He realized that even though he had just been told he had cancer, he hadn't been told he was going to die. To prove it, he was going to do the one thing that showed he was very much alive, which was to make people laugh.
"Purim is bizarre," said comedian Joel Chasnoff. Or at least the customs are a little weird. Consider the way Jews celebrate the demise of Haman, the bad guy: "We eat him," Chasnoff said. "Actually we eat a pastry that's named after his ears, and the natural implication is that the filling inside is some sort of fruity earwax."
So he laid on the shtick to play Rabbi Jacobsen in Pete Jones' melodramatic film, "Stolen Summer," which opens today in Los Angeles. The comedy-drama follows a Catholic kid bent on converting the rabbi's son. But Pollak didn't need to study Torah to prepare for his role. "I'm an old pro," he says. "My first act was lip-syncing Bill Cosby's 'Noah and the Lord' bit when I was 10." By age 18, Pollak was performing hilarious "Columbo" impressions while moving just one eye.