This Jewish American Life: When Jews Were Funny


Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema Sun, Jun 17, 2018 2:00 PM
Film Info
Runtime:89 min
Country Listing:Canada
Cinema Extra
Featuring:Rodney Dangerfield
Bob Einstein
Marc Maron
Gilbert Gottfried
Howie Mandel
Festival Info
Festival Year:2013
Cast/Crew Info
Director(s):Alan Zweig


Born out of director Allan Zweig’s curiosity for the prevalence of Jewish comedians in the 1950s and 60s—a surprising trend since the Jewish community was largely marginalized and encouraged to assimilate during these decades—this doc investigates America’s fascination with Jewish comics. Through interviews with some of the industry’s greats, including Shelly Berman, Shecky Greene, David Steinberg and Bob Einstein (a.k.a. Super Dave Osbourne), When Jews Were Funny examines how they succeeded against odds in a homogenized market, illuminating not only the roots of Jewish humour, but ultimately what it means to be Jewish. 

Additional Information

This Jewish American Life: From touching family traditions to Hollywood legends, we shine a light on the cultural luminaries and stories of hope and resilience that have shaped the Jewish-American experience—one that reflects the history of an immigrant nation.

Winner—Best Canadian Feature Film, TIFF 2013

"Entertaining and humorous examination of comedy, identity and what it means to be Jewish." – Screen Daily

"Equal parts witty and provocative." – Twitch Film