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May 18, 2022 1:19 pm

Sacha Baron Cohen to Narrate Comedy Special on Classic Jewish Folktales of ‘Chelm’


avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

Sacha Baron Cohen. Photo: Russell James.

Academy Award-nominated British-Jewish actor Sacha Baron Cohen will narrate a television special featuring classic Yiddish folktales set in Chelm, a fictitious town of fools made famous in Ashkenazi Jewish folklore, HBO Max and Cartoon Network announced Wednesday.

The family-oriented show, titled “Chelm: The Smartest Place on Earth,” will share “the absurdist humor and interpretive questioning that is a nod to Jewish intellectual traditions,” and “present a fresh take on the silly antics and exaggerated conflicts of the town, while also preserving the essence and heart of the classic folktales,” the networks said in a statement.

Baron Cohen, who starred in “Borat” and “The Spy,” is developing the show with Greg Daniels (“King of the Hill”) and Mike Judge (“King of the Hill”) from Bandera Entertainment, as well as Michael Koman (“Saturday Night Live”), who will also write the script.

“This pitch was so hilarious; we just knew the HBO Max audience needed to get a dose of this original brand of storytelling,” said Amy Friedman, head of kids and family programming at Warner Bros. “‘Chelm: The Smartest Place on Earth’ is a perfect pairing of comedy and satire, and no one does that combination better than Sacha, Greg, Mike, and Michael. This unique project will breathe new, hysterical life into the nonsensical Chelmic wisdom that originated from this imaginary city of folks who aren’t quite the sharpest tools in the shed.”

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