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Comedy

Molly Picon

For over seventy years, Molly Picon, star of Yiddish theater and film, delighted audiences with her comic song and dance performances. Picon performed on stage and in Yiddish and Hollywood films for Jewish and non-Jewish audiences around the world. Her engaging persona and powerful performances helped keep Yiddish culture alive by bringing it out of the shtetl and into mainstream American culture.

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

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?

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?

Award for Yiddish actress, Molly Picon

June 28, 1980

Yiddish superstar comedienne Molly Picon received the Creative Achievement Award of the Performing Arts Unit of B'nai B'rith.

Fanny Brice's Ziegfeld Follies debut

June 20, 1910

Comic actress Fanny Brice appeared in the Ziegfeld Follies for the first time.

Death of comedian Gilda Radner at 42

May 20, 1989

Comedian Gilda Radner died of ovarian cancer at the age of 42.

Judy Holliday wins Academy Award for best actress

March 29, 1951

Actress and comedian Judy Holliday received an Academy Award for her performance in "Born Yesterday."

Opening of Joan Rivers' first Broadway play

January 2, 1972

"Fun City," the first Broadway play by—and starring—Joan Rivers, opened on Broadway.

Vaudeville in the United States

It would only begin to tell the larger story of how and why Jewish women and vaudeville came to intersect as they did in the early decades of the twentieth century.

Sophie Tucker

Sophie Tucker was an international star of vaudeville, music halls, and later film, performing in both Yiddish and English in a career that spanned over fifty years.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Comedy." (Viewed on December 13, 2017) <https://jwa.org/topics/comedy>.

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