Reporter Recalls the Time She Broadsided Ben Stiller with the Wrong Yiddish

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By Richard Horgan Comment

Ben Stiller’s recent American Cinematheque honor has prompted Los Angeles magazine associate editor Kari Mozena to think back to the time she first met the actor.

It was at an after-party at the Mondrian Hotel following the premiere of Neil LaBute’s 1998 film Your Friends and Neighbors. She and another journalist started chatting with the actor. All was going well until Mozena confused her sch-words:

“You play such a schlub in this movie.” It’s not a question, it’s simply an awkward statement. Stiller stops talking. The reporter beside me just stares at me. “Interview over,” Stiller says and walks away.

It’s dark, but I can still see the other reporter staring at me, “That’s the wrong word, Kari. He plays a schmuck, not a schlub. Aaron Eckhart’s character, that’s a schlub.”

Oy Vey! That same year when Christmas and Chanukah rolled around, Mozena received from her fellow Mondrian journo the gift of a Yiddish dictionary. Schmart choice.

[Photo: s_bukley/Shutterstock.com]
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