Are Jews funny? What makes a joke Jewish? Who can make Jewish jokes? Jews have been at the forefront of comedy in the United States. This two-part mini-series will look at the relationship between Jews and comedy in the twentieth century in the US and abroad, considering larger issues around how humor and jokes work, the centrality of comedy in modern Jewish culture, and how Jewish comedians have shaped modern American culture. We will consider how comedy is used as a weapon, as a defense mechanism, and what it tells us about the world around us.
October 28 – Origins and Evolutions
November 4 – Humor after the Holocaust
David Slucki is an assistant professor in the Yaschik/Arnold Jewish Studies Program at the College of Charleston. He is the author of Sing This at My Funeral: A Memoir of Fathers and Sons, and The International Jewish Labor Bund after 1945: Toward a Global History. He is co-editor of In the Shadows of Memory: The Holocaust and the Third Generation and the forthcoming Laughter After: Humor and the Holocaust.
Sponsor: Jewish Studies