Comedian

In Linda Richman's Footsteps: 'Ronna and Beverly'

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As much as I love the whole Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen, Ben Stiller, Judd Aptaow schlemiel genre I always shudder a bit when finding out, again and again, that their co-star is a semi-serious perky blond. (For the most recent example, see the new movie “She’s Out of My League”, where the real-life half Jew Jay Baruchel pursues yet another, fair-haired and -eyed interest.) Why can’t the woman ever be funny — and not just spunky? Occasionally, a brunette? And, just once, Jewish?

"Some of These Days"

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Ninety-nine years ago today, Sophie Tucker, the "last of the red hot mamas," recorded "Some of These Days," which would become one of her signature songs. Sophie Tucker, the iconic Jewish American vaudeville and cinema star, is one of the women featured in Making Trouble, JWA's film about funny Jewish women. 

Saying goodbye to Jean Carroll

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Jean Carroll

Legendary comedian Jean Carroll passed away on New Year's Day at the age of 98.  A pioneering stand up comedian, Jean Carroll was a regular headliner in nightclubs and theaters in the '40s and '50s.  She was featured on the Ed Sullivan Show, and she even had her own sitcom on ABC in the 1953-1954 season.

Healthcare, the Wailing Wall, "Dan the Dude," and more

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On healthcare:

  • The Senate's compromise on abortion, and the work left to be done. [Daily Kos] [Feministing] [Feministe]
  • The truth about abortion and morality. [Forward]
  • "Needling Worry": Marjorie Ingall discusses our anxiety over vaccinations and other decisions. [Tablet]
  • Are the new recommendations for mammograms patronizing to women? [Feminist Law Professors]

On employment:

  • The Jewish Alliance for Women in Science: a new organization helping Jewish women find mentors and mentees and navigate careers in science and medicine. [JAWScience]
  • The "he-cession" disproportionately hurts unmarried women. [Center for American Progress]

"It's No Joke"

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The Center for Reproductive Rights is taking an exciting approach to fighting the Stupak Amendment and the potential loss of abortion coverage it would ultimately bring about.  Cory Kahaney (one of the hosts of Making Trouble) stars in their new ad, "It's No Joke," which will air on MSNBC this week.  Kahaney drives home her point with a quick standup routine about health care that makes it perfectly clear that the threat to abortion access is no joke.  

Rethinking the question: "Why are there so few women in comedy?"

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In a recent interview with Lisa Leingang in the New York Times, Melena Ryzik asks the question: "Why are there so few women in comedy?" To answer it, you have to approach it the way Bill Clinton did during the Monica Lewinsky period. We have to deconstruct the terms.

Joan Rivers - the spitfire of her own roast!

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Last night comedians including Carl Reiner, Gilbert Gottfried, Greg Giraldo, Jeffrey Ross, and Mario Cantone roasted Joan Rivers on Comedy Central. As she predicted in the clip below, it was a circus of pot-shots about her age, her plastic surgery, and her vagina.

Molly Picon: A Celebrity for the Ages

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Years ago, when I was working on my undergraduate thesis on Yiddish film, I attempted conversation about the subject at cocktail parties (well, at that point they weren’t yet cocktail parties, but there were definitely M&Ms) –

“Yiddish? Film? What? Like Yentl?”

No. Not like Yentl. They’re in Yiddish! And most of them were originally Yiddish theater productions. Molly Picon? ... No?... Nobody?... Nevermind. Is it hot in here? Pass the M&Ms.

Comedy, Cultural Memory & Legacy

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In a recent session of my comedy class for Jewish high schoolers, I instructed the students to re-do a scene in the style of the "Tonight Show with Johnny Carson." I might as well have said "gee willakers" and put on my newsies cap.

Joan Rivers as Yoda

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I've always had a soft spot for Joan Rivers. Once, as a student at Barnard, (BC '98), Rivers's Alma Mater, I was highlighted by a Barnard publication for my work as a comedian, and was noted to be "the next Joan Rivers." Erroneously, this allowed me to believe that we were secret best friends, and that if ever I was to meet Joan -I would say "Hello, I am the next You; we are best friends, yes?"  Also erroneous is the claim itself - there is no "Next Joan Rivers" - she is irreplaceable  (nor do I come close).

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