Categorized | Cohen_Joel_H., Lighter Side

‘Just kidding’: Trump, Putin discuss ‘Fiddler,’ borscht


By Joel H. Cohen

Joel H. Cohen

NEW YORK — Just revealed: borsht and a prospective U.S.-Russian production of Fiddler on the Roof were the main subjects discussed at the hitherto secret meeting between Presidents Trump and Putin at the G-20 meeting in Hamburg, Germany.

Highlights of the session were released today by the Russian translator, the only person present aside from the two presidents, and who has been authorized to share the report.

After a brief discussion of the relative merits of hot and cold borscht, the presidents quickly moved to plan a joint production of Fiddler on the Roof. It will tour both Russia and the United States.

[The Russian translator’s mention of  “adaption” of  “Fiddler” was understood by some, including President Trump, to be a Russian pronunciation of “adoption,” which led him to say erroneously that that was a topic at the meeting.]

As readers of this column may remember, in March 2016, Trump, then a candidate for the Republican nomination, said he wanted “to make Russian Jews great again” and would do it with a special production of “Fiddler,” in which he’d star as Tevye.

As Tevye, he’d not only “sit” by the Eastern Wall, he commented, but build tall walls in every direction. And such lyrics as “If I were a rich man” would be changed to “I’m a very rich, man.”

That production did not take place, due to campaign commitments.

Trump is slated to play Tevye in the new production, but there will be some cast changes, intended to appeal to audiences in both countries. Tevye’s wife  Golde, will be portrayed by Natalia V. Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer present at another secret meeting, attended by Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort.

Kushner will be in charge of casting other American performers. (“’Casting director’ will look good on Jared’s resume,” Trump commented.)

A possible candidate for a “strong” rabbi character may be Steve Bannon, and, as Yente the Matchmaker, Kellyanne Conway, according to unnamed sources.

The new version of the show will be in English, but have simultaneous translation into Russian. Among major changes, members of the Bolshoi Ballet will perform ballet whenever dancing is called for. (“Ballet is our  ‘Tradition,’ Putin joked)

The people of Anatekva will be portrayed more as oppressors than as oppressed. (“Compassionate Cossacks have always been victimized by fake news media,” Putin observed.)

He may play the fiddler, quite possibly shirtless, and also be embedded among the villagers as a KGB agent. When Trump said he didn’t think the KGB existed in the time in which “Fiddler” was set, Putin said, “This is not a reality show.”

Apparently in a jovial mood, however, the Russian president said he’d like to hear lyrics along the lines of “Ukraine rain stays mainly on the plain,” but realizes the song is from another show.

On another topic, President Trump said he would “seriously consider: restoring to Russia compounds in Maryland and Long Island, New York, ordered closed by President Obama as punishment for Russian interference in U.S. elections and due to beliefs they were being used for intelligence operations.

The two presidents ended the once-secret meeting in Hamburg with a handshake — a very long handshake.

“Vladi called me a Russian word for ‘comrade,’” Trump said.
He called me ‘comrade’ He’s such a good guy.  I think he loves me.”

San Diego Jewish World assures readers who are new to freelance writer Joel Cohen’s “Just Kidding” columns that they are satirical and should not be taken seriously.

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