Jamie Elman and Eli Batalion’s YidLife Crisis
ENGLISH CORNER, CON LINDA JIMÉNEZ – This week’s trivia question: Where do all the episodes of YidLife Crisis take place?
YidLife Crisis is a new web series that begins with the warning that “The following contains references to adult situations and coarse language. In Yiddish.” It is the creation of Jamie Elman and Eli Batalion, and takes place in Montreal, where they both grew up.
Both Elman and Batalion are professional writers and actors with an impressive list of mainstream film and TV roles to their credit.
Jamie Elman is a graduate of McGill University. He has appeared on many of television’s most acclaimed series including Mad Men, Curb Your Enthusiasm, House M.D., CSI: NY, and The Young and the Restless, among others.
He also has appeared in numerous movies, including California Dreamin’, which won the Grand Prix, Un Certain Regard at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival; When Nietzsche Wept; Shattered Glass, and Saving Lincoln, among others.
Jamie is also an accomplished blues and jazz pianist and singer who has recorded with Ben Harper, Natalie Maines and Rickie Lee Jones.
Eli Batalion is a writer, producer, actor and composer for film, TV and the stage. He has a B.A. from Brown University and an M.B.A. from École des Hautes Études Commerciales in Montréal, Québec.
Eli has written, composed and produced in various capacities for dozens of projects ranging from award-winning horror musical films including Stage Fright, starring Minnie Driver and Meat Loaf, and the Sundance cult short film The Legend of Beaver Dam. He also participates in touring musical comedy productions and live comedy shows. Eli also consults and writes regularly on content strategy and the content industries and the roles of new and traditional media.
Elman and Batalion have developed the on-line series “YidLife Crisis”, which could be called the first Yiddish sitcom. The series is subtitled “Sex, Drugs, and Milk & Meat. In Yiddish”, and is rated “CHAI”—for spectators18 and over. Jamie and Eli wrote the scripts for the show and play the two main characters, Chaimie and Leizer, who are best friends and debating adversaries. Set in Montreal’s multicultural Mile End neighborhood, in each episode they grapple with issues that confront contemporary secular Jews. Should Jews continue to practice archaic traditions? How do we define Jewish culture, which bears the influence of nationalities from around the globe? Their debates about these inherently serious topics are laugh-out-loud funny. So far, there are four five-minute shows, entirely in Yiddish, with a choice of English or French subtitles.
The series had its premiere in August, 2014, at the Ashkenaz Festival in Toronto.