Making Trouble: Three Generations of Funny Jewish Women

Making Trouble: Three Generations of Funny Jewish Women is an award-winning documentary about legendary funny Jewish women who broke barriers and shook the social order to make us laugh. Produced by JWA and directed by Rachel Talbot, the film had its world premiere at the 2007 SILVERDOCS/AFI Discovery Channel Documentary Festival.

Making Trouble tells the story of six of the greatest female comic performers of the last century—Molly Picon, Fanny Brice, Sophie Tucker, Joan Rivers, Gilda Radner, and Wendy Wasserstein—who struggled and sacrificed for their fame and turned the old "death is easy, comedy is hard" joke completely on its head. Hosted by four of today’s funniest women—Judy Gold, Jackie Hoffman, Cory Kahaney, and Jessica Kirson—it’s the true saga of what it means to be Jewish, female, and funny.

If you would like to purchase the film for personal or institutional use, please visit the National Center for Jewish Film 

Showing the film? Download our discussion guide.

Testimonials:

The film is wonderful, it’s history, it’s comedy, it’s narrated by a group of contemporary Jewish standup comediennes at Katz’s New York Deli. Every Jewish comedienne working today owes a debt to these women. — Bari Biern, Metro Connection, WAMU  

From an unpredictable and original angle, with wisdom and humor, the film sheds light on issues of feminine and Jewish identity in the United States. — Jerusalem International Film Festival  

Making Trouble is really about American Jewish women who have used comedy to express themselves and develop their identities while making a living and entertaining others. It is about women who defied stereotypes, took big risks and paved the way for female entertainers, Jewish and others, today. Jewish history is richer and the world a more enjoyable place because of their contributions. — Renee Ghert-Zand, “Truth, Praise and Help: Musings of a Gen X Yiddishe Mamme” 

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Making Trouble: Three Generations of Funny Jewish Women." (Viewed on September 27, 2022) <https://jwa.org/makingtrouble>.

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