Purim may not be for another month, but actor Zach Braff has preempted the season of parody by producing an ad promoting Yeshiva University. Braff is best known for his work on the medical comedy series Scrubs as well as the film Garden State, where he starred alongside Natalie Portman. Lesser known is the fact that Braff had what he has termed a “very strong Conservative/Orthodox upbringing,” an experience that informs his next film, Wish I Was Here, which also stars Jewish acting icon Mandy Patinkin. In other words, Braff is not as unlikely a satirical spokesman for Yeshiva University as it might seem.
But how exactly did the video come about? Yeshiva University hasn’t taken credit for it, but it looks like they or one of their supporters contributed $500 to the Kickstarter campaign for Braff’s upcoming movie. The prize offered by the actor for such a generous donation? “I’ll say or do pretty much whatever you want for twenty seconds. I will send you the mpeg file so you can upload to YouTube, play at parties, or send to friends. I will be your dancing monkey.” Or in this case, mascot.
Watch Braff’s pitch for YU below:
Yair Rosenberg is a senior writer at Tablet. Subscribe to his newsletter, listen to his music, and follow him on Twitter and Facebook.