fbpx

The future of Federation takes the stage

At 33, London-born Ben Winston, the executive producer of “The Late Late Show With James Corden,” is the youngest showrunner in the history of late-night television.
[additional-authors]
December 9, 2015

At 33, London-born Ben Winston, the executive producer of “The Late Late Show With James Corden,” is the youngest showrunner in the history of late-night television. 

He is charming, quick-witted and has ties to One Direction — the full package. But what keeps things running smoothly outside of work for a man succeeding in such a cutthroat industry? 

“Growing up, my father worked long hours in a laboratory. But no matter what, he was always home for Shabbat. That type of consistency really grounded us,” Winston told over 400 Jewish young professionals who packed the Fonda Theatre on Dec. 1. “I still observe Shabbat to this day. It makes my life better. It makes my marriage better. 

“We think in this business we’re the most important people in the world. But when I turn off my phone on Friday, I’m not thinking about the business. I’m with my wife and our dog. We don’t have kids yet.”

Winston joined an impressive lineup of speakers from the entertainment and high-tech worlds as part of MainStage 2015, The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles’ first fundraiser for 20- and 30-somethings. 

Speakers included Mitch Hurwitz, creator of the TV series “Arrested Development”; Sean Rad, founder and CEO of the dating app Tinder; Susanne Daniels, head of original content at YouTube; Ben Silverman, former co-chairman of NBC Entertainment; and Ben Maddahi, a music manager/producer behind the hits of some of the world’s biggest pop stars. Comedian Ben Gleib, who emceed proceedings, quipped about being the least successful Ben onstage. 

Jay Sanderson, Federation president and CEO, told the Journal the event represented an evolution in the organization.

“This is the Federation of today. This isn’t your grandfather’s Federation of yesterday,” he said. “One of our top priorities is engaging young Jews in Jewish life. We want events associated with the Federation to be cool for young people.”

The event’s price tag, with tickets starting at $75, didn’t deter the noticeably youthful crowd, dispelling the notion that millenials don’t give back — $50 of each ticket went directly to Federation. Event chairs Shahrad Nahai and Marlyse Phlaum spoke to the crowd about the group’s work to provide scholarships for teens to visit Israel, home and health care assistance for Holocaust survivors, and Federation’s work locally with the Black and Latino communities. 

Mitch Hamerman, Federation’s senior vice president of campaign management and communications, said the event netted $20,000 in donations from ticket sales. “Our current mindset is to do it again next year,” he said.

Silverman, the first speaker of the night, was visibly touched by the turnout and spirit of the event. “The Federation has been such a huge part of so many of our lives. It’s so great to see people here to give back,” he said. 

One of the key creative forces behind hit     NBC shows such as “The Office,” Silverman captivated Dunder Mifflin fans by detailing the iconic comedy’s path from initial conceit all the way to air. He concluded his time onstage by imploring storytellers in attendance to not shy away from their Jewish heritage in their work. 

“We wrote the oldest book in the history of the world and now we find ourselves losing our narrative. I mean, who will write and make the next ‘Exodus’?” Silverman asked of the crowd, referencing the 1958 Leon Uris novel, eventually adapted into the 1960 film starring Paul Newman.

The evening had special significance for Gleib, a frequent contributor on “Chelsea Lately,” who now has his own show called “Idiotest” on GSNTV. 

“Tonight was really cool for me — just honored to be asked to be here,” the normally dry, sarcastic comic told the Journal. “I’m someone who normally likes to operate separate from religion. This was one of the first times I’ve really felt like a part of the Jewish community. Besides, all those guys who were onstage with me are doing stuff I love and want to do one day. It was pretty awesome.” 

Did you enjoy this article?
You'll love our roundtable.

Editor's Picks

Latest Articles

Miniskirts and Miracles: Imagining a Free Iran

I imagined all of the ways that Iran would be different if, next year, the regime ended, a referendum was passed and the country tasted freedom again for the first time in nearly 50 years

Israel United in War

According to recent public opinion polls taken by the Israel Democracy Institute, the Israeli people do not seem to be in an especially conciliatory mood.

More news and opinions than at a
Shabbat dinner, right in your inbox.

More news and opinions than at a Shabbat dinner, right in your inbox.

More news and opinions than at a Shabbat dinner, right in your inbox.