this is what groovy and kotlin attempt to do. groovy is backwards compatible with java as well, in most cases java code is valid groovy code.
(I'm a big fan of Scala - its sheer power is second to none - but it definitely has its ugly parts and many of them can't be fixed as long as it's to remain compatible with the Java standard library)
Whenever I read that meme I get damn suspicious about why java code isn't valid groovy code in all cases. Why only most cases? It all sounds like a recipe for spending half a day debugging simple scenarios where things don't run as intended.
To be taken seriously (or as seriously as a language called Groovy can be taken), embrace and extend Java fully, don't embrace only 99% of it before extending. That's what Microsoft tried with J++ and lost a lot of trust with developers that took them a decade to win back.
Groovy is optionally typed, you can have as much safety as you wish.
> and performance to do so
If you use static types, you can use @CompileStatic to get most of the performance back.
So, okay, you're technically correct, which is every nerd's favorite kind of correct, but writing it that way sucks. Groovy isn't a bad scripting language (or wouldn't be if discobot ever got done), but it's unserious as a Java competitor where Java is good.