/Mayim Bialik Calls Out SNL For Once Using Jewface To Mock Her As A Teen

Mayim Bialik Calls Out SNL For Once Using Jewface To Mock Her As A Teen

Mayim Bialik has complicated feelings about “Saturday Night Live.”

The “Big Bang Theory” alum published an essay for Variety on Wednesday as part of the magazine’s “Antisemitism and Hollywood package” in which she remembered a 1994 “SNL” sketch that mocked her for having what she called an “undeniably Jewish” nose.

The 1994 skit was a parody of “Blossom,” an NBC sitcom in which Bialik starred as the titular character, a role she scored at just 14 years old. The “SNL” parody’s focus was on mocking the show’s saccharine storylines about teenage sex and Bialik’s co-star Joey Lawrence’s obnoxious catchphrase of “Whoa!” — but the skit also added an unnecessary detail for no other reason than to point out that Bialik was indeed Jewish.

“The actress portraying me was dancing and mugging for the camera and she was hilarious,” Bialik wrote in the Variety essay of former “SNL” cast member Melanie Hutsell. “But. She wore a prosthetic nose. In order to truly convey that she was ‘Blossom,’ she wore a fake, big nose.”

Mayim Bialik and Joey Lawrence pose for “Blossom” promotional photos in 1994.
Mayim Bialik and Joey Lawrence pose for “Blossom” promotional photos in 1994.

Touchstone Pictures via Getty Images

“SNL” did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment about the sketch.

Earlier in her essay, Bialik noted that she was a fan of “SNL” her “entire life” and was excited to see how the long-running sketch show would skewer her sitcom. But after watching the skit, Bialik wrote, she was “confused” because the prosthetic struck her as “odd.”

“No one else on the show was parodied for their features,” Bialik noted.

“I never thought to talk about it and mostly I tried to forget it,” she wrote. “I hoped no one noticed. All of my friends at high school watched ‘SNL.’ It wasn’t subtle. They would all see it and I felt ashamed.”

The former “Jeopardy!” co-host said that when actor Bradley Cooper was accused of wearing “Jewface” because he used a prosthetic nose to play legendary composer Leonard Bernstein, it triggered this dark memory for her.

“And I started scrutinizing the photos of Bradley and Leonard and wondering if it was necessary,” Bialik admitted. “I don’t know how I feel.”

But it does seem that Bialik cares about how young girls who looked up to her during her “Blossom” days felt about being criticized for “features I inherited from my mixed Eastern European-Ashkenazi past.”

“Girls all over the world used to tell me that they had never seen a Jewish girl like me on TV before they saw me on ‘Blossom,’” Bialik wrote. “Many said they knew I was Jewish and it made them proud to be. That was so touching to me, and it still is.”

She added: “I wonder how those girls felt when they saw an actress playing me with a comically prosthetic nose.”

Bialik admitted that she has “not always loved” her nose. “But I also have never wanted to change it.”

“I have come to see my face as distinctly mine as given to me from G-d,” she wrote. “My genetic makeup is mine alone, and also, it is the combination of cultures shoved together after the Holocaust spilled so many of us out on the shores of Ellis Island. My nose is undeniably Jewish, and I am as well. Is it because of my nose? Perhaps. But I don’t have to know because we will always be one and the same.”

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