Mayim Bialik Never Forgot ‘SNL’ Making Fun of Her ‘Undeniably Jewish’ Nose

‘It was just me that was singled out. More specifically, it was my nose’
Mayim Bialik Never Forgot ‘SNL’ Making Fun of Her ‘Undeniably Jewish’ Nose

If you’ve ever believed comedy stars have it made, consider the case of 14-year-old Mayim Bialik, star of the hit NBC sitcom Blossom. Almost right out of the gate, Bialik was confronted with a review that said her face didn’t make sense, she revealed in a new essay written for Variety. The critic said Bialik’s “features did not seem to match one another. I was essentially being described as a Frankenstein of a teenager,” she wrote. “At the time, I’m not going to tell you it didn’t hurt. Of course it did.” 

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Bialik’s parents did their best to shield her from similar cruelty, but of course, they couldn’t keep everything away from her. In the middle of the show’s run, MAD Magazine delivered its own jabs. 

MAD Magazine

“I was scared to look at it at first, since I had grown up reading MAD’s parodies, and I knew how brutal they could be with their parodies of mainstream pop culture,” Bialik remembered. “In true MAD fashion, they mocked every single thing about both me and our entire show. I cried a little as I looked at it, but my father reminded me that parody is the sincerest form of flattery next to imitation.”

The Saturday Night Live parody came next. “In the ‘90s, you had really ‘made it’ if SNL parodied your show,” she explained. “It meant you were a significant enough part of culture to merit that kind of mockery, and as an SNL fan for my entire life, I was so excited. And then I watched it.”

SNL didn’t simply mock Blossom’s plotlines about typical teenager coming-of-age tropes. The show outfitted cast member Melanie Hutsell with a fake honker to portray Blossom. “I don’t know if it was significantly larger than my real nose and I don’t care to remember,” Bialik wrote. “I remember that it struck me as odd. And it confused me. No one else on the show was parodied for their features. In MAD Magazine, everyone is caricatured, but in this rendition of parody, it was just me that was singled out. More specifically, it was my nose.”

Bialik tried to forget about the sketch — the comedy itself certainly isn’t memorable — but had little hope that no one would notice. All of her friends watched SNL and would certainly see the bit. “I felt ashamed.” 

The recent controversy around Bradley Cooper wearing a prosthetic nose to portray Leonard Bernstein in the film Maestro renewed all those feelings in Bialik’s mind. “I started scrutinizing the photos of Bradley and Leonard and wondering if it was necessary,” she explained. “I don’t know how I feel. I don’t know if it matters how I feel. I assume it matters how his family feels. But maybe it doesn’t?”

After all, what’s in a nose? “I’ve had many conversations with myself about my nose in the past 40 years. I have not always loved it, but I also have never wanted to change it,” she concluded. “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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