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Comedy

Remembering Anne Meara: Jewish Mother By Choice

Anne Meara was a Jewess with an attitude. She was born in Brooklyn on September 20, 1929, raised as a Catholic, and died as a Jew in Manhattan on May 23, 2015. Meara studied drama and although she never intended to be a comedian, that’s how she will be remembered by most audiences. What made Meara truly unique was that she exuded her Irish ethnicity while simultaneously taking on the mantle of Jewish wife and mother.

For Women in Comedy, A New Jewish Voice

Jewish women are having a moment. At the end of 2014, Flavorwire published an article entitled “2014 Was—Secretly—The Year of the Jewish Woman.” It profiled Jewish women who made news in culture in the past year: Abbi Glazer and Ilana Jacobson of the Comedy Central show Broad City, Jill Soloway, the writer of the groundbreaking show Transparent,  and Jenny Slate, the comedian who starred in the romantic comedy Obvious Child, among others. 

Naomi Weisstein, 1939 - 2015

“Papa don’t lay that shit on me, I ain’t your groovy chick.
Papa don’t lay that shit on me, it’s just about to make me sick.”

—Naomi Weisstein in the Chicago Women’s Liberation Rock Band

Naomi Weisstein was a fierce warrior for justice. She was a passionate disrupter of the existing order. She was a brilliant scientist. She was a fighter for women’s liberation. She was hysterically funny. She had biting insights. She was my beloved friend.

Comic Renegades

Making Us Laugh, One Jewess Joke at a Time

Ilana Glazer

Ilana Glazer defied the odds for young female comedians by co-creating the popular and critical hit sitcom Broad City with Abbi Jacobson.

Abbi Jacobson

Frustrated by the lack of opportunities for young female comedians, Abbi Jacobson teamed up with fellow comedian Ilana Glazer to create the immensely popular Broad City.

Debut of "The Sarah Silverman Program"

February 1, 2007

“People are always introducing me as ‘Sarah Silverman, Jewish comedienne.’" 

Roseanne

Roseanne Barr shattered stereotypes of femininity and motherhood with her raunchy, iconoclastic comedy.

Chelsea Handler is named to Time’s 100 Most Influential People.

April 18, 2012
"A handful of years ago no one in entertainment had heard of her.” Chelsea Handler

Joan Rivers, 1933 - 2014

“I am not the ideal Jewish woman,” Joan Rivers admits in a comedy act filmed in the Jewish Women’s Archive film, Making Trouble. “I love to take [my audience] to the edge,” she says. “I love to get them upset . . . And ruin their value system.” Known for her aggressiveness and her “unkosher” bawdy style, in critic Sarah Cohen’s words, Rivers (nee Joan Molinsky), Phi Beta Kappa Barnard graduate and daughter of a Brooklyn Jewish doctor, performed for over forty years.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Comedy." (Viewed on July 4, 2015) <http://jwa.org/topics/comedy>.

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