When Jews Were Funny (2013)


“You avoided it like the plague. There was no Jewish Comedians per se. It was outlawed then. It wasn’t… it wasn’t in.” – Jack Carter

Number of Times Seen – 1 (20 Jul 2017)

Brief Synopsis – Documentary that tries to show the effect Jewish humor has had on the comedy world over the past Century.

My Take on it – This is another film that I came across by accident and was so pleased to see many of the great Jewish comedians interviewed for this film.

We get so many great anecdotes along with insight into the wold of Jewish comedy over the past Century and knowing that some of these men and women have passed on makes it that much more important to have heard what they have to say about the subject.

Unfortunately, it is quite apparent that some of the best Jewish comedians of the past twenty to thirty years are sorely missing from the cavalcade of stars shown here which leaves a gaping hole in the premise.

Not seeing comedians like Jerry Seinfeld, Billy Crystal or Paul Reiser here hurts this film more so than not.

How can you supposedly have a film about the history of Jewish comedians without them?

In addition, the fact that once the interviewees begin the understand the true premise of the documentary, some of them get quite offended by the fact that they were somehow “duped” into being interviewed.

By the end, I felt like they did and couldn’t really understand how I too had been so fooled by the original premise that evolves over the course of the film.

I’m quite disappointed because this could have been so much better.

Bottom Line – Great idea that is able to showcase so many famous Jewish comedians.  We get so much wisdom from the men and women interviewed, but the fact that some of the most relevant modern Jewish comedians are missing hampers the effect it could have. Additionally, once we understand the true thesis of the film, we want to react just like many of the comedians do because we feel slightly fooled based on everything else we heard beforehand.  Really wish this would have been so much better.

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – Explores the role of Jewish comedians in the history of North American comedy and humour from the Borscht Belt to the present day. (From Wikipedia)

Rating – BAFTA Worthy

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One thought on “When Jews Were Funny (2013)

  1. Pingback: Temporal Top Ten – 2013 |

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