Humor

Deconstructing the "Sassy Gay Friend"

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David Levy, writing for JewishBoston.com, recently challenged us at JWA to comment on the gender/sexuality dynamic of the Second City's new video series, "Sassy Gay Friend." He wrote:

There's a long tradition in Judaism of imagining different versions of our favorite stories, from rabbinic midrash to contemporary novels.  Comedy troupe The Second City has thrown their hat into the ring this week with a new Youtube video in their "Sassy Gay Friend" series.

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.

"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.

The Holocaust: Something to laugh about?

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The most recent issue of Heeb Magazine is causing quite a stir.  The issue features Roseanne Barr wearing an apron and a Hitler mustache, pulling a tray of “burnt Jew cookies” out of an oven.  The Heeb publisher posted an article explaining the editorial choice, which discusses a cultural shift towards acceptance of “Holocaust humor.”  Heeb argues that old taboos are relaxing. Jews are beginning to embrace the Holocaust in a new way - as something to laugh about. Is this true? Has the Holocaust really become funny?

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).

Emma G. on SNL!

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Did anyone else catch the mention of Emma Goldman in last week's SNL Thursday Weekend Update? If you missed it, you can see it here (around 15:30-16:03). I love that Emma made it to prime time!

Funny Fanny's Ziegfield Debut

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Ah, Fanny Brice. The name alone evokes the image of a Jewish woman on-stage in glamorous costume, making fun of herself. Well, that and, of course, Barbra Streisand singing “People.” This week marks the 98th anniversary of Ms. Brice’s iconic debut in Ziegfield’s Follies as “Sadie Salome,” her breakthrough role.

"25 Questions for a Jewish Mother"

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On Saturday night, I saw Judy Gold's one-woman show 25 Questions for a Jewish Mother.

The title of her show was inspired by her quest, in partnership with playwright Kate Moira Ryan, to interview more than 50 Jewish mothers around the country, of different ages and Jewish backgrounds.

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