Obscure Movie Characters We Like: Barry and Ira Shalowitz in City Slickers


Perhaps this post is going to date me a little bit as I am over 30.  So I apologize in advance to all you Avatar and Twilight people who don’t understand how amazing movies were before the year 2000.  Hell even before the year 1995.  Let us move back to the year 1991 when a little comedy called City Slickers came out.

The movie itself was awesome as Jack Palance got an Oscar for his portrayal of Curly.  Of course Billy Crystal did great and his supporting cast of Bruno Kirby and Daniel Stern were classic.

But I’d like to focus on two other mini stars.  Guys that weren’t in the movie all that much but that had the best impact on me personally.  Those characters woudl be Barry and Ira Shalowitz played by Josh Mostel (the guy who played the principal in Billy Madison) and David Paymer (whose been in a zillion movies and is an incredible actor).

In case you haven’t seen the movie, these two guys are based off of Ben and Jerry of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream.  They’re just two average (not so good looking) Jewish guys who own the great franchise.  As Barry at one point says “if you knew it was us, could you eat?”

They’re whole demeanor is hilarious.  Even their “woof!” hand shake is something that I’m pretty sure Newman did in Seinfeld.  The way they’re so obviously New York Jews is excellent in the movie and let’s not forget the amazing Ice Cream showdown which I think is legendary.


“Scoop of Chocalate, Scoop of Vanilla, don’t waste my time”

Man I love these guys.

  • illeaturfamily

    Ok, so not to make you feel old, but I have not seen this movie. I have seen it on tv a few times but I never watched it. This is my cue, however, to go ahead and put it on the next time I see it. Crap, I might even rent it.

    So I’m sorry I can’t comment on this duo.

    On the other hand, you made me realize how many characters from Billy Madison would fit this bill. Miss Lippy, the clown, the penguin, the colonial village tour guide (“If peeing your pants is cool, consider me Miles Davis!”), Steve Buschemi’s character, the entire O’Doyle crew, and there’s probably more. In my opinion, it’s the best Adam Sandler comedy of all time.

    When I see City Slickers I’ll drop back in here and give you my thoughts. I trust you, though, so I’m counting on loving these two guys.

  • Nattyb

    Damn I’m old!

  • illeaturfamily

    Haha no worries, I’m 25. I’m gettin up there too.

  • Madison

    The chemistry between Paymer and Mostel is incredible – you can tell they must have had a lot of fun filming this scene.

    Great flick.

  • I’m 22, and this was one of my favorite movies to watch as a kid. We rented it over and over again.

  • City Slickers came out in 1991? Holy crap. I remember going to see that movie with my parents in the theater. Effing hilarious then AND now. City Slickers 2 though? Ehhh not so much.

  • illeaturfamily

    Well then I’m definitely up for catching this sometime soon

  • @Joe The Wizard

    Definitely agree the sequel wasn’t much to look at.