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When Jews Were Funny (2013)

Not Rated | | Documentary | 25 March 2014 (USA)
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Surveys the history of Jewish comedy.


Alan Zweig


Alan Zweig
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Credited cast:
Rodney Dangerfield ... Himself (archive footage)
Gilbert Gottfried ... Himself
Marc Maron ... Himself
Bob Einstein ... Himself
Howie Mandel ... Himself
Eugene Mirman ... Himself
Shelley Berman ... Himself
Jackie Mason ... Himself (archive footage)
Jack Carter ... Himself
Shecky Greene ... Himself
Alan King ... Himself (archive footage)
Andy Kindler ... Himself
David Brenner ... Himself
Elon Gold ... Himself
Judy Gold ... Herself


Alan Zweig's 2013 documentary "When Jews Were Funny" surveys the often colorful history of Jewish comedy in America. The documentary is insightful, often hilarious and packed with one-liners. While taking the viewer on the journey through the history of Jewish comedy, a second journey is taken in the exploration of what it means to be Jewish in America. Written by rleegray

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Release Date:

25 March 2014 (USA) See more »

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Did You Know?


Jack Carter: You avoided it like the plague. There was no Jewish Comedians per se. It was outlawed then. It wasn't... it wasn't in.
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References Seinfeld (1989) See more »

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User Reviews

Despite Zweig-- I Laughed a Lot
9 October 2014 | by larrys3See all my reviews

OK-so the filmmaker Alan Zweig's interview skills are terribly annoying, yet despite that I laughed a lot at the jokes, anecdotes, and schtick from the many comedians and writers that appeared in this film. As Zweig probes whether old style Jewish humor is dead, he unfortunately loses focus quite often and even, at times, gets some of the interviewees uncomfortable, confused, and even irritated, which, in my opinion, is not great viewing.

The consensus ends up being that as the Jewish people are more and more assimilated into society the type of Jewish humor of the past, kindled by pain, suffering, and frustration, takes a new form today.

Aside from the interviews from many of the top Jewish comics and writers today, there are a number of film clips of Jewish comedians, many of whom are no longer with us, performing on television.

Overall, despite Zweig's style, I found this documentary to be quite entertaining and, as mentioned I found myself laughing whole heartedly quite often.

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