiddish spirit,” said Elman. “First we considered taking classic episodes of Seinfeld, with me being Jerry and Eli as George speaking in Yiddish. Then we came up with our own original idea to talk Yiddish with the sub-titles.”
One episode each of about five minutes will be rolled out over the next four months. The premiere, arriving the week before Rosh Hashana is appropriately called "Breaking the Fast.” It was filmed at La Banquise, best known for its Quebec delicacy of poutine. The latter is how the duo decide to break their fast on Yom Kippur. They’ll wrap things up in December, with a finale along the spirit of Chanukah, after which they will decide what direction to take. Everything from more episodes to a stage version are possibilities. Filming also occurred at Lester’s Deli and the St. Viateur and Fairmount bagel factories.
A French version of the site is planned, as well as a French sub-titled version of the episodes, for early October. Seed money came from the Jewish Community Foundation Arts Grant and the Bronfman Youth Fellowships Venture Fund.
“A lot of great North American comedy is deeply influenced by Yiddish expression, cadence and logic…or lack thereof”, says Batalion, once the Yiddish valedictorian of Bialik.
This series is pure brilliance. Here is the first episode