WHEN JEWS WERE FUNNY
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Dir. Alan Zweig (90min, Canada, 2013)
We begin with a simple question: Why were so many TV comedians in the 1950s and 1960s Jewish? As some of America’s most beloved funnymen attest, the answer ranges from simple to complex, to incidental. First-hand accounts from Jack Carter, Shelley Berman, and Shecky Greene mix with archival footage from legends like Jackie Mason, but the answer proves elusive.
As these comics duke it out, arguing about whether American humor is quintessentially Jewish, the film pivots – in the end, the question isn’t about the nature of comedy, but rather the meaning of being Jewish.