Sophie Tucker: “You’re Gonna Miss Me, Honey”

Singer and comedian Sophie Tucker.
Courtesy of the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, Cincinnati, OH

One hundred and one years ago today, Sophie Tucker sang those words from “Some of These Days” onto a four minute cylinder recording device. It became her signature song, and toward the end of her career she guessed that she had sung it over 45,000 times.

It was hard to miss Sophie, the self-proclaimed “Last of the Red Hot Mamas.” She made her mark on stage and screen with a humorous sexiness, defying current stereotypes of size, age, and Jewish women's sexuality, all couched in a humor that provided an antidote to Puritanism. Songs like “I’m Living Alone and I Like It,” “I Ain’t Takin’ Orders from No One,”  “No Man is Ever Gonna Worry Me”, and the musical oddity “The Angle-Worm Wiggle” both entertained and enlightened her audiences. Though she claimed that she had "never sung a single song in my whole life on purpose to shock anyone," her performances always challenged the prevailing codes of ethnic, gender, and class-based morality. 

Tucker’s charisma and chutzpah cleared the way for performers like Bette Midler, Joan Rivers, Sarah Silverman, Curb Your Enthusiasm’s Susie Essman, and Judy Gold.

Honoring groundbreaking comics in Jewish Woman magazine, Gold remarked that those women "opened the door, and now we can say a lot more than they could. The role of women has changed so much that you can be intelligent, you can be political, you can have an opinion and not be threatening. Thank God for those guys. In their time no one wanted to hear it, but now women's thoughts and opinions and views on life are more respected."

And by the way, you don’t have to miss Sophie any more.  You can watch her along with five other comediennes (Molly Picon, Fanny Brice, Gilda Radner, Joan Rivers, and Wendy Wasserstein) in JWA’s comic documentary Making Trouble.  Relive the golden years of song and vaudeville, and catch up on the progress of women in stand-up comedy and theatre with JWA’s tribute to what it’s like to be Jewish, female, and funny.

Don’t miss out on this: there may be a screening of Making Trouble near you this month. 

March 3 - Jewish Kultur Festival at Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL

March 20 – Pioneer Valley Jewish Film Festival at the Springfield JCC in Springfield, MA

March 26 – Hazak/Temple Israel, Sharon, MA

In February, Making Trouble audiences enjoyed the film at B’nai Sholom Reform Congregation in Albany, NY; the Leventhal-Sidman Center JCC in Newton, MA; and Limmud LA in Santa Monica, CA.


Topics: Music, Comedy, Film, Theater
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How to cite this page

Benson, Stephen. "Sophie Tucker: “You’re Gonna Miss Me, Honey”." 2 March 2012. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on May 29, 2024) <>.