Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell are on a press junket, promoting their new film Daddy’s Home 2. (Any comments about the quality of this franchise or the need for a sequel will be summarily ignored.) This week, one stop on that tour was with the Israeli website ynet (the online arm of the newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth). During the interview, Ferrell was asked about Wahlberg’s “profound knowledge of Hebrew”, which Wahlberg was then happy to demonstrate. And, like any good language learner, his knowledge apparently includes a wealth of profanity, which I’ll lay out below.
But first, you can watch the interview here:
ynet has no compulsions about transcribing naughty words (which I’d wager Daddy’s Home 2 is full of), so most of the hard work has been done for us. Wahlberg says:
“He’s a טמבל”
tembel idiot 'idiot'
ben zona son bitch 'son of a bitch'"
lex tizdajen walk.imp.masc.sg fuck.imp.refl.sg 'go fuck yourself'
xatixat xara piece.gen shit 'piece of shit'
and then he says something which ynet captions as “תעזור לי … שלי”
taʔazor li ... ʃeli help.imp.masc.sg me.dat ... me.gen 'help me ... of mine'
(where the ‘of mine’ could be the second half of a phrase like ‘my sweet’, ‘my friend’, or something far more salacious).
Unfortunately, this isn’t a case of Wahlberg knowing some profanity which was too naughty for ynet to even caption. Instead, he’s just… kinda hard to understand.
Israelis discussing this line online have suggested at least two plausible interpretations for what Wahlberg might have been trying to say:
a. תעזור לי להעמיד את המטה שלי
taʔazor li lehaʔamid et hamate ʃeli help.imp.masc.sg me.dat stand.caus.inf acc staff.def me.gen 'help me erect my staff' (i.e., 'help me get it up')
b. תחזרי למיטה מותק שלי
taxzeri lemita motek ʃeli return.imp.fem.sg bed.dat sweetheart me.gen 'go back to bed, my sweetheart'
At first glance, (a) might seem more plausible, and it’s the one that fits ynet’s (attempted) transcription. But I think it’s actually (b), and here’s why: In 2010, Wahlberg had a role in Tina Fey & Steve Carrell’s movie Date Night, wherein he shared a scene with current ‘It Girl’ Gal Gadot. Gadot, of course, is Israeli, and in that scene Wahlberg utters the line in (b) to her.
You can watch the relevant scene here:
It seems likely to me that Wahlberg learned his extensive Hebrew vocabulary hanging out on set with Gadot, and this line has just stuck with him. That same conjecture was made by The Jerusalem Post back in August, after a similarly sweary Israeli interview wherein Wahlberg was promoting Transformers: The Last Knight. (Video here.)
And then, last but not least, Wahlberg finishes off with:
xamor donkey ass
And poor Ferrell has no idea what’s happening right next to him.