5 Finger Interview: Eitan Levine

Next up in our SGBFF feature is a five finger interview with Eitan Levine of Elite Daily!

For the five finger interview, we ask our BFFs to doodle an outline of their hand then answer q’s 1-5 on respective fingers. Check it out below.

Thumb- One trend you are loving right now
Index- What’s your favorite thing in pop culture right now
Middle - One thing you’d be happy to never see again
Ring - Trend you are married to for life
Pinky- Favorite drink right now

Open Letter to Gilad Shalit


Let me first say that there are no words to describe the feelings that your release has triggered. A weird mixture of relief, happiness, and hope swept over me when I first heard that the Israeli Government had negotiated for your release. Over the past five years there have been countless concerts, marathons, phone-a-thons, and other events all put on with the single purpose of trying to get you back home. I will admit that I honestly thought we would not be able to see you alive in person ever again. Thank G-d, I was wrong.

What you are going through right now must be somewhat confusing. For the last five years you have lived in a jail cell, cut off from the outside world. The phrase “just a man and his thoughts” comes to mind when I think of what you have suffered through. I could tell you that the world hasn’t changed much over the past five years, but I would be lying. The world has evolved; technology has advanced, civilization has prospered. You might find it a bit overwhelming to grasp all these changes but don’t worry, I am here for you.

I have decided to help you out by give you a crash course on everything important that has happened in the past five years. This list should work as a guide to help you navigate through modern day society. Think of me as your tour guide into the current state of the world. That said, you will still probably need to do some research on your own. I can’t cover everything in this letter, so you might want to Wikipedia any other questions you might have. Oh, that’s right! You probably don’t know what Wikipedia is. Wikipedia.org is a website that people use to research subjects such as History, Science and Jeff Goldblum trivia. Did you know that Jeff Goldblum was married to Gena Davis for three years? Now you know.

So sit back, grab a cup of coffee and let me educate you on all that you missed:

Let me start this list with some unfortunate news. Billy Mays died. That’s right, the Oxy-Clean guy died. I know this probably comes as a shock, but don’t worry, he lived a great life and he promoted some damn fine detergent. Michael Jackson also died, but no one really noticed; we were all still kind of stuck up on Billy Mays. Also, former Tennessee Titan’s Quarterback, Steve McNair, and Mr. Miyagi died. Aside from those four people no one else important has died since 2005.

Now that you’re back, you must be kind of tired. I bet you would like nothing more then to find a big comfy couch, pop some buttery popcorn, and watch a movie. The problem with that is that there have been very few good movies in the past five years. For every decent movie that Hollywood produces, there are also 10 movies that are glorified buckets of camel poopy. To save you some time, I have compiled a small list of terrible movies that have come out since 2005:

Elektra, The Wedding Date, Constatine, The Pacifier, Sin City, Unleashed, Fever Pitch, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Kingdom of Heaven, Kicking and Screaming, Starwars Episode 3, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Bewitched, The Dukes of Hazard, War of the Worlds, The Island, Stealth, The Green Hornet, Must Love Dogs, Bandidos, Serenity, The Brothers Grimm, King Kong, Rumor Has It, The Fountain, The Da Vinci Code, Superman Returns, Casino Royale, Over the Hedge, The Break-Up, Scary Movie 4, Failure to Launch, The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause, Open Season, The Pink Panther, Eight Below, You Me and Dupree, Eragon, Monster House, RV, Barnyard, Big Momma’s House 2, Flushed Away, Deja Vu, Miami Vice, The Holiday, The Shaggy Dog, Poseidon, Little Man, Hoodwinked, Rush Hour 3, Daddy Day Camp, Spiderman 3, National Treasure: Book of Secrets, Alvin and the Chipmunks, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, Ghost Rider, Meet the Robinsons, The Bucket List, The Game Plan, Beowulf, Disturbia, Fred Claus, The Golden Compass, Charlie Wilson’s War, Surf’s Up, Stomp the Yard, TMNT, P.S. I Love You, Atonement, Are We Done Yet?, Music and Lyrics, No Reservations, Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who!, Sex and the City, Marley and Me, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Incredible Hulk, Wanted, Get Smart, Four Christmases, Bolt, Bedtime Stories, The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon, Journey to the Center of the Earth, Eagle Eye, Yes Man, 10,000 BC, Beverley Hills Chihuahua, What Happens in Vegas, Cloverfield, 27 Dresses, Vantage Point, Fool’s Gold, The Happening, and finally, Mama Mia. 

That list only spans up until 2008, I would have gone further with the list but I was afraid that my computer would start getting depressed. Oh! By the way! All computers have emotions now. Welcome to the future.

Don’t worry, Hollywood has also mad some good movies over the past several years. Here is the complete list of movies since 2005 that haven’t sucked:

xXx: State of the Union, Batman Begins, Norbit, The Departed, Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Family Reunion, The Fast and The Furious 3: Tokyo Drift, and Soul Plane Snoop Dog was robbed of an Oscar for his portrayal as the hip hop pilot in the movie Soul Plane.

Now onto everything you missed in TV. I know that before you got captured you were probably super excited for two things: the series premiere of “Heroes” and to find out what the smoke monster was on “Lost.” Well Gilad, be prepared for some disappointment. 

Let’s start with “Lost. “Lost” was a great show for people that hated great shows. To put it bluntly, “Lost” was 6 seasons of my life I will never get back. I know what you’re thinking “But Eitan, I’m sure they explain everything perfectly clear in the last season and I’m sure they tied everything up by the last episode!” Well Gilad, you are correct! Everything was crystal clear by the finale! I left the end of that show saying “wow, I understand completely what just happened and I am super pumped that Ross and Rachel are finally getting back together” Oh wait, I’m sorry, I was thinking of the finale to “Friends.” The Finale to “Lost” was a lot different then that. The Finale to “Lost” was a great finale if you wanted to end the show not knowing at all what just happened. The finale to “Lost” made me audibly yell, “WAIT! I’M NOT DONE WATCHING YOU! EXPLAIN TO ME WHAT YOU JUST DID!” The only real question that the show solved was where the polar bear came from, which was not a question anybody really cared about. It is like if your parents came home and were like “We are having pizza for dinner. Also, your father and I are getting a divorce” and then I say “WHAT!” and then my mom says “Yes, pizza, we got it from Sammy’s Pizza store.” No one cares about the pizza.

In conclusion, don’t watch “Lost.”

Now I know you were excited to watch “Heroes” but don’t. Watching “Heroes” was like dating a girl that you hated but after every date you were like “OK, that was a terrible date, there is no way that the next date can be any worse then this past date.” At some point in the third season watching “Heroes” became less like “Hooray! Heroes is on!” and more like “Crap, I need to watch Heroes AGAIN?!” The big question that you are probably wondering is why I kept watching. That is a very valid question. I don’t really have a great answer for you aside from the fact that I was too far into “Heroes” to quit. I had gone too far and couldn’t turn back. “Heroes” was my Vietnam. “Heroes” was eventually put out of its misery in 2010. We all rejoiced.

Not all is bleak though, TV does have a lot to offer and there is some great stuff out there. Watch “Dr. Who” if you want to date a nerdy girl and watch “Terra Nova” if you always were like, “Boy, I wish they made a crappy TV version of Jurassic Park”. Don’t watch “Whitney,” we all thought “Whitney” would be bad, we didn’t think “Whitney” would be terrible.

I don’t know much about music so I can’t really help you there. I know three things about modern day music. 1) Lady Gaga is nuts 2) Adele has a voice I can only describe as “Buttery” and 3) The Maccabeats are to Jewish girls what Justin Bieber is to every girl.

Nothing has really happened in the past five years in global news, politics and the economy. Oh! Wait! America got a black president, which was pretty cool.

So there you have it. Everything important that has happened in the past five years. I hope you enjoyed and welcome back to society!

Eitan Levine

Eitan is a New York based stand-up, improv and sketch comic. He can be reached at Eitanthegoalie@gmail.com.

Follow him on Twitter! @Eitanthegoalie

Today, pictures surfaced showing Matisyahu without a Yarmulka, without a beard and with dyed hair. I think this picture hit harder for me because it looks like he has gone back “religiously” to where he was before “finding god” and the Hasidic community. I should also mention that he kinda looks like Vanilla Ice in this picture. What I’m gonna try and do now is work through what I am feeling via this blog. Keep in mind, this is an experiment. Usually when people write, they have a drawn out idea of what they want to write, this is blog is being written as these ideas and emotions come to me.

Here is my honest thing about this whole Matisyahu “scandal” or “Matis-gate” as I have been calling it. I try my hardest not to pass judgement on people’s religious status. Matisyahu has the right to choose whatever religion he wants and no one has the right to judge him. The biggest problems I have with super-religious groups in America is not their beliefs but rather the fact they impose their beliefs on other people. When some nut from Westborough Baptist church pickets the funeral of a fallen soldier with a sign that says “THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU LET QUEERS MARRY IN AMERICA!”, I’m not angry at their beliefs. They are allowed to believe what they believe. The real issue comes when their beliefs pour over into other people’s lives.

There will undoubtedly be fallout from this picture in the Jewish community. People will yell, tweet, blog and write in newspapers about the big Chillul Hashem (Desecration of God’s Name) that Matisyahu is causing. They have every right to be mad on the inside, but the hateful public response to this is not OK. People need to take a step back from the situation and ask themselves, would it have been better for him to hide under the Beard and Black Hat singing songs that he doesn’t believe in just so that we can say “Look at that nice Jewish rapper”? Matisyahu can do whatever he wants to do and i am behind him 100%.

That being said, I have to admit, I am kinda bummed out by all this. I am not angry at him but rather just feeling kind of “Blah” about the situation. It’s weird but the best way to describe this feeling is if you thought you were getting $50 for your birthday but only got $45. You are happy you got the money but slightly bummed you didn’t get that extra $5. (“But Eitan, That metaphor doesn’t fit the situation at all!” Guys, It’s not suppose to fit the situation, It’s just suppose to describe my emotions! I got mad emotions y’all.)

Matisyahu became big around the time I started to do comedy and as a young religious Jewish comedian I looked up to Matisyahu. Sure, he was a cool Hasidic guy to the WORLD but what people have to remember is that he was also a role model to thousands of Jewish youth out there. Yes, The Payot, long beard and the black hat did give him a bit of a “Novelty” feel but if you were to take all those things away he was still was a tremendous performer who made amazing songs with powerful lyrics. When I looked at Matisyahu, I saw someone who was dealt some major disadvantages because he was a religious Jew in showbusiness (Shabbos and Kashurt are HUGE disadvantages, Trust me) and overcame them purely because of his tremendous talent (If you haven’t ever gone to a Matisyahu concert I strongly suggest you get a ticket ASAP, homeboy can entertain y’all). What was more then that was that he didn’t just overcome his disadvantages, He embraced them. His spiritual lyrics, his  humble demeanor off stage and his black hat that he wore during shows. It’s like his whole act was based around the premise of “Whats that? You have a preconceived idea about what every Jewish person is like? Allow me to BLOW YOUR EFFING MIND!”

I distinctly remember a conversation with someone when I was around 17 where he asked the obvious question “How are you going to deal with shows on Shabbos? It’s gonna be very hard to be religious on the road.” and I remember answering him “Tell that to Matisyahu”.

So where does that leave me now. I think the best way to deal with this is to separate Matisyahu the Hasidic rapper and Matisyahu the person, or as I now shall call them “Matisyahu” and “Jewish Vanilla Ice” (“JVI” for short). Everything inspirational I learnt from Matisyahu I still hold as true. JVI’s new found way of life does not negate Matisyahu’s lyrics, lessons and his representation as a really bad-ass Jew in show business, kinda like how a baseball player’s stats don’t get erased from history when he retires (unless you are Sammy Sosa). I’m sad about Matisyahu very much in the same way that many people will be sad when Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera retire (It should be noted here that i am a Met fan. DJ and Manny can’t retire soon enough in my book).

As for Jewish Vanilla Ice? I’m actually happy for him. He clearly didn’t like the way he was living and changed it. In fact, we can all learn a lesson from him. He changed his ways despite the huge weight that was on him from the Jewish Community. The lesson to learn from this is that you shouldn’t let the society pressure you into doing something you don’t believe in. If you have an issue with your current situation, there is nothing holding you back from making a change. Don’t think you got the strength to do it? “Tell that to Matisyahu”.

As I am finishing this blog I just put “King without a Crown” on in the background. I’ll finish this post with one of my favorite lyrics from the song.

“Strip away your layers and reveal your soul. Got to give yourself up and then you become whole. You’re a slave to yourself, you don’t even know. Want to live the fast life but your brain won’t go.”

Eitan Levine

Eitan Levine is a New York City based comic and writer.

Follow him @Eitanthegoalie and Youtube.com/Eitanthegoalie