When Jews Were Funny

“The intentionally provocative title of Alan Zweig’s documentary will make a few people ask, probably a little testily, When did Jews stop being funny?

“Plenty of the comics the Toronto filmmaker sits down with to discuss the idea that Jewish people aren’t as funny as they were back in his Bubby’s day definitely get testy with Zweig, who took home the award for best Canadian feature at this year’s TIFF. It’s fun viewing. At one point, Bob Einstein, best known for playing Super Dave Osborne, looks like he’d rather drive a stunt car right into Zweig than have to keep talking to him. Others are more conciliatory. Howie Mandel tries to convince Zweig that Jewish people are as funny as they’ve always been, “We’re just missing the accent.”

“As many of those interviewed in the film make clear, Jewish humour is borne out of a mix of persecution, outsiderness and a questioning spirit of hyper-analysis. “The only power you have is the power to be a smartass,” Mandel says. Its influence and popularity are unrivalled. “The history of 20th-century humour is Jewish, period,” says Yuk Yuk’s founder Mark Breslin.

“It’s Zweig’s contention that as Jewish people have assimilated and enjoyed success, they have lost or are losing that sense of outsiderness and persecution and are therefore not as funny as they once were. Regardless of what you make of Zweig’s thesis, he’s crafted an entertaining, often engrossing look at the history of Jewish humour and its defining characteristics.”- Globe & Mail


No screenings currently scheduled.

Another U7 Solutions - Web-based solutions to everyday business problems. solution.